March 15, 2012

National Pears Hélène Day

"If you want to know the taste of a pear, you must change the pear by eating it yourself. If you want to know the theory and methods of revolution, you must take part in revolution. All genuine knowledge originates in direct experience." - Mao Tse-Tung

It's National Pears Hélène Day!

One of my New Years resolutions every year is to try something I've never tried (and that has been interpreted in many different ways over the years). Eating the year here at Almanac of Eats has certainly helped me accomplish that! Take tonight for example.

I have never eaten pears hélène. Truthfully, I didn't actually know what it was. Based upon the name alone, I assumed it was some very fancy, very complicated dessert the rich ate. More specifically, I was convinced it had something to do with the Queen of England.

Because her name is Helen.

But see: it isn't. Her name is Elizabeth. But Helen Mirren played the Queen in the movie, well, The Queen, and sometimes - despite having stood outside the real Queen's home and yelled through the walls asking if she wanted to play XBox with me (no, seriously, I did. And who's to say the real Queen doesn't pwnd n00b5 at, say, Halo?) - I think I mistake Helen Mirren for the real queen.

So, that's what I thought about pears hélène until today.

When I realized it is neither fancy or complicated, nor does have it anything to do with Helen Mirren (who, by the way, is not the Queen of England).

Its just pears. Poached in water and sugar. Cooled. Then topped with hot melted chocolate and vanilla ice cream. It was first created by our old pal Auguste Escoffier, the French chef who created peach melba (which we celebrated January 13th). It was named after the operetta after the operetta La bell Hélène (The Beautiful Helen) by Jacques Offenbach which was about the elopement of Helen of Troy and Paris the Greek mythological story of The Trojan Horse.

And now you're all the wiser, foodies.

Happy National Pears Hélène Day!