First, I’m going to share how to cut this gorgeous pineapple and then I’m going to share some more scratching philosophy (below the recipe).
Admittedly, there are probably very few rock stars who cut their own pineapples, but were a rock star to take up pineapple cutting, THIS is how they would do it. And when I say rock star, I’m talking about the 1960’s -1970’s version. My modern, jaded soul cannot conceive of a rock star who exists outside of this era. But that is for another day and another post. Or maybe neither.
You’ve probably heard at one point or another that you shouldn’t eat too much pineapple in one sitting. If you’re like me, you’ve stored that vital piece of information deep within the recesses of your mind.
Faced with a bowl of delicious pineapple, I eat it like grapes, only to realize WAY too late that too much pineapple makes your mouth BURRRN! Ohhh yeah…I remember hearing that once…one of these days I will remember that at the right time.
Needless to say, I felt more like a rock star as I was carving this pineapple than when I was craning my neck to see inside my raw, burning mouth. We’ll see how you do resisting eating your whole pineapple! Warm, fresh pineapple is ridiculously delicious.
Additionally, I hope this post isn’t completely irrelevant to you all. Do you already cut your own pineapples? I have never met anyone who buys whole pineapples. Nor have I met anyone who carves them. I have never even seen anyone with a pineapple in their grocery cart! However, I do see stacks and stacks of pineapples at the grocery store, which leads me to assume there are people out there doing this. That, and I just googled how to cut a pineapple and there were over 8 million results. If you all have been doing this for years, and having pineapple cutting parties behind my back, then I guess I am helplessly out of the loop. So, if this post is old history to you, my apologies.
However, perhaps you, like me, have never carved your own pineapple or know anyone who does. If that is the case, then yay! I have a great new technique for you and perhaps a party trick (depending on the kind of parties you go to). Also, you will never buy the pre-sliced variety again. Fresh pineapple is SO much better. So much so, that you will probably tear up your mouth by eating too much. It’s almost worth it. But really, trust me, you’re going to want to pace yourself.
Use the photo gallery below as your guide. I included a written description, but the photos are worth a thousand words:
- 1 Pineapple
- If your pineapple is not ripe,* or if you want warm pineapple (I think it tastes best warm) preheat oven to 350F convection bake. If you question whether it is ripe, bake it. It will be sweeter once baked.
- Rinse your pineapple under running water.
- Carefully slice off the top of your pineapple as close to the stem as possible.
- Dry your pineapple.
- Rub the outside with a small amount of oil (I used extra light olive oil).
- Bake your pineapple for 15 - 20 minutes or until it is fragrant and the skin turns lightish brown/yellow.
- Remove from oven and let it cool until it is easily handleable.
- Place the cut side of your pineapple down on a cutting board and begin slicing away the outer layer. Don't slice too deep, only enough to remove the skin.
- When you remove the skin, you will see "eyes" all around your pineapple (the brown circles). If you slice too deeply you will remove the eyes, which is what most people do when they don't use this technique. You will lose a lot of delicious pineapple if you are not careful to remove only the outer skin.
- Notice that the eyes are arranged in a diagonal pattern. Because of this you can cut each line of eyes out in a single string.
- Starting at the top, make a continuous slice directed at a 45 degree angle along a line of eyes. Now slice on the other side of the same row of eyes at a 45 degree angle.
- Excise the eyes by gently pulling them out in one single string.
- Continue this process around your entire pineapple.
- Discard all your strings of eyes.
- Remove any remaining skin or unwanted crust from the ends of your pineapple.
- Slice the pineapple in half vertically.
- Slice each half lengthwise again.
- At the center of your pineapple is a pale core. Slice that out. Remove only the really hard part. What remains of the core is really delicious, so don't cut too much away. Warning: the core is the most acidic part. Suck on the core for the most intensely pineapple-burnt mouth of your life!
- Slice your pineapple sections into bite-sized chunks.
- Enjoy responsibly.
- Alternatively you could slice your pineapple into wheels and then carve out the core. Slice it horizontally rather than vertically as in step 16 to achieve this. Either way, delicious!
And…because I know that you know I’m not going to leave you with just a pineapple, here’s what I’m thinking about this week:
Creativity and excellence. I subscribe to a daily newsletter from Delancey Place. They send out excerpts from books they are loving, five days a week. Last week they featured, How to Fly a Horse by Kevin Ashton. I loved it. And it got me thinking. Here’s what they shared:
In 1815, Germany’s General Music Journal, published a letter which Mozart had supposedly written about his creative process:
When I am, as it were, completely myself, entirely alone, and of good cheer; say traveling in a carriage, or walking after a good meal, or during the night when I cannot sleep; it is on such occasions that my ideas flow best and most abundantly. All this fires my soul, and provided I am not disturbed, my subject enlarges itself, becomes methodized and defined, and the whole, though it be long, stands almost finished and complete in my mind, so that I can survey it, like a fine picture or a beautiful statue, at a glance. Nor do I hear in my imagination the parts successively, but I hear them, as it were, all at once. When I proceed to write down my ideas the committing to paper is done quickly enough, for everything is, as I said before, already finished; and it rarely differs on paper from what it was in my imagination.
