It's hard to improve on the flavor of a soft, juicy raw pear, but combine it with blue cheese or prosciutto, and you'll have something truly divine. You can also bake or poach pears, or use them to make tarts.
Pears become soft and fragile when they're ripe, so grocers want you to buy them while they're still hard and then ripen them at home for a few days. Putting them in a paper bag speeds up the process. They're ready to eat when the base yields slightly to pressure from your thumb.
Equivalents: 1 pound = 3 pears
To get substitutions for pears in general, click here.