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December 20, 2011
There are many symbols of the Christmas season, well, like the pineapple.
None other than Ananas comosus.
No one knows for certain how the pineapple became such an essential element in the Christmas decorations of Colonial Williamsburg, but a trip down pineapple lane might provides some answers.
It does have somewhat of a racy beginning.
Since it was first named after the reproductive organs of conifers, better known as pinecones.
Spanish explorers, while plundering, stopped long enough to record finding the fruit and marveling at its sweetness.
They knew enough to hack it open.
No, it's not from Hawaii, but in reality South America.
A possible clue linking pineapples to hospitality came in 1640 when diarist John Evelyn wrote about a visit to the English Royal Court when he was served a rare fruit called the “Queen Pine, ”The first of these that I had ever seen.”
He found it quite hospitable that, “His majesty having cut it up was pleased to give me a piece from his own plate."
George Washington visited Barbados in 1751 and said that, of all the tropical pleasures, "None pleases my taste as does the pine."
It finally got the "apple" part to its name when the British, in the 18th century, compared the fruit to that of an apple, and it became "pineapple."
So, from a murky beginning, the pineapple found its way to the holiday season as a symbol of cheer, friendship and hospitality.
If you hang one outside your door this season, no telling whom you'll attract.
Especially nice if you have a pineapple sorbet chilling.