January 8, 2005
Juicy Juicy Asian Pears
Asian pears, one of my favorite fruits in the whole world, are now in season. Nothing compares to the experience of biting into one of these cruncy, crisp, sweet and juicy pears on a cold, wintery evening after a hot, steamy dish. Their translucent white flesh has a grainy texture but how deliciously surprising that such roughness -if you can call it that - is accompanied by a sweet, delicate aroma, not to mention the powerfully sweet taste. Expect to slurp the juice that will run all over your fingers as you peel the skin off with a knife. Once you bite into this juiciness, you can't go back to any other kind of pear.
But don't expect to find good quality ones in your Albertsons, Safeways or Krogers. Even those high end, pricey and organic produce markets such as Whole Foods don't carry Asian pears that would tempt me to buy them. Compare those measly looking pears that people mistake for a cross between an apple and a pear, as if!, to the monster Asian pears that you can buy at a Korean grocery stores in town. Through much cross-breeding and experimentation, I'm sure, these pears do not resemble anything like what I remember eating back in Korea when I was young. No, these are Asian pears gone wild, offsprings of multiple genetic re-combinations by a mad horticulturalist. Or an agricultural corporation. Not necessarily a bad thing, as far as Asian pears are concerned, I suppose. I mean, it's not like those genetically engineered seeds that corporations make farmers buy every year, is it?