Poet Charles Lamb described the pineapple as “too ravishing for moral taste . . . like lovers’ kisses she bites—she is a pleasure bordering on pain, from fierceness and insanity of her relish.” From the moment Christopher Columbus discovered it on a Caribbean island in 1493, the pineapple has seduced the world, becoming an object of passion and desire. Beloved by George Washington, a favorite of kings and aristocrats, the pineapple quickly achieved an elite status among fruits that it retains today. Kaori O’Connor tells the story of this culinary romance in Pineapple, an intriguing history of this luscious fruit.
O’Connor follows the pineapple across time and cultures, exploring how it was first transported to Europe, where it could only be grown at great expense in hothouses. The pineapple was the ultimate status symbol, she reveals—London society hostesses would even pay extravagantly to rent a pineapple for a single evening to be the centerpiece of a party. O’Connor explains that the fruit remained a seasonal luxury for the rich until developments in shipping and refrigeration allowed it to be brought to the major markets in Europe and America, and she illustrates how canning processes—and the discovery of the pineapple’s ideal home in Hawaii—have made it available and affordable throughout the year. Packed with vivid illustrations and irresistible recipes from around the world, Pineapple will have everyone falling in love with this juicy tropical fruit.
Some might be put off by its texture, aroma, or murky origins, but the fact of the matter is seaweed is one of the oldest human foods on earth. And prepared the right way, it can be absolutely delicious. Long a staple in Asian cuisines, seaweed has emerged on the global market as one of our new superfoods, a natural product that is highly sustainable and extraordinarily nutritious. Illuminating seaweed’s many benefits through a fascinating history of its culinary past, Kaori O’Connor tells a unique story that stretches along coastlines the world over.
O’Connor introduces readers to some of the 10,000 kinds of seaweed that grow on our planet, demonstrating how seaweed is both one of the world’s last great renewable resources and a culinary treasure ready for discovery. Many of us think of seaweed as a forage food for the poor, but various kinds were often highly prized in ancient times as a delicacy reserved for kings and princes. And they ought to be prized: there are seaweeds that are twice as nutritious as kale and taste just like bacon—superfood, indeed. Offering recipes that range from the traditional to the contemporary—taking us from Asia to Europe to the Americas—O’Connor shows that sushi is just the beginning of the possibilities for this unique plant.