Ode to the Comice
by Mort Laitner
My hands trembled slightly as I searched for my sharp serrated kitchen knife. I studied the brown box that bared a drawing of leaf-covered branches and hanging fruit. I found the taped edges and sliced deep into the thick cardboard box. Inside lay a dozen Royal Riviera Pears packaged as if they were diamonds. This rare fruit was eaten by European nobility and grown in only a few regions of the globe. Winter pears housed safely in their Harry and David’s sectional cardboard box. Premium fruit protected from bruising and dressed as royalty. A few wrapped in gold foil like anointed kings, the queens draped in gauze-like green gowns and bishops dressed in H and D monogrammed white capes.
These scarce December comices arrived just before the holidays. Anticipation gripped my jaw as my salivary glands kicked in to high gear.
I valued the arrival of these awaited treasures. From cultivated trees to my cultivated taste buds. I’ve known for years that these are one of life’s great luxuries.
I jabbed their skin, not quite ready yet. I must wait at least two more days for ripeness, perfect ripeness, that time when the flesh at the base of the stem yields slightly to pressure.
The Comice’s sweetness beat out the Barrettes, Anjou or Bosc. They are sweeter, juicier and more succulent.
These European pears lowered my blood pressure and helped control my blood cholesterol. They are rich in vitamin A, C, and E1.
After two long days, perfection. I bite into soft ripe skin. Juice flows down my chin and I taste the smooth creamy texture.
Life is good.
Life is sweet.
What a pear!
Harry and David’s Pear Waldorf Salad
3 Royal Rivera Pears, cored and sliced or diced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup sliced celery
¼ cup nonfat plain yogurt
Head Lettuce, torn
Gently toss pears, celery and cereal on a bed of lettuce. Spoon yogurt over individual servings. Serves 6.