- The Plate
Pears Like Little Buddhas
Nowadays we can produce pears that look exactly like fat little buddhas, complete with folded arms, plump tummies, and meditative smiles. The secret is a plastic mold made by China’s Fruit Mould Company, a manufacturing group that also sells supplies for making heart-shaped watermelons, star-shaped cucumbers, apples with gnomish faces, and sultry peaches shaped like human behinds.
People have been fiddling with their fruits and vegetables since the dawn of agriculture. At first, our primary aims were size and productivity—that is, bigger, faster-growing food and lots of it. Then we went for looks. In the Americas, well before the arrival of Columbus, prehistoric farmers had developed hundreds of flashy varieties of corn and beans, both in a range of gorgeous