In the frigid climes of Northeastern China where he grew up, a popular wintertime delicacy is the froz pear. Ordinary pears were traditionally buried under a layer of tree leaves until they were frozen solid. Once defrosted in cold water, the pear’s crisp icy sweetness sings in the mouth. As a boy, Zhang Ming could not bear to wait for his pear to defrost, continually nagging his mother to speed up the process, by asking her, “Why don’t you soak the pears in hot water?” Finally, she explained to him that this would spoil the pears. They had to be defrosted slowly, without hurrying the process. “A country is like that, too,” Zhang Ming said he told his fellow students. “You can’t save on time. If you hurry things
up, you will ruin the pear.”