Growing up, I always assumed “half a” was somehow attached to every grapefruit.  You could have “half a” grapefruit anytime, anywhere; but . . . a whole grapefruit?  Were you some kind of savage?  Did you not know the acid from a whole grapefruit would eat through your stomach and kill you?  No one ever told me that specifically, or any other reason grapefruits could be consumed only by the half.  It’s just something I knew.

Then one reckless day I peeled and ate a whole grapefruit.

And waited nervously.

Would something bad happen?

Thousands of whole grapefruits later — occasionally two at a time — I can confidently give you permission to do the same.

And most of you, I’m guessing, are not impressed.  You already knew this. Or maybe you hate grapefruit.


But did you know I can also give you permission to butter your cheese?  Or your peanut butter?  No, really!  It’s great!

I skip the crackers or the bread (carbohydrates).

And I don’t use actual butter.  When I say butter, I mean this stuff, which tastes better.

A slice of smoked Gouda with a slab on top?  Are you kidding me?  It’s so good!  Likewise butter on Swiss cheese, American cheese, Parmesan, cheddar or any other kind I’ve ever tried.

And now you have permission to try it.

Some people like to put cheese on a slice of apple, and that’s good, too.  But I asked Alexa how many grams of carbohydrate there are in an apple and she said 25.  We’re only supposed to have about 300 grams a day, so, okay: 12 apples a day if you only otherwise eat cheese and butter.  But then, on a lark, I asked her “how many grams in a margarita?”

Are you sitting down?  Twenty-two.

Draw your own conclusions.

I’ll get the limes.

But wait — there’s more.

Did you know you can refrigerate tomatoes?  A lot of people prefer them room temperature and that’s swell.  We are a large tent.  But I give you permission to refrigerate tomatoes — and to put ketchup on them . . . sliced, or eaten out of your hand like the fruit they sort of are.  In the other hand, you hold the Heinz, squirting a dab onto each bite.

So good.

Where I suppose this all comes together is in the peanut-butter-and-ketchup sandwiches Mom used to make us for the ride back into the city Sunday nights.  This was meant as dinner, not punishment, and when it was prepared with ample butter on the upper and lower slices of Wonder Bread (this stuff would not be invented for another 50 years) — and with some bacon bits sprinkled in — there was no finer dining.


How do you butter peanut butter?  To butter peanuts, simply put a few in one hand, butter them with the other, then slam the first hand into your open mouth.  Mm-mmm.

But to butter peanut butter, first place some butter onto a spoon fork or knife; then dip that into the peanut butter jar and scoop.  That’s your first mouthful.

It will leave a little butter in the peanut butter jar, so now go back to the peanut butter jar to remove the impurity by scooping up  the surrounding peanut butter.  Dip that scoop into the butter tub for more butter, to assure a good ratio (about half and half works for me), and that’s your second mouthful.

Now there’s peanut butter residue in the butter tub . . . so back and forth you go, from tub to jar to tub to jar, until at some point you either finish all of one or the other or just decide to live with your spouse or kids taking you to task.

“How come there’s peanut butter in here?”

At which point you can get them to taste the combination and regard you with newfound respect.

And yes, the Republican Senate should stop spending all its time trash-talking impeachment and turn its attention, instead, to the numerous bills the Democratic House passed this year to lower prescription drug prices, institute universal background checks, raise the minimum wage, reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, lighten the student loan burden, assure a paper ballot paper trail, and so much more (the Equality Act!), that would make life a little easier for average Americans and protect our democracy.  Bills nobody ever talks about because we all know the Republicans will not even consider — let alone pass — them.

Why do we accept that?



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