Saturday, February 19, 2011

Winter Pineapples

Pineapples make me happy. Especially in the dead of winter, they just seem like little messengers of tropical cheer. They are fresh and fruity, smell wonderful, and in their perfect state they are the ideal combination of tangy and sweet. It's no wonder that to some people, the pineapple is seen as a symbol of welcome. What better way to welcome guests than with such a happy fruit?

Beating out pineapples as happiness-inducers, however, is my sister. So, when she traveled up to spend the weekend with us, it was like having a whole houseful of pineapples...which, on second thought, might not seem like something you'd really want (what with all the chopping and cutting required to eat those pineapples, not to mention the lack of space that would result from your couches, chairs, tables, and beds being occupied by the hoard of spiky little fruits). But I assure you that Mandi's presence only resembled a houseful of pineapples in the most positive, happiest meanings of the analogy. Phew. That was a lot of words to say that I was happy to have my sister in town.

In any case, with Mandi around, we both decided that our recipe of the week would be cooked together. Plus, we'd add an extra recipe for good measure, since we were, afterall, getting an easier deal by splitting the work between the two of us. So, the cookbooks came out of the cupboard and we pored over them with our eyes set on only the most delectable-sounding recipes we could find. We narrowed it down to the "Wraps" book that I purchased about 4 or 5 years ago (and whose recipes had remained untouched by me all this time). From there we decided upon the Jerk Chicken Wrap, which included the glorious pineapple as one of its main ingredients. I also recalled a recipe for Pineapple Salsa that I had just seen in the most recent "Everyday Food" magazine, so I ran into the other room and returned with that as well. With that, we were set. Two recipes. Both using pineapple. Could we really handle all the happiness that was bound to come from this?

Well, we should have known that we were in trouble when Mandi practically lost a toe from a near-miss with a falling knife. Not to say that it all went downhill from there, because we were really quite successful with our cooking adventures. With the exception of the knife incident, everything else went pretty much according to plan. We happily chopped, stirred, and concocted. When everything was at last finished, the plates looked amazing. Good enough for the finest deli or gourmet sandwich shop. But then the real test came: the first bite. I have to say that I was sadly disappointed. Perhaps the chicken should have been marinated to infuse it with more flavor. Maybe our decision to switch the mint for cilantro was a poor one. Or, perhaps the pineapple was simply not happy enough. And when I say that, what I really mean is that perhaps it was failing to live up to its true pineapple potential: having a perfect blend of both tangy and sweet. The spicy Pineapple Salsa certainly won out over the lackluster wraps, in my opinion. And, had the pineapple achieved its ultimate destiny, perhaps the wraps would have been more exciting and the salsa would have broached near perfection.

So, at the end of our cooking adventure, I was glad that I wasn't relying on a pineapple for my happiness. The way I figure it, even pineapples are bound to have unhappy days.

1 comment:

  1. I love thinking of pineapples as the happy fruit!! And, your pineapple art is triple happiness:-) Believe me, Heather, I have heard very positive comments from Mandi and Dan about these wraps, so I do believe you should try marinating the chicken and do a rerun!! I want to give them a taste:-) Most of all, as usual, I enjoy your writing. You always make me smile!!


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