Too long Pineapple clung to the juices she was born with.
Though she tried to hide the seep of syrup from the rot of flesh that cracked her armor.
She knew no magic pill, nor painless shortcut could extend her shelf life any further.
And the only place that she could turn to
was the long road to the lonely field.
Giving up the crown she had held so high upon her head,
she replanted herself in the unknown soils,
and then began to wait …
Slowly slowly she replaced her fibers with those that grew in the nutrient earth.
The veining roots brought green to stems and blossomed the fruit within her core.
Still, she remained, while she rose from the ground — fresh and full of wonder
at the sun and the rain and the stars and their music that echoed the song inside her.
Her skin turned gold with the honeyed dawn — it’s sweetness gave off a newfound fragrance.
And she glowed from within with the light she’d unearthed :
a harvest found buried in darkness.
I am completely AMAZED by pineapples! I had no idea how fascinating they were until I saw an actual pineapple plant for the first time: a miniature version of itself suspended atop a single stem, growing from the ground. How ridiculously adorable and miraculous that such a complex fruit is created this way!
Here are some pineapple facts that have been blowing my mind recently:
One plant produces only one pineapple fruit per season.
Most species of pineapples take 24 months to reach maturity. That’s right, one pineapple from one plant takes two years to grow!
To grow a new pineapple plant you can simply twist off and replant the crown of a mature pineapple fruit.
The pineapple plant flowers with hundreds of little “fruitlets” that fuse together and become one fruit.
Once the pineapple ripens and the fruit is harvested, it stops ripening and its short shelf life begins quickly ticking away. So how you purchase the pineapple from the store is as ripe as it will ever be. It is only rotting at that point.
Although pineapples have become a symbol of Hawaiian agricultural, and Hawai’i is the only US state that grows them, they are not native to the Islands. They were introduced only in 1813.
🙃 I have always loved pineapple upside-down cake and wanted to try making one with fresh pineapple, instead of the traditional canned pineapple, most recipes call for.
This pineapple was grown right down the road from my house at the Maui Tropical Plantation. The fruit itself tasted like heaven, so I knew whatever was made with it would be divine!
This is a recipe I have adapted from many recipes and I am very happy with the outcome. The fresh pineapple caramelizes nicely with no overflow on the topping and the cake is dense and moist. Not only is this cake delicious, but the combination of spices and fresh pineapple makes your home incredibly fragrant when it is baking and after!
Fresh Pineapple Upside-Down Cake
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted 1/2 cup packed brown sugar 5-8 fresh pineapple slices (or 8-10 canned pineapple slices) Maraschino cherries (to decorate with as you wish)
1 and 1/2 cups cake flour 1 tsp baking powder 1/4 tsp baking soda 1 tsp kosher salt (or 1/2 tsp table salt) 1/8 tsp ground cardamom 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon 6 Tbs unsalted butter, at room temperature 3/4 cup granulated sugar 2 large egg whites at room temperature 1/3 cup full fat Greek yogurt at room temperature 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract 1/3 cup whole milk (or half and half), at room temperature
Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C).
Cut and up fresh pineapple into rings.
Pour melted butter into an ungreased 9×2 inch pie dish or round cake pan.
Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over butter.
Blot all excess liquid off the fruit with a paper towel and pineapple slices and cherries on top of the brown sugar.
Place pan in the refrigerator for a few minutes to set while you prepare the cake batter.
Prepare cake batter:
Whisk cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cardamom and cinnamon together. Set aside.
Mix the butter on high speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 min. Add the sugar and beat on high speed until creamed together, about 1 min, scraping down the sides as needed.
On high speed, beat in the egg whites until combined, then beat in the Greek yogurt and vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed.
Slowly our the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Turn mixer on low speed, slowly pour in the milk. Beat on low speed just until all of the ingredients are combined. Do not over-mix.
Remove topping from the refrigerator. Pour and spread cake batter evenly over topping.
Bake for 43-48 minutes. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out mostly clean.
Remove cake from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Invert the slightly cooled cake onto a cake stand or serving plate.
