Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Acidman has posted a fair amount lately (par example) about his fondness for pineapple. Normally this wouldn't be worthy of much comment but it illustrates how blogging can infiltrate one's life. I was shopping at Costco (motto: Store this!) in the fruit section and saw the stack of cases of pineapples. At a good price too - under $4 per and I could buy them one at a time. Seeing them made me think of Rob's blogging of them. so, naturally, I had to buy one. And it was delicious. Next time I go, I'm getting another one.
If you haven't dealt with a fresh pineapple (ever or in a while), there are a few things to consider. First, fresh pineapple is just a whole quantum step above what you can get canned. Canned is not bad but fresh is just fabulously better. However, preparing the beast is, well, a beast. I usually take a nice big, honking chef's knife and lop a horizontal (if you have the pineapple standing upright) slice. I've started from both the top and the bottom and I don't see that going one way or the other makes any difference. I then use a freshly sharpened, stiff-bladed paring knife to cut the skin off in sections. I try to minimize loss of tasty pina-flesh to the cutting but that is the way I am. Then I use the paring knife to cut out the "eyes" that are deeper in the fruit than the skin. And thus I've produced an edible slice of fruit (sue me - I eat the fibrous core as well) and a whole lot of juice.
Is there a point to my blogging about pineapples? Maybe. It's all about memory. Back in 1975 I spent the summer in Mauritius. One small fact about this (cough, cough) island paradise is that anything grown on there is harvested small. Perhaps it's harvested quickly to account for that size but fruits and veg are not going to be setting any world records when grown there. And pineapples are no exception. Still, this is not a bug - it's a feature. The pineapples in the market are about the volume of two large fists - man hands fists that is. And they're sold for snacking in the market in just the coolest way: the fronds at the top of the fruit are trimmed back so that they form a sort of stubby handle. Then the fruit skin is carefully pared away (I didn't see this done but I'd guess it's by using a very sharp knife and the skill of much practice) and the "eyes" are taken out with spiral cuts forming little helical trenches around the surface of the fruit. They are then sold whole, half, quarter and maybe by the eighth too. I don't specifically recall the eighths actually.
This was a fantastic market snack. But there's more. You could get the slices (which were, of course, lengthwise) with a stripe of hot sauce laid down one side and even a stripe of salt laid down the other. Sounds strange but it was D-lish. I even have pictures of my birthday that summer where I put away a whole little pineapple. It was an exceptional treat, more pineapple than is really necessary to eat but I took it as a birthday treat.

To go even further in the Wayback Machine, I have another pineapple story set in the early 60s when my family was in Hawaii. Dole Pineapple has vast fields of the delectable fruit on Oahu and, at least back then, actually had a processing plant in or very near Honolulu. To which the whole fam dambly went for a tour. It was a great field trip for a kid. The plant had a big-ass pineapple shaped water tower on the roof and there were "water fountains" in the lobby which dispensed, in order, water, pineapple juice and water. Cold running pinju in the lobby. I loved it. I have no salient memories of the actual processing plant but I do remember getting two rings of 'freshly processed' fruit at the end of the tour.
The fun part was witnessing my brother mess with my sister's mind. He told her that the water tower was full of pineapple juice and she so utterly bought into it that years later (maybe even 10 years later) she was telling a friend of hers about living in Hawaii including the Dole plant and the giant pineapple full of pineapple juice. Festus and I fell out laughing on that one. We couldn't believe that the joke had gone on that long.

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