Turns out absolutely none of that is true! Mozart never wrote that or thought that. He did not have magical moments of inspiration strolling through the park. Nor did he write entire concertos in one cumulative sitting. The above is complete fairy-tale nonsense!
The depiction of brilliant artists and creators as simply stumbling upon their genius bothers me SO MUCH! It creates this fantasy that certain people have it and others don’t. So, if you don’t have it, why even bother trying? Isn’t that the message? Kevin Ashton goes on to critique the above letter as follows:
In other words, Mozart’s greatest symphonies, concertos, and operas came to him complete when he was alone and in a good mood. He needed no tools to compose them. Once he had finished imagining his masterpieces, all he had to do was write them down.
I am here to say, THAT is all just utter and complete nonsense. What I want to attack and break apart (into a million pieces) is the idea that there is a template of what it should look like for us to do, create, and/or be a specific thing. If it doesn’t come to us naturally and look like this, then we should just give up, or better yet, not even start. In other words, if you don’t come up with concertos, whilst strolling in the park, then give up your dreams as a musician.
You know what you being a genius looks like? You being a genius. There is no WAY or proscribed steps or protocol. And in fact, if we take a moment to look at reality (I know, why bother with such frivolousness?), we’ll find that the people we most respect, the geniuses that we recognize in our lives and in public life, are those people who define their thing. They are the icons of that thing. Making it quite obvious that they did not adhere to some foolish structure of what it should look like for them to be brilliant at that thing.
Kevin Ashton goes on to assert:
Mozart’s real letters — to his father, to his sister, and to others reveals his true creative process…he did not write by magic. He sketched his compositions, revised them, and sometimes got stuck. He could not write without a piano or harpsichord. He would set work aside and return to it later…Even though his talent and a lifetime of practice made him fast and fluent, his work was exactly that: work. Masterpieces did not come to him complete in uninterrupted streams of imagination, nor without an instrument, nor did he write them down whole and unchanged. The letter is not only forged, it is false.
It lives on because it appeals to romantic prejudices about invention. There is a myth about how something comes to be. Geniuses have dramatic moments of insight where great things and thoughts are born whole. Poems are written in dreams. Symphonies are composed complete. Science is accomplished with eureka shrieks. Businesses are built by magic touch. Something is not, then is. We do not see the road from nothing to new, and maybe we do not want to. Artistry must be misty magic, not sweat and grind. It dulls the luster to think that every elegant equation, beautiful painting, and brilliant machine is born of effort and error, the progeny of false starts and failures, and that each maker is as flawed, small, and mortal as the rest of us. It is seductive to conclude that great innovation is delivered to us by miracle via genius. And so the myth…
The creativity myth implies that few people can be creative, that any successful creator will experience dramatic flashes of insight, and that creating is more like magic than work. A rare few have what it takes, and for them it comes easy. Anybody else’s creative efforts are doomed.
The success at the end of the journey and not the journey itself is exalted. That Mozart was a musical genius is reflected on, not that he efforted and worked to create such majestic work. This idea of natural talent, the gifted among us, can be wielded as a weapon to thwart ourselves or others from endeavoring.
In my opinion, the endeavoring has at least equal, perhaps greater, value than the result. The result is transient, fleeting. It’s the trophy, the graduation, the new job, the new house, the brrrand new car, etc… Highlight moments are just that, they stand out, and last no longer than a slice of cake. The joy of endeavoring, of putting one foot in front of the other to create (ourselves, our dreams), is what our lives are made of. Why aggrandize lack of effort? Or lack of work?
Why is having success dropped in our lap, as if it were luck, exalted? I don’t know. But I stand in protest of the entire notion. Geniuses make themselves, they are not made. As we have all seen and experienced, raw talent without effort is usually reflected upon as “potential.” To the condition or paradigm of “some have it and some don’t,” I say balderdash! Whatever it is, you’ve got it. I’ve got it. We’ve all got it. If you want it, you’ve got it. Life’s challenge is to turn what lives in you into an outward expression of genius. To be shared and reveled in by others.
This all conveniently ties into the focus of my blog. Scratching. Making food from scratch. And more broadly creating from scratch. Perhaps, if I may be so bold, living from scratch: being who you are, uncompromised.
I assert that the effort required to make a batch of yogurt from scratch is a benefit in and of itself. Yes the result, called yogurt, tastes better from scratch. But I am also better for having made it from scratch. The endeavor was joyous. My work, my sweat, my expression has tremendous value. The means are just as critical to me as the ends. Which is why my blog does not focus on quick meals or shortcuts. I don’t want shortcuts. I want full participation in my creation.
Why is it better to have great success with little effort than great success with tremendous effort? In my life I want 100% effort and 100% results. If all of my talents and successes were dropped in my lap, I would have been deprived of the experience that is endeavoring. Why are we so drawn to this myth of creativity, this myth of genius? Is it simply to discourage ourselves from putting one foot in front of the other and endeavoring for our dreams, to be who we are?
So, that’s what I’m thinking about…
Coming later this week…A really great way to use your fresh pineapple.
Ever cut your own pineapple? What technique do you use? Have any thoughts about creativity and natural abilities? Let me know. Post a comment. Ask a question. Or just say hi. I’d love to hear from you.
Thanks for stopping by.