Sunday, November 1, 2009

Fruits of Autumn

I have a friend who was recently waxing eloquent on the joys of persimmons, which have just appeared in our markets.  So sweet, so delicate, with flesh like a quivering orange jewel, they are a transitory pleasure; like the fresh figs of a month or two ago, they won't be around for long, so in my opinion it's all right to make gluttons of ourselves.  I didn't taste persimmons until I was a grown-up but I remember a photograph I saw in a book, of Japanese children in the snow, shaking a leafless persimmon tree loaded with bright fruit.  I don't know if they would have been a viable crop in Idaho, where I grew up, but certainly no one grew them, at least no one that I know of.
     It's also prime season for fresh pears, which I  didn't fully appreciate until a few years ago, having grown up eating the canned variety.   But look at these!  The  red, like the princess in a fairy tale, more easily bruised than some,  so  we'll eat those first,  then the more common but still noble Bartlett,  which  sometimes  blushes  a bit,  and  the  sturdy  brown  Bosc, wonderful for poaching, but we'll probably eat these raw with a nice pungent cheese.  Though pears are more common than some fruits, they are a sensual delight, and prices are low--'tis the season. Let's treat ourselves!

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