Saturday, August 23, 2008

Christmas just wouldn't be Christmas without ... a pineapple!

A pineapple is being threatened with being sent back to Thailand after the British foodie police refused to allow it entry into Britain. The thick skinned, sickly coloured old fruit – originally destined for the exotic fruit section of a supermarket near you and renowned for its captivating power over children – is currently languishing in the no man’s land that bridges the vast gulf between ethical, environmentally friendly produce and the “I Want That And I Want It Now” movement, formed around three decades ago.

The pineapple has been around for a long time, but it wasn’t until its first manager – the legendary ‘Man from Del Monte’ – said “yes!” in the late 1980s that the appeal of fruit as a party act spread worldwide. Early chart topping successes include ‘Put me on a Pizza and call me Hawaiian’, ‘I’m Really Posh when I’m on a stick with Some Cheese’ and ‘Drowning in your Tacky Cocktail’, but this ancient but glamorous fruit’s popularity began to wane drastically around three years ago when restaurants started issuing diners with complicated ‘mission statements’ regarding ‘sourcing’, designed to relieve the guilt of Guardian readers who found it hard to justify spending the same amount a south American farmer makes in one year on a simple supper for two.

Today, the pineapple – along with the much-maligned Kenyan green bean, Peruvian avocado and Madagascan lychee – is at the centre of a controversial whirlwind of debate. Those in support of the import ask what difference letting one more case of ornate, complicated, bitter fruit into the country will make to a climate that’s already destined for hell in a handcart. Many consumers, however, would rather watch the strange fruit with very bad taste rot in an airport than allow it near our children.

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