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Maree’s musings

December 9, 2021 December 2021, Regular Features No Comments

PEAR SHAPED

With some sense of relief 2021 is coming to an end. It hasn’t been flash for most of us and as a result it’s been difficult to find moments of joy to allow us to keep our chins up. As it happens, I had a bit of feedback, as it were, that November’s sardine story was well received, and perhaps helped in this regard. So for the moment, and for the final Star issue of the year, enough of doom and gloom: food it is again.

The term ‘pear shaped’, as you will be aware, means to go wrong, fail miserably and go awry in a terrible fashion. I’d always thought the association had something to do with an unfortunate body outline, but further investigation revealed the expression may have originated from the Royal Air Force’s description of pilots’ poor executions of loops in the sky, resulting in pear shapes rather than circles. A lot like this year. At least the humble pear is off the hook, and the avocado too.

Avocados are possibly my favourite food. This was not always so. My introduction to them  came via a friend, who returned from Rarotonga [when travel was A Thing] bearing a box of pear-shaped objects which appeared to be coated in wrinkled black leather. Sadly they had not travelled well and became over-ripe in the process, so slicing one open revealed murky greyish flesh with the consistency and probable taste of slimy putty. I was polite and ate a cautious mouthful, but also put off. Months elapsed before I tasted an avocado again and now they’re a must on my shopping list. Supermarkets encourage them. The avocado stack is the first thing you come to after you’ve masked up, scanned in, sanitised your hands, grabbed a basket and, following the yellow striped arrows pasted to the floor, gone through the self-opening glass doors. Happy days!

At home, there’s always half a dozen or more gracing my fruit bowl or, when ripe, lined up in the fridge. One needs to take care slicing them open and removing the stone. Believe it or not, there’s a name for knife-related injuries received. ‘Avocado hand’ reached epidemic (another one)  proportions in 2020, costing ACC just over $800,000 and involving about 500 hapless individuals. And that’s not even counting those too ashamed to seek treatment.

Although the stones are inedible, I find them very attractive. Brown and smooth as, well, a nut, they’re great to rub onto your skin as a moisturiser. But there’s a problem. As far as I know, they can’t be easily composted, so they end up in the rubbish bag. For me, pretty much a fanatic about waste minimisation, it’s a worry. As I eat an avocado a day, that’s a lot of discarded stones ending up in the DCC tip. I imagine them some day turning into a forest of avocado trees.

A pear shaped situation? Perhaps. But the planet needs saving, and we need trees. Problem solved!

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