Diebtribes: The Pineapple Express


"¢Â Though often considered (or assumed) a Hawaiian food, the pineapple originally hails from Brazil. By 1493, even Columbus had seen this spiky and sweet wonder, and took it back with him to Europe. Pineapples in Hawaii were like transplanted from Jamaica by the British in 1886 where they have since, of course, flourished.

"¢Â Pineapples may take 18 months to grow, but that hasn't stopped the Dole Farm in Hawaii from creating a giant pineapple maze, and actually expanding upon it to ensure they wouldn't lose their Guinness Record (are there really that many people creating massive pineapple mazes?)

"¢ Speaking of Dole (James Dole that is, a.k.a. "The Pineapple King") - Dole started out with a mere $50 in his pocket, and decided to save it up for a scheme. $16,240.00 later, Dole moved to Honolulu and purchased land in the central plains of Oahu to begin his pineapple empire.

"¢Â The empire might not have been much had it not been for engineer Henry Ginaca, who invented a machine that cored pineapples, essentially revolutionizing the industry. In fact, "in one of the most comprehensive customer satisfaction studies ever done, the University of Michigan business school and the American Society for Quality Control found that Dole Food's humble pineapple rings and other packaged goods delight consumers like nothing else. On a scale of zero to 100, Dole tops the 1995 list with a score of 90."

"¢Â "The sweetness and unusual appearance of the pineapple and its association with fertility and agriculture made it a sought-after delicacy in colonial America. When it was served to guests, they were naturally flattered at the honor, and thus may have evolved the idea that the pineapple was considered a sign of the highest form of hospitality."

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"¢Â If that is true, then certainly this pineapple house, constructed for Lord Dunmore of Scotland, must be the most welcoming place on earth with its 37-foot tall pineapple sitting atop it.

"¢Â Now for the myths and marvels: Pineapples contain large amounts of the amino acid Bromelain, which acts as a meat tenderizer but also breaks down gelatin, leaving it unable to hold a structural form (in other words, homemade pineapple Jell-O is probably not going to work out so well). Because of pineapple's meat tenderizing properties, it was once thought that Bromelain exposure gradually erased fingerprints of workers' hands who harvest and cut pineapples, as they often undergo great damage. However, all you super-spy wannabes take note: this particular property of the pineapple just isn't true.

"¢Â Pineapples also tangentially help beer sales. According to HowStuffWorks, "In addition to tenderizing meat, Bromelain is used to 'chill-proof' beer. When beer is cooled to about 32 degrees Fahrenheit (zero degrees Celsius), proteins form bonds with other elements in the beer. This doesn't affect the taste of the beer, but it makes it appear cloudy. Bromelain is added to beer to prevent this from happening. Even without chill-proofing, the cloudiness goes away once the temperature of the beer rises. In a store's beer cooler though, consumers are generally going to reach for a clear beer over something that resembles a thick gruel."

"¢Â For those of you who thought the Pineapple Express was just an excuse to watch James Franco in action, it's actually the name of a storm front that goes from Hawaii to the West Coast of the US, usually bringing warm and wet weather with it.

"¢ Finally, some people may despise the pineapple and even attempt to rob those who are dressed like one (especially if they happen to be a Japanese pop star), while others love the pineapple so much they want ... to marry it? (like this German pop star - what is with pop stars and pineapples? I sense a thesis ...)

"¢ Into which camp do you Flossers fall? OK, I won't make it so extreme, but how do you guys typically like to consume your pineapple? Is pineapple-in-a-can truly the pinnacle of consumer satisfaction? And for a pineapple novice, how much do you REALLY recommend the pineapple-topped pizza?

Hungry for more? Venture into the Dietribes archive.

"˜Dietribes' usually appears every other Wednesday (please forgive the delay this week—technical difficulties). Food photos taken by Johanna Beyenbach. You might remember that name from our post about her colorful diet.