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Poet Charles Lamb described the pineapple as “too ravishing for moral taste . . . like lovers’ kisses she bites—she is a pleasure bordering on pain, from fierceness and insanity of her relish.” From the moment Christopher Columbus discovered it on a Caribbean island in 1493, the pineapple has seduced the world, becoming an object of passion and desire. Beloved by George Washington, a favorite of kings and aristocrats, the pineapple quickly achieved an elite status among fruits that it retains today. Kaori O’Connor tells the story of this culinary romance in Pineapple, an intriguing history of this luscious fruit.
O’Connor follows the pineapple across time and cultures, exploring how it was first transported to Europe, where it could only be grown at great expense in hothouses. The pineapple was the ultimate status symbol, she reveals—London society hostesses would even pay extravagantly to rent a pineapple for a single evening to be the centerpiece of a party. O’Connor explains that the fruit remained a seasonal luxury for the rich until developments in shipping and refrigeration allowed it to be brought to the major markets in Europe and America, and she illustrates how canning processes—and the discovery of the pineapple’s ideal home in Hawaii—have made it available and affordable throughout the year. Packed with vivid illustrations and irresistible recipes from around the world, Pineapple will have everyone falling in love with this juicy tropical fruit.