Pineapples. Are they really a product of nature or did someone make them up? 'Exotic’ fruits are no longer unusual but, apart from rambutans, pineapples must be the oddest-looking – that top knot of leaves, the rough, prickly body, each diamond of skin studded with a tufty 'eye’.
To Brits, pineapples represent accessible exotica because for years they came in tins. I’d no idea what a real one looked like when I was a child – pineapple just meant sweet, juicy rounds with a perfect hole in the middle.
My first parties – when I was six, and prepared with the 13-year-old from next door – always had it as their main focus. We threaded cubes of pineapple, tinned ham (Old York variety – we were classy) and cheese on to cocktail sticks, covered a grapefruit in foil and stuck these 'canapes’ into it.
Along with crustless salmon paste sandwiches and rounds of toasted teacake spread with golden syrup,...
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