Who’s Eating Who: Pineapples and You

What was the hottest accessory for late 1600s European dining rooms? The pineapple! Explorers had recently brought this spiky tropical fruit over from the Americas, and, in short order, it became the Gucci purse of its day—so exciting and desirable that it not only commanded big bucks, but led to a sort of gardening arms race to figure out how they might be grown in chilly Europe. In this episode, we get to the core of how this "king of fruit" inspired obsession and invention—plus, we head back to Hawai'i to learn how it transformed the islands and changed from an exotic rarity to a pantry-staple topping for pizza and cottage cheese. If you like piña coladas and fruits that can dissolve your skin, join us for all of the juicy details!

The royal gardener, John Rose, presenting King Charles II with a pineapple—an occasion that would have been worthy of much celebration— as shown in a 1700s painting by Thomas Stewart. (Image courtesy of ArtUK)

Episode Notes

Francesca Beauman

Francesca Beauman is a historian and the author of the book The Pineapple: King of Fruits.

Left, a pineapple plant flowering; right, adult pineapples, both at Maui Gold Pineapple Farm. Photos by Nicola Twilley

Rudy Balala and Kary Hisashima at Maui Gold Pineapple Farm

Rudy Balala is the general manager and Kary Hisashima is the farm manager of Maui Gold Pineapple Farm, which we visited in Hawai'i and which produces the super-sweet Maui Gold pineapple varietal.

Rudy Balala, left, and Carrie Hisashima, right, with a freshly picked pineapple on the Maui Gold farm. Photo by Nicola Twilley.


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