I can remember the first time I saw it happen. I was embarrassed to watch, because I thought it would be obvious to the person doing it that I’d never seen it before. The person was French, and he was a relative of my friends who had invited me over for dinner. There was a big BBQ unfolding, and he seemed comfortable taking the lead with all the food preparation, excluding grilling the meat. He was slicing vegetables, tossing a salad and then he picked up a fresh pineapple. He sliced it like it was performance art, and I watched closely, thinking I would try it myself. Growing up, I learned many things in the kitchen. I can cut a whole chicken into pieces, I can make a pie crust from scratch (and crimp the edges) and, while I haven’t yet mastered it, I know how to make homemade doughnuts.
I never learned to cut a pineapple, though. While I opened many cans of pineapple, I don’t think I’d ever seen a fresh pineapple cut until the French visitor took over the kitchen at the BBQ. He carved it like an expert, and was faster than my eyes could follow. I learned something that day, and it wasn’t how to carve a pineapple. I learned how delicious fresh pineapple tastes. Like most ripe, fresh fruit, it needs nothing done to it.
Years later, I learned how to successfully carve a pineapple. It’s not pretty when I do it. It’s not fancy and artful like when the Frenchman did it. It is fast and easy, though, and the kids are excited to see it happening, because they know fresh pineapple will soon be coming their way.
cutting a pineapple
Like most large fruit with rounded corners, such as watermelon, the first thing to do is use a large, sharp knife to cut off the top and bottom to create a flat bottom that will serve as a base. Then, set the pineapple up straight and begin slicing off the outer skin from top to bottom. At first, it’s hard to know how deep to slice into the pineapple. The idea, like carving a watermelon, is to get all the tough outer skin without taking too much of the fruit with it. After the skin is off, make four cuts from top to bottom to cut the pineapple away from the core. Now, the fruit is removed and can be cut into pieces. Usually, there is still some soft pineapple left around the hard core. I slice some more pieces off into sticks. They are fun to throw to the kids or use for the adults, as a garnish for a cocktail or beer.