The Pineapple Purloiner of London Proper

While it’s true that the pineapple was brought to Europe by Columbus, it was actually fairly difficult to grow them in that climate. Pineapples, because of this, were in such demand among the elite that they became a symbol of wealth and status. After they first appeared in the 1500’s they were all over paintings and walls and pillars, generally exotic and decorative. But the average man had no way of ever meeting a pineapple in person.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3a/Charles-pineapple.jpg

This is Charles II receiving reputedly the first pineapple grown in England. Look at his smug face, the pineapple eating sard.

 

 

The only people who could grow them reliably in Europe, were the Dutch, and I’m not sure if you know this, but we weren’t on the best terms with them in the 1700’s. That being said, they could be bought for a price by very rich men. What sort of price, you ask? Well, it amounts to about $7000 per pineapple. No, I’m not making that up.

It was back during the reign of Charles II, after the Commonwealth, for those of you who care, and I was a scoundrel. Now I mean it when I say that. I was also an accomplished sneak thief and made it my business to fund much of my preparations for leaving the Old World for the New by taking things from rich people. You may ask how and why I was so good. I will tell you that it is easy to be a thief if you always know when people are awake, where they are, can move silently, get up the sides of buildings, and so forth.

I won’t tell you who I was robbing, because to be honest, I don’t recall, but I know it was out around what is now Kensington, by Brompton Park. It was a wealthy house and I knew there would be something worth the trip. I came in on the second floor, as I recall, and went floor by floor. I found on the larder table, a pineapple. Now I knew of them, but had never before seen one except in sculpture. People would set them on tables until the things fell apart and never use them, if you can believe it, because the status symbol was more important. So there I was, trying to steal their wealth and all I found was an over ripe symbol of it.

So I sat me down right there and tried to figure out how to eat the damn thing. This was tricky, I grant you, and involved hacking at odd parts until I could make sense of it. I will never forget that first taste or the way my mind shifted so suddenly, it was as if I’d felt the very breath of God. I ate the whole pineapple and left the bits sitting there. If I’d had the sense Nature gave the pineapple, I’d have collected the top and tried some sort of gardening trick, but no, i was an idiot and missed out on that adventure.

Instead, I made it a point to steal every bloody pineapple I could get my hands on. To do that, I had to find them, and to find them, I had to go to some truly rich homes, often with guards, and the trouble there was, the only truly wealthy homes in London were the King’s or belonged to members of his family. I stole several pineapples from the smug bastard and his many bastards and I regret none of it.

Had it been the Victorian, I would have been in every penny dreadful from Fleet to Southwark as the Pineapple Purloiner, because no pineapple was safe from me. If I smelled it, it was mine. For five years, I did this. For five years, every decorative pineapple was only decorative for as long as it took for me to nose it.

I once walked out of the Royal Exchange with an entire box of pineapples and not a soul stopped me.

Then the fire happened and some things changed, technology evolved and pineapple growing became manageable in massive hot houses warmed with ovens. Pineries, they were called. Pineapple growing became the horticultural competition of the wealthy and well, I didn’t need to steal quite so sneakily. A few years later, I moved from the country altogether and thought that I’d be without pineapple. But no, it found me here.

No one ever found out about my treachery, for I assume they thought the servants had stolen the fruit. I never did hear ladies in fine hats whispering about the mysterious vanishing of pineapples. Too bad really, because my criminal enterprise was more organized than the mob. But it’s been long enough. I can take that acclaim, and happily too.

Pineapples are splendid and proof that the Bible is rubbish. If God really had run the garden of Eden, He’d have had pineapples in it, because they’d have been worthy of absquatulating from heaven, fruit in hand.

Swift and easy gluten free chicken nuggets, a recipe

Tools:

  • Frying pan
  • Several large bowls and plates
  • Whisk
  • Paper towels
  • Knife

Ingredients:

  • A couple skinless chicken breasts
  • Corn starch
  • 2 eggs
  • Milk or water
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Lemon pepper
  • Paprika
  • Chili powder if you like it spicy
  • Salt
  • Fresh black pepper
  • Oil (any will do but for the above batch I used a mix of equal parts olive oil and grape seed), several cups at least

Instructions:

  1. Cut the thawed/fresh chicken into 1 1/2″ pieces and throw into one bowl. Dust the entire batch with all the powdered seasonings and salt and pepper, making sure each piece is coated lightly and evenly, to taste. I use equal portions but go light on salt. You shouldn’t need more than one to two tap. Set aside.
  2. In second bowl, whisk eggs and milk or water, only need about 1 Tbsp. Get it frothy.
  3. In the third bowl, combine about 1 1/2 cups or so corn starch and the same seasonings again. Again, you won’t need more than a teaspoon or so of each or less depending on tastes. Mix thoroughly.
  4. Dunk the seasoned chicken into the egg a few pieces at a time and then toss them in the corn starch. Every five nuggets or so, give the bowl a toss to make sure that each chicken piece is coated thoroughly and isn’t sticking together. Keep filling up that bowl until you run out of chicken. They can all sit in there for now.
  5. Heat your oil. You need enough oil to come up about halfway inside your pan. I used half and half olive and grape seed oil but any will do. It’s ready when you can drop some water into it and see it sizzle.
  6. Drop a few chicken pieces in at a time until you’ve filled the pan suchthat no pieces are touching. You won’t need to physically turn these, but you should either carefully swirl the pan every 30 seconds, or so, to make certain that the chicken is not sticking to the bottom, or you can tip the pan to submerge pieces in the oil. Or both. Go with both.
  7. When the chicken coating is the color of the crust on a loaf of white bread it is cooked. I recommend setting a plate lined with paper towel aside and dishing them out onto that to cool.This process can take about ten minutes per pan. It doesn’t matter if it takes longer so long as the chicken is not burning and the oil is not smoking.
  8. You can reuse your oil, add to it and do another batch. If the oil is a darker brown than say a cup of dark tea or a smoking, do not reuse. Dump it and refill.

When these are cool, they are crunchy and delicious.

Tumblr Dump

Given the new restrictions on Tumblr and the threatened mass exodus and possible slide of that platform into obscurity, I’ve backed up all my Tumblr content to a databases site on WordPress. You can find it at https://creaturescookbook-tumblr.com and I suspect it will be much easier to search through the entries by key word.

So if you’ve been trying to find one of my Tumblr entries using their proprietary search and have been failing, this ought to fix that. I’d also encourage you to follow that blog too. It won’t send you an email every time I “tumble”. Nor, if I do any future backing up to it. It only alerts you if I directly post to the site.

Thank you! And be advised I will be on Tumblr until they force me off. I haven’t yet decided if I will set up a mastodon account or move to any other platforms also. I’m considering it.