Saturday, August 31, 2019

Peach Melba

Peaches are in their season. They look beautiful, smell wonderful, taste sweet feminine and flavorful. I love it all my life ever since I first tasted. I still remember that it was very hot and muggy summer day when I was a little boy, remember that my grandmother picked up a peach from an ice-water filled porcelain bowl and then halved and peeled it for me to enjoy with her endless love. I was sweating; an old electric fan was making a bit noise but sending cool air. It was delicious and I loved it. We always peel peach, apple, pear, persimmon… and we use a utensil to eat, not with bare hands, except watermelon and mandarin orange, perhaps.

All natural food products were nothing like today’s market...they were available only in their seasons. If their season is gone, you must wait a year to see and taste it until next season. So once their short season is gone you had to dream how good taste was. It is hard to explain to today’s young friends about the feeling, but something like your a girl friend is gone for far away college, so you cannot see her until next summer break….it was no iPhone and IPad, so each moment of experience and memory were so precious and important. It was a good time, having it with romantic attachment. 

Over a decade or so later when I became a young cook in the French kitchen, people called me garçon pêche because I love eating fresh peach more than anyone else, and also Peach Melba was one of the most popular desserts at the time. It was so popular that we had to have on the menu even out of the season, and used overly sweetened can or jar peaches. It was sad for me because the taste is nothing like fresh one but you know they are not available at all the time, and learned I just cannot get always what I want.

I remember many pastry chefs were normally mild temper and nice guys, so they often shared with us their work to taste it, unlike other brutal guys in the kitchen I had to work with. 

 Classic Peach Melba recipe is that halved fresh peach and then cook lightly with butter and sugar and then removes the skin. I am guessing that when the recipe was created over a century ago, in London, and Paris, the weather was much cooler than today, so the fruits were not so ripen and sweet like today. (This is another example of current climate change phenomenon? There wasn’t any jets, cars and air conditioning.) 

In California, the sun is so strong and days long that all fruits grow and ripen fast. So it elevates sugar content in high not like many other places. I like California white nectarine very much that I often eat without peeling skin, same as for my Peach Melba.

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