If you were to show your hospitality to guests at your home today, what would you do? Well, in the 18th century having a pineapple in the center of your table, or in a lovely arrangement over your door would be just the thing to impress your guests and show your prowess as a hostess extraordinaire!
The lowly pineapple was popular in colonial America, you say? Absolutely! You mean, the fruit we associate with Hawaii and tropical islands was the king of fruits in the colonies? Sounds crazy, but it's true.
In Colonial America, if you wanted to show your guests just how much they meant to you, or perhaps how much money you spent in preparing a feast, you would make sure you put a pineapple in the center of your table and "wow" your guests upon arrival. But as you can imagine, obtaining said fruit was nothing short of miraculous, which is another reason for its popularity. Bringing shipments to the colonies from the Caribbean often meant that the conditions were hot and perfect for rotting the cargo. So, if you were able to obtain a fresh, juicy pineapple, you might have been the talk of the town. This was especially true for the more northern colonies where shipments of pineapples were typically only brought to Boston.
|The fruit didn't arrive in cardboard boxes like it does today, |
but I imagine however it came, it was quite a delight to consumers.
But, let's say you are of the middling class and wish to impress your guests but cannot afford to buy a pineapple. No problem. You can rent one! . . . But only for the day. And let's just hope your guests don't find out you are only renting it because that might not do well for your reputation.
In the 18th century, the pineapple became such a widespread symbol of hospitality that it transferred from the table to patters on wallpapers and even as sculptures adorning wooden entryways, among many other things.
So, next time you want to thrill your guests, try putting a pineapple in the middle of the table. I'm sure they will be impressed. *wink*