The pineapple is the fruity symbol of hospitality. Gold-leaf encrusted, wrought in iron, the pinnacle of the Colonial dining table, its once rarity speaks for its glamour. Issuing from the tropics the ‘gator-skinned fruit with sharp and extended leaves embodies the port city hostess, tough while the sea captain is away with a beautiful but guarded demeanor. Arms outreached but particular. Sweet in the flesh and sturdy again at the core.
The humid steamy hulls of a freighter were perfect for ripening green pineapples, unfortunately far too soon before they reached port. Therefore, those fruit that made the journey intact were jewelry. Confectioners snatched up the gems in the port cities of the East Coast: the South, Virginia Colonies, the Mid-Atlantic and New England. So dear was this perfect ripe bounty that a hostess might rent a fruit or two for her dining table display. Of course, the prize had to be returned intact or so promoting the hostess who might actually serve the cherished fruit.
Popular in the time was the esteemed Hogarth Curve. Imagined by William Hogarth, a painter of the 18thh- century, the curve embodies movement and life, popular in the settlement of Williamsburg, Virginia, Mr. Hogarth’s design captured vitality. Quite often at its apexes a stately pineapple ranged.
Perhaps the crowning glory was the esteemed sea captain returning home from a fruitful voyage, his ship groaning with tropical glories: sugar cane, rum and the boundless curiosities of worlds thousands of miles away. He steps to terra firma brandishing a bottle of rum in one hand and a priceless pineapple in the other. The pineapple he spears on his own fine gateway and swings open the doors of his kept home to community. Another journey successful. His larder full. His Mistress of the House with pineapples to share.