The Majestic Pineapple
Design | June 26th, 2016
There’s a fruit out there having its 15 minutes of fame. Its cute, quirky and a little bit strange. Tropical in nature and currently making appearances on wallpaper, clothing, art and even in your pool. I’m talking about the green spiked head and curvaceous yellow body of the majestic pineapple.
Growing up, my grandmother had a pair of brass pineapples in her home. I overlooked them my entire life, but recently remembered them when I was joking with my dad about all the pineapple decor in my home. I was surprised to learn that he not only had one of them at home, but had recently discovered a note inside its hollow interior.
The note was a pamphlet for the ‘Monticello Pineapple Dinnerware.’ Scrawled amongst the pricing for each serving piece (Cereal Bowl…15.00, Salt and Pepper…19.50…) were notes in my grandmother’s impeccable handwriting and at the top, this tidbit:
“The pineapple was a colonial symbol for hospitality. Captains of whaling ships would bring back this exotic fruit as a gift for their families and friends. By placing the pineapple on the spikes of their iron gates, the family served public notice that it was holding open-house, with “food and drink for all.” This particular design is fashioned after the pineapple found on an English Staffordshire pearler bowl uncovered during archaeological excavations at Monticello.”
In early America, Ameri-Caribbean trade routes were dangerous and long. As such, obtaining a ripe pineapple to share with guests was costly and thus incredibly generous, making them a perfect symbol of hospitality in the home. Today we continue that tradition of welcome with pineapple door mats, door bells and door knockers. Once pineapples became easier to acquire it would seem the need to skewer one on the front porch was no longer necessary.
So far, my pineapple door mat has yet to bring any uninvited neighbors to our door looking for a party. But I can guarantee there will be plenty of this adorable and delicious fruit to admire and devour at our next party or gathering.
Five Fun Pineapple Facts
-Europeans explorers named them ‘pineapples’ as they originally thought them to be pine cones
-While they originated in South America, pineapples were unintentionally brought to the Caribbean by centuries of migration and trade between the islands and India
-During the 17- and 1800s, pineapple shaped desserts and candies were viewed as fun, whimsical additions to table decorations, a trend that reemerged in the 1950s
-Gardeners spent almost two centuries perfecting their greenhouse conditions before successfully growing a pineapple in Europe
-A fully mature pineapple can take up to three years to grow