Over a glass of pineapple wine thoughts of you float to the surface,
sweetly swirling in my mind as hours sip — lick drips from the rim …
and I smile thinking how time is an ineffective metric
Maui held a beauty pageant for the plants on the island’s stage …
First up was the talent portion …
The Palm Tree did the hula, the Hibiscus danced ballet, but it was the Trumpet Vine who wooed the crowed with her jazzy serenade.
Next up was the evening wear…
The gowns were rich in pines and petals from the Norfolk and the Orchid, but to the Bougainvillea and her ruffled florals — the blue ribbon was awarded.
Then there came the on-stage question …
The Fox Tail and the Lobster Claw didn’t have much to say, but the Bird of Paradise won, wings-down, with her passion for civil rights day.
Awards would start with specialties …
Of course, Photogenic, went to Belladonna, she thought she’d win Congeniality, but that went to the kind Plumeria (Belladonna had no personality).
And then there was the final moment; the title holders announced …
The first runner up was the Ginger Plant with her spicy need for the spotlight but the crown went to the Pineapple, for her sweetest beauty laid inside.
Writing and Photography By: Katy Claire Funke
This month officially marks 10 years since I entered the world of pageants. I won the title of Miss Idaho’s Outstanding Teen through the Miss America Organization in 2010. It was one of the most life-changing moments for me and I still reap the benefits from the skills I gained through my pageant experience. Even though pageants get a bad rap (and don’t get me wrong, they definitely do have some not so pretty aspects), I can say, without a doubt, that the people I personally worked with: my state directors, fellow contestants, and title holders, are still some of the most remarkable women I have ever encountered. I earned a great deal of scholarships through the Miss America Organization to go toward my college education and so many unforgettable experiences that I will always be grateful for.
I can’t pinpoint the exact moment when I fell in love with Poetry.
Somewhere between the summer nights and the carelessness of his hair.
Of course, he was a musician with this hypnotizing rhythm and a smile like Chardonnay.
Just the way that he knocked at my door that autumn day … I must have known for certain that I’d never be the same.
How he waltzed right up to me and took me by the hand. How he whispered, we should dance … and I felt so silly, only knowing a few steps like the haiku shuffle, and the iambic slide — but oh, the way he held me, right then I could have died!
All of it is beautiful, he said, because it’s you. I swooned into his smooth talk, but deep down always knew that my rhymes about my dog were only child’s play, while a masterpiece he was, (but good heavens, still I blushed!)
On our very first date we hiked up into the forest— and no, he wasn’t wealthy, but was richer than the royals when he showed me all the jewels hidden, muted in my world, and he listened ever gently to all my heart had to say.
To hear it as he did was like dining at the Ritz. As never had I seen the sky in such divine array in a morning glory apricot.
And music — how it just lit up like candlelight!
And all the late-night drives… where was he taking me? A coral beach at sunrise? Floating on the sea? Somewhere down the way to a love, complex and deep? I swear the way he knew me was like I’d known him all my life .
But my dear, he was a heartbreaker… He showed me what it was to cry through all the pain — oh, the pain! His pain, my pain — it was all the same. An unanticipated turn into a ping-pong game; ending in a knock-down-drag-out fight within myself pinned into a corner. I had to write to get me out.
Impassioned in our nights and exposed in all my scars that he kissed and turned to stars while we held each other tight. We forgave and fell asleep, only knowing I’d awake as a new unburdened day finding beauty ever steady than it was in yesterday.
On my journey never knowing where all of this would land, but always being thankful for the journey he began.
May first is the celebrated Lei Day throughout the Hawaiian islands, dedicated to the beautiful tradition of making and wearing lei.
The holiday was started May 1st, 1928, after the famous poet, Don Blanding, (AKA the “poet laureate of Hawaii”) suggested a special day be made to honor the spirit of aloha, which is best embodied in the lei tradition.
Lei Day is usually full of celebratory events throughout the community which include live music, food, hula dancing, and lei contests. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, none of these gatherings were able to take place this year. However, kama’aina (Hawaii residents) were encouraged to make their lei at home and share their creations by hanging them on their mailboxes or taking photos.
Hawaii is well known for its “Spirit of Aloha,” which is a way of life on the islands. Being a new resident and having only visited here before now, I have been very curious about what exactly aloha