In my version of Fantasy Island, I step off “da plane” with a dazed look as a circa-1970s, softly lit Ricardo Montalban waves his arm welcomingly. Tattoo, the three-and-a-half-foot-tall island concierge, brings me a silver platter, not with bubbling glasses of champagne but a variety of pears. “The Comice has a lovely sugar,” he grunts. “And this one,” he rattles quietly, “is a very special pear—buttery when ripe with hints of a citrus finish.” I smile and raise the pear to my lips, unaware that Aaron Spelling has written a moral dilemma into the script that leaves me with the inability to taste after the onset of a rare tropical taste bud–numbing disease called tastabudnomora, which only seems to afflict those who travel to the tropics in a World War II–era sea plane and wear white pants.
In a panic, I make a deal with the devil to again taste and appreciate pears. But lo, the devil is Montalban, who knows that the disease is temporary and somehow related to my choice of slacks. As I change into more formal evening wear and my sense of taste returns, Montalban tells me (waving his arm while he speaks) that he was the devil and it was all a fantasy. I grab my pears and hijack his plane. The moral of the story is clear—never underestimate the power of the pear, especially when in the tropics and wearing white pants.
The power of pears: Pears have great power—they contain lignin, an insoluble fiber that helps remove cholesterol from the body. One pear can provide about 15 percent of daily fiber. Most of the fiber and lignin are in the peel—so eat it. Just wash gently in cold water and eat. Pears also have about .3 milligrams of boron, a mineral that helps prevent arthritis as well as the loss of calcium in postmenopausal women. Boron may also have positive effects on memory, perception, and attention. There are more than 5,000 varieties of pears worldwide. They are picked hard to avoid bruising. When the neck gives to gentle pressure, they’re ready to eat. Following are four common types of pears we’ll be featuring in our boxes.
Green d’Anjou: A green pear with hints of yellow, it has a short stem and a round and squat shape. When ripe, this pear has a lemony zing to its taste. ”¨Red d’Anjou: Sibling of the green d’Anjou, this pear is red with subtle stripes. It has a light cinnamon-and-nutmeg flavor mixed with a fresh berry note. Comice: This one’s my favorite. Green when unripe, it turns more yellow as it ripens, and it has a dimple in the bottom of the pear. Called the “peach of fall” for its supple sweetness, Comice pears have an almost caramel hint to a buttery lemon zest. Bosc: With firm flesh and brown-russet coloring, it has a long, thin neck and a bulbous body. Very filling, it has a rich, deep sugar, and a hint of vanilla to its flavor.
Enjoy and be fruitful!
—Chris Mittelstaedt email@example.com