To the smell of pineapples

‘To the smell of pineapples: writing a Queensland auto-bio-graphie’

Growing up with pineapples

I grew up eating pineapples in everything; well, nearly everything (let’s not exaggerate). They were a sweetener, made things juicy. Pineapple jam, pineapple breadcrumbs stuffed in the chicken roast for Sunday lunch after church, pineapple on the barbeque for the Christian folk my parents (MotherJoy and Onward) invited home, crushed pineapple in the punch, pineapple in the boiled fruitcake, pineapple in sandwiches as a treat through the summer holidays, pineapple in the curried rice salad for days my mother felt adventurous. We ate from pineapples too. Imagine then refined white sugar being spooned out of a fancy pineapple canister with its spiky pineapple top of a lid. Milk pouring out of a matching pineapple jug, part of a set. Salad out of large wooden bowls in the shape of half pineapples. And we ate off flat yellow pineapple dinner plates, helped ourselves to butter cake and sponge rolls on Sundays for tea off glass pineapple platters. People thought us quirky, we laughed them off. In the Solider family, this attachment to the fruit of the land was our way of stitching ourselves in place, saying we belonged. And in sub-tropical Queensland, the pointy state of Australia, what a surfeit.

All this in the 1960s and 1970s before kitsch could possibly have been named as ‘a thing’ in Queensland; the Big Pineapple on the Bruce Highway north of Brisbane was only beginning its life as a tourist icon (it was officially ‘opened’ in 1971). Not that MotherJoy would have been seen dead at the Big Pineapple; cheap thrills were spongy, without Godly merit.

Read more…

TEXT online journal, vol 10, no 2, pp1-22, 2006 ISSN: 1327-9556

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