If you like a firm pear, sir..

pear_passe_crassanne_0875Those innocent words dropping from the lips of a helpful assistant in a fruit shop in the country town of Wallingford are still clear in my mind. Very little else of those heady days, in the early 70’s, is clear in my mind save for the memory of a constant, nagging hangover. Shooting the Habitat catalogue entailed a group of us staying in a very pleasant hotel for weeks on end so that we could spend fruitful days shooting pictures for the catalogue in the nearby warehouses that became our studio. It was the era when I was approaching photography in the same way as a Kamikaze pilot approaching Pearl Harbour save that I had not left the sake behind on the aircraft carrier, I was drinking it all the way there and, unusually for a Kamikaze pilot, all the way back. Crashing and burning was fine as I always seemed to wake up the next morning, engine coughing and spluttering, but still running. The Divine Wind was blowing a gale. To steady myself, for my duties behind the camera, I would pass by the fruit shop for my daily health ritual. Wreathed in a cloud of my own cigarette smoke I would look hard at the fruit in the hope that there would be a sign as to which sort would immediately restore me to the Godlike figure that I had been up the moment that I fell down, the previous evening. On the morning in question I made a rapid choice and uttered the fateful question ” Are those pears good?”. The puerility that was in direct proportion to the amount of alcohol still sloshing around in my system would not permit me to engage in a conversation regarding the firmness of a pair of anything, so I ordered a bag of plums.Passe Crassane pear

Fast forward to this week, and pears loom large in my life yet again. The discovery of the Passe Crassane pear has been somewhat of an Epiphany. Recent posts have featured pear cake after pear cake because I’ve become very keen on pear cake. Up to this point I had opted for the particular firmness of the Conference pear. It was Jenny who spotted this wonderfully named and unusually flavoured pear. It’s a hybrid between pear and quince which brings a citrussy, nearly pineapple note with it. Such a pear eaten with Roquefort is a very good thing.


About Food,Photography & France

Photographer and film maker living in France. After a long career in London, my wife and I have settled in the Vendee, where we run residential digital photography courses with a strong gastronomic flavour.
This entry was posted in 2013, Art photography, Bad Habits, baking, cake, Cheese, Cooking, Digital photography, Drinks, Emotion, Excess, Expectation, food, Food and Photography, Food photographer, France, Fruit, Health, Pears, Photography, photography course, Photography holiday, Plums, Poire William, Roquefort, Uncategorized, Wine, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

43 Responses to If you like a firm pear, sir..

  1. Mad Dog says:

    I can’t help thinking you were desperate for eau de vie de Poire Williams ๐Ÿ˜‰
    It sounds like Passe Crassane and Roquefort make a nice pair!

  2. Dick Polak says:

    Another master piece my dear – and i mean it ! Bravo !

  3. fransiweinstein says:

    Mmmm sounds good. I have a cat named Bartlett because when I got him, I lived on a street named Pears. He was teensy at the time. He is charcoal grey and white and it looked like he was wearing a white shirt and grey flannels. I thought he needed a CEOish kind of name. Ironically he grew up to be huge and pear-shaped. He literally grew into his name.

  4. Roger, I usually admire your photos and wonder how you keep coming up with fresh ways to present your subjects. I take for granted the exquisite exposure and presentation. But in this case, the position of the knife in the first photo bothers me. It is a beautiful knife, not the same Opinel as in the second shot (which is IMHO a better knife for a food shot, but that is not my choice), and is stuck into the dark strip on the cutting board. Here’s my complaint (not really a complaint, more an observation): the knife point brings attention to the dark strip (I assume it is part of the grain) but the strip does not appear to have any purpose in the composition, at least none that I can see. Yes, it does link the two elements, but its direction is not exactly towards the pear. Sorry to rabbit on, but it is not often I get to raise any kind of question about one of your photos.

    Thanks for the pointer to Passe Crassane pears. Next time at the markets. – James

  5. Ooo er Matron…I do love the look and sound of those Passe Crassane Pears!

  6. cecilia says:

    A pear crossed with a quince.. hmm.. well i guess you had piles of fun.. pity you can’t remember any of it.. or maybe it is just as well.. I used to go and pick up my boss from that fancy pancy film people hotel in soho often enough.. i know what you boys were up to!

  7. That first pic, Roger. So rakish. It afforded me a much needed chuckle.

    And now I think I may try pear cake, but is it worth it, with strange midwinter supermarket pears from somewhere just outside London?

  8. spree says:

    Roger, Really gorgeous photographs, again some wonderful writing!…and the hybrid of a quince and a pear sounds nothing short of divine to my ears! And with Roquefort? (gasp!)

  9. Eha says:

    For your sake today and tomorrow, am glad to see the story largely written in the past tense ๐Ÿ˜‰ !

  10. thomas peck says:

    Pear and Roquefort, delicious! And I’m jealous of your seventies photography lifestyle!,,

  11. Michelle says:

    A cross between a quince and a pear? Good lord, don’t tell Steve. He’ll have a whole orchard planted in our front yard immediately. (Love the photo of the pear and cheese.)

  12. That pear! And, the cheese! Oh, that is beautiful.

  13. ChgoJohn says:

    I never would have thought of those nights long ago as kamikaze flights but, I must admit, the analogy is a good one. To this day I don’t know how I/we did it but I’m awfully glad I’m here to wonder about it.
    Quince aren’t exactly common around here. The chances of finding a cross of a pear with quince would be near impossible. I’ll just admire your photography instead.

  14. That hybrid pear sounds interesting.

  15. fransiweinstein says:

    Hi there. Don’t know how you feel about the awards bloggers give each other. But I am nominating you for the Inspiring Blogger award. Details will be on my blog tomorrow (Sunday). I really enjoy your blog.

  16. argone says:

    I love pears too …. et surtout la passe crassane, si juteuse. (et la louisebonne) ; trรจs jolie photo !

  17. Beautifully written and photographed post, sir… ๐Ÿ˜‰

  18. vyvacious says:

    Gosh! Your photos are gorgeous and your posts are engaging! I’m hooked!

  19. I love pears and with roquefort….sounds great, wonderful pictures!

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