Saturday, September 24

know your pear

we used to have loose themes in the boompa office, like "pirate" and "beer".

on wednesday i stopped by t&t, the asian supermarket, on my way home from work. we were out of fruit and last week was all about apples for me (with peanut butter), so i was trying to find something different. i discovered that that one produce department had about 6 varieties of pears! yes, i was legitimately excited about the pears. they're pretty, smell nice and come in a variety of shapes and sizes. that said, i've never really been much of a pear fan, but i decided that i should become one so i bought almost $20 worth. i decided that i'd get to know my pears and i'd get the boompa office and my boyfriend in on it.

the following day i had a bosc with breakfast. it was lovely, but i had had boscs before. it was perfectly ripe, not overripe and mushy at all and it tasted like a real pear but had that coarse skin i hate in pears. a bosc is a bosc... not horribly interesting but always good, especially poached, or sometimes with blue cheese. hans and i agreed it was very good.

i brought four other pears with me to the boompa den: sun moon and shinseiki (both japanese) and then yali and golden from china. i ran the idea of "know your pear" by rob and david, our new intern. david, being new, was really interested and talked about t&t and how it's a great place to bring dates because you can eat, watch the fish swimming in tanks, etc.

back to the pears, the sun moon and shinseiko pears are both japanese and are therefore "nashi", (nashi being "pear" japanese), whereas the bartlett or bosc, being english are known as yonashi. awesome, right?

so we tried the sun moon first. this pear was crunchier than your average apple, even a granny smith, but it wasn't at all gritty. it was as juicy as a peach and had a light flowery pear flavour. the skin wasn't terribly tough, as can often be the case, and it was a really beautiful dappled rosy brown colour. pretty, juicy and crunchy - david, rob and i agreed the shinseiko is a very good pear.

we had to leave the office early because it was car free day and sparrow and catlow were playing a huge outdoor stage down the street so we had to cut the pear thing short. i told shannon about it on the way to the show and she didn't get it. i said "you know, like know your onion?" and she said "oh, like spanish, walla walla, red, white, yellow, sweet..." to which i replied "no, like the shins ep."

the next morning (friday) i cut up a yali pear and the chinese golden to have with breakfast. i could tell right away when i cut into the yali that it was going to be trouble. this pear was tough, dry and gritty. it actually looked like it was made up of tiny glistening grains of white sand aggregated together. on top of the texture issue, the yali pear was, thick-skinned and honestly pretty flavourless. according to my research the yali was supposed to be more aromatic and sweet than japanese pears but i found this wasn't the case at all. apparently asian pears don't rippen once they've been picked so i guess it's possible that the yali is really a great pear that was picked to soon. i may never know... the dog wouldn't even eat it. the golden pear looked really nice with it's fine, white skin, but tasted like peas. no offense to china, but my faith in the selective breeding techniques of their horticulture experts over the ages isn't great. these were some bad pears that looks nice.

friday afternoons at the boompa office are really more about building office moral than work. companies on the east coast stop calling at about 2pm our time and we are left to our own devices. so we drink. jen fritz came with beer, patrick breeley came with his whit, and torq campbell came with his snazzy purple velvet jacket. our other intern rachel was there along with david, rob, shannon and scott, and anyone who's been to the boompa office will appreciate that 9 people in that tiny room would make work impossible. so i told patrick all about "know your pear" while sitting on a stack of my project: blue posters, as there were no chairs left in the office. patrick liked it. i told him about how the golden pear tastes like peas and he was down. he agreed that the golden pear tastes like peas and added that the flavour gets stronger as you get closer to the centre. scott was really excited about "know your pear" because he had packed an bartlett with his lunch. the bartlett is the most popular pear around the world. if you've ever bought a can of pears they were probably bartlett. scott's was overripe and dripped all over the place but he said it was excellent, and his favourite variety of pear.

so i've gotten to know my pears and i still don't like them as much as apples. my favourite is the homely looking bosc, followed by the shinseiko. my least favourite was the yali. i like peas, but don't like my fruit to taste like them so i'd never buy the chinese golden again no matter how pretty it is.

i still haven't tried a slough of asian pears and i haven't had butter, comice, forelle, red, packam or seckle. i have a d'anjou waiting for me though so i will leave this rivetting blog entry at that.

ps. "pirate" and "beer" are still alive and well.