By Kaori O'Connor
Poet Charles Lamb defined the pineapple as “too ravishing for ethical style . . . like fans’ kisses she bites—she is a excitement bordering on ache, from fierceness and madness of her relish.” From the instant Christopher Columbus stumbled on it on a Caribbean island in 1493, the pineapple has seduced the realm, turning into an item of ardour and wish. cherished through George Washington, a favourite of kings and aristocrats, the pineapple fast completed an elite prestige between culmination that it keeps this present day. Kaori O’Connor tells the tale of this culinary romance in Pineapple, an exciting heritage of this luscious fruit.
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Additional info for Pineapple: A Global History
Both Columbus and Hernán Cortés (1485–1547), who overthrew the Aztec Empire, had to force their men to eat Indian food. 9 Out of all the new foods and fruits, only the pineapple met with general European approval. 10 In addition to savouring what Ligon described as the taste ‘between two extremes of sharp and sweet [wherein lies the relish and flavour of all fruits that are excellent’, the settlers – who suffered constantly from ill health and digestive upsets – soon discovered what the Indians had long known.
A curious feature of most modern histories of the age of discovery is the way they ignore the problems of provisioning, despite the fact that a preoccupation with food runs through all the contemporary European accounts of New World colonization. The early explorers and settlers thought, talked and wrote endlessly about food – about the home foods they missed, whether their supplies would run out and when ships with new provisions might arrive. 7 In the Caribbean and Brazil, the main staple was cassava or manioc, which was poisonous until it was subjected to laborious processing.
Maria Sibylla Merian, Surinam Pineapple, c. 1701–05, watercolour. This is only a part of what he wrote. To the enamoured Oviedo, only one thing marred the perfection of the pineapple – that wine, though it be the best in the world, did not taste good after eating the fruit. In this way, the world beyond tropical America was introduced to the pineapple. Initially, as Oviedo makes clear, the finest fruits were regarded as destined for royal tables. Brought back to Europe, pineapples enjoyed the favour of kings and aristocrats, becoming emblematic of lavish hospitality, and celebrated in art, literature, music and song.