26 November 2009
Ang alamat ng pinya (the legend of the pineapple)
I consider the pineapple as a festive fruit, in that it conjures images of eating the fruit by the beach, or of fruit salads in parties. It's also a popular snack item. We love our pineapple with a bit of salt, especially if it's a bit sour.
Filipino folklore tells of the story of Pina, a girl in the barrio who was an only child and thus was a bit spoiled. Her mother did most of the household chores. One time, her mother got sick and it was all up to Pina to cook their dinner. However, she hadn't exactly been helpful around the house and so she performed the duty with difficulty. She especially didn't know where things were and so when she could not find the ladle and her mother got tired of answering her every question, her mother wished aloud that Pina had eyes all over her head so she can see what she's looking for. Grumbling, Pina stepped out of the house. That was the last that was seen of her.
After a few days her mother, worried what had happened to her daughter, had finally gotten well. In her search, she was surprised to find this strange plant in her backyard. She tended to it, and eventually it bore fruit with a hundred eyes. She got what she wished for, it seems.
I learned about this tale way back when I was a kid. I wonder if schools still teaches Filipino folklore to today's kids. We have a rich heritage of wonderment and legends.
Of course, thinking about the pineapple as Pina reincarnate can sometimes be off-putting, especially if you are about to eat it. So let's set aside the Alamat for a while and see how the pineapple is served!
It's not difficult as it looks. All you need is a knife and some precaution in using it. First, cut-off the crown, then cut off also the bottom. You will then have a flat section on which the pineapple can stand.
Next, slice away the tough covering strip by strip from top to bottom. You will be left with the juicy fruit with lots of "eyes" on it.
It's time to do the carving part. You will notice that the eyes actually line up diagonally. So just create a groove along these paths, effectively removing the "eyes".
Ta-daa! And then you can now slice the pineapple into wedges. It may also be a good idea to slice off the core, which is a bit tough.
Serve with salt on the side. Pineapples are for summer fun!
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