One Ingredient, Many Ways: Pears


The Concorde is appropriate for just about any circumstance, but on its own, it's never going to bring you to your knees. Sweet and fragrant with slight hints of vanilla, it is a good choice for baking and poaching, holding its shape well at high heats. Another perk: the flesh doesn't brown in the air as quickly as other pears, making it a good aesthetic choice for garnishes and salads.Maxime Iattoni

On the night before my wedding three autumns ago, my friends took me for a ride on the Staten Island Ferry. The air was brisk as we stood on the deck watching the blinking New York City skyline grow small, and then big again. Rush hour had passed, so the boat was quiet while my friends toasted me with champagne poured from water bottles and read me the poem Recuerdo by Edna St. Vincent Millay. I cried, of course - dreaming of the next day and overwhelmed by the love pouring from their mouths while they recited Millay's intoxicating lines:

We were very tired, we were very merry / We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry. _/ __And you ate an apple, and I ate a pear / From a dozen of each we had bought somewhere. __/ __And the sky went wan, and the wind came cold / And the sun rose dripping, a bucketful of gold_

I think the poem's mention of pears had something to do with it too. I've always loved food imagery in poetry, and pears are the kind of fruit that can make someone feel a little weepy. The earliest varieties come into season at a particularly emotional time, on the cusp of early fall - arriving with a heavy sweetness and a reminder to unearth your sweaters before winter charges in. From that moment through the first wisp of spring, pears, along with their crisper cousin the apple, rule the fruit basket.

Pears are the kind of fruit that can make someone feel a little weepy.