Monday, January 20, 2014

A Fresh Taste of History

Who remembers this?
This was my first introduction to pineapple. It was sweet and juicy, and oh-so-good. But as an adult, when I had my first bite of the non-syrup soaked freshly sliced yellow goodness, I decided the canned stuff just didn’t compare.

Pineapple is part of the bromeliaceae family, a species of plants with foliage that grows like a rosette shaped crown. In the case of a pineapple, the long spiked leaves are tightly woven and capable of storing water. Native to South America, it’s said to have first been found in Peru, Paraguay and parts of Brazil. Over time, the pineapple spread throughout South and Central America and eventually ended up in the West Indies.

There is a lot of conflicting, but interesting and fun, information about pineapple history.

Anana - Excellent Fruit!
Some credit Christopher Columbus with its introduction to Europe. It was a staple on sailing ships, because like the orange, it could prevent scurvy. Over time, it ended up in the West Indies, where it was celebrated and became known as anana.

I always thought pineapple came to the US by way of Hawaii, but apparently it was brought to New England on those same sailing ships that carried it to the West Indies – where George Washington grew them in his hothouse.

It was two-hundred years ago, January, 1813 – some say the 21st, and some say the 11th – that the pineapple made its way to Hawaii. It was brought and cultivated by Don Francisco de Paula y Marin, a Spanish interpreter and advisor to King Kamehameha. Don Francisco de Paula y Marin was an interesting man who is well worth researching.

Portrait by Louis-Jules Masselot (1815-1879)
Nearly a century after Don Francisco introduced the pineapple to Hawaii, another man came into the picture. James Drummond Dole established the first pineapple plantation in Wahiawa. Today, the name Dole is synonymous with the pineapple.

Pineapple’s Hawaiian name is halakahiki – foreign fruit.
Whichever day the pineapple arrived in Hawaii, Dole cultivated it into a dietary staple. And I’d like to think that it’s due to both Dole and Don Francisco that we can now enjoy one of Disneyland’s tastiest treats, the Dole Whip™!

Happy 200th Birthday to Hawaii's Halakahiki!

I love to collect odd bits of news, and in an amusing bit of coincidence, the polar bear at the Chicago Zoo is named Anana. I know this because he’s the bear that made news last week when the polar vortex rendered it too cold for even a polar bear. (I’m not sure why that was news since he’s obviously been acclimated to Chicago.) Do you think the powers-that-be at the zoo knew when they named him Anana, that they were naming a polar bear after a tropical fruit?

Have you ever had that scrumptious dessert known as a Dole Whip™?

Am I the only one who likes to read odd news?

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