Like many of you, I work long hours. Sometimes late into the evening, or night, or morning. To me, a “lunch hour” is a prehistoric unit of time. And because I often work through what would be a mealtime for a normal human, I keep… stashes.
I used to keep caches of cookies, chips and – wait for it – Vienna Sausage in my drawer for those low-blood-sugar moments. I know. I-I-I know! You just threw-up a bit in your mouth, right? So did I. Because…
Now! I’m Ms. Healthy-Organic-Girl. My low-blood-sugar stashes consist of nuts, dried rice noodles and dried fruit. It’s all dried because of course, were it “wet” or “fresh” as I would prefer it to be, I’d be naming the armies of little green algae organizing their rebel forces in my drawer. And it is on this point – or somewhere there roundabouts — where I will finally land upon the source of my topic: Apples vs. Pears.
Offer me the choice between an apple and a pear and I will always choose the pear. (Unless of course it’s past its prime wherein I’d be weighing nefarious future locations for said overly-ripened smooshie-fruit based upon entertainment-outcome score.) It’s not a matter of taste. Both apples and pears of all varieties are one of God’s greatest wonders. One my most favoritest-est fragrances in wide world is walking into a cold cellar filled with apples. It’s like inhaling Christmas! And on the second breath, my entire brain wakes up, jumping out of bed to run helter-skelter in my PJ’s to the living room to see what miracles await me there. That’s the aroma of apples.
I have quite a different relationship with the olfactory-amygdale-hippocampi response to pears, however. As a youth — a strong youth, a good youth,… a good strong youth – I volunteered my goodly strongness to the efforts of a welfare farm that produced – you guessed it – PEARS. Pears for the poor and needy. They grew the pears, we picked them, and somebody else canned them to give to those in need. While I do not begrudge one golden second that I spent harvesting those pears for some good soul who would not have had them otherwise, the odiferous waft of this fruit in the market brings to mind… sultry late summer mornings laden with insects, sweat, mud and the achin’est back I ever knew. It’s a painful reminder of how weak I really am. Having been an athletic child, I had always felt pretty confident that I could handle just about any physical task anybody set to my execution… until I spent a day harvesting pears. Good golly, Miss Molly! I didn’t know I even had that many muscles capable of screaming at me.
So why, oh why do I prefer pears over apples? It’s a texture thing. “When I bite into a crisp fresh apple, I get the sensation…” of long fingernails being dragged shriekingly across a blackboard.
You can hear it, can’t you? Correction, you can feeeel it scraping like a knife on burnt toast across your last nerve.
Pears give me no such problem. A great little variation on your typical market pear is the Asian Pear (Pyrus pyrifolia). Looks like an apple, tastes like a pear, and no nails-on-chalkboard scraped-burnt-toast-nerve relay. Hooray!
Back to the cache drawer. Dried apples. Dried pears. I thought one bite of those dried pears would make me say, “I’ve seen it all now. I can die in peace.” Boy was I wrong! Turns out that what makes pears so overflowing with buttery-goodness when fresh actually works to their detriment when dried. (Good thing too, since I’m not ready to die just yet.) The apples on the other hand, are actually OK. Great texture, flavor, and I can almost see the Northpole when I bite into one. At least, I hear jingle bells.
What I learned from this: Never judge a book by its cover; Enjoy the unexpected; and there are no decent photos of kids at Christmastime with an apple.