“The Just Man Rages in the Wilds”


Rintrah roars & shakes his fires in the burden’d air;
Hungry clouds swag on the deep

Once meek, and in a perilous path,
The just man kept his course along
The vale of death.
Roses are planted where thorns grow.
And on the barren heath
Sing the honey bees.

Then the perilous path was planted:
And a river, and a spring
On every cliff and tomb;
And on the bleached bones
Red clay brought forth.

Till the villain left the paths of ease,
To walk in perilous paths, and drive
The just man into barren climes.

Now the sneaking serpent walks
In mild humility.
And the just man rages in the wilds
Where lions roam.

Rintrah roars & shakes his fires in the burden’d air;
Hungry clouds swag on the deep.—William Blake, opening of “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell”

Crisp and Lightly Sweet

Fuyu Persimmons

For someone like me who cannot get through the day without fresh fruit, November provides some interesting alternatives. Because I am in Southern California, some of what I describe may not be available to those of you who inhabit colder climes.

Specifically, I am talking about two fruits that come into their own around now: the Fuyu Persimmon and the Asian Pear. Today, at the Westwood Farmers’ Market, I bought a couple of pounds of each.

Unless you are familiar with them, Fuyus look squat, hard and unripe. If you’ve ever bit into a hard Hachiya Persimmon and got a mouthful of alum, you are unlikely to experiment with Fuyus lest you repeat the negative effects. Fortunately, Fuyus taste good hard. Plus, having no inedible seeds or pits, you can just slice off the stiff top leaves and bite into the whole fruit like an apple without seeds.

You will notice two things right off: First, the Fuyu is quite crisp. And second, it is only lightly sweet. In contrast, a ripe Hachiya is, to my mind, too sweet. I rather like fruits that are not too sweet; that’s why I prefer Deglet Noor dates to the grossly sweet Medjools. Fuyus will keep for a week or more in the crisper of your refrigerator.

Asian Pear

Asian pears are very similar: They are crisp (somewhat like a Honey Crisp Apple) and lightly sweet, though they do have seeds like normal apples and pears. The main difference is that they taste best when peeled.

Predictably, Martine does not like either fruit; though I can’t seem to get enough of them. Not everybody likes the variety of fruit that I eat.

Just to show you how much variety there is in the produce throughout the year, check out this month by month list of what’s in season put out by the Southland Farmers’ Market Association. In contrast, here is what I imagine the offerings are in the Midwest, from which I originally hailed:

January – French Fries
February – French Fries
March – French Fries
April – French Fries
May – French Fries
June – Cherries, French Fries
July – Lots to Choose From
August – Lots to Choose From
September – Melons, French Fries
October – French Fries
November – French Fries
December – French Fries

Okay, that may be a bit of an exaggeration, considering that California and Florida are busy shipping fruits all around the country—especially citrus fruits during the winter months—but the picture tends to be pretty bleak in general.