Monday, August 1, 2022

Something About Pineapples

Doling out the hospitality.

One can find traces of pineapple and palm-tree motifs inside the Hawaii House of New Zebedee, as seen in The House where Nobody Lived (2006).  Undoubtedly pineapples appear in and around the Honolulu House in Marshall, too.  Bipin Dimri discussed the history of the pineapple recently, including how the fruit is considered a sign of welcome and hospitality:

The exotic and very different appearance of the pineapple from other known fruits may have played a part in its glorification as a fruit of wealth and royalty. Its natural crown and golden yellow color gave it an appearance like the king, and so it became associated with royalty and luxury.

The pineapple was such a strong symbol of wealth and abundance that the well-off families often rented a pineapple for a certain occasion instead of buying them at such short notice. The pineapple was so popular as a sign of luxury and wealth that it made its way into idioms and commonly used dialects. People would often say something was akin to “a pineapple of the finest flavor” to refer to anything that was very luxurious and high quality. And around the 1770s, the pineapple would often appear as a cultural reference in literature and art, shorthand for power and wealth. 

The weird appearance and the unexpected flavors of the pineapple amazed the English. The English felt that the pineapple tasted like rosewater, sugar, and wine, all at the same time. The pineapples were so famous that the English even eventually found a way to grow them on home soil.

However, even when pineapples were freshly grown and available in Britain, the demand and value of pineapples did not go down. If anything, it only affirmed the luxurious symbol of pineapples. The apparatus to grow a domestic pineapple was also not cheap, ensuring they retained their exotic reputation as status symbols.

Sorry, Lewis: no mention of those “rich Hawaiian pineapple ranchers”.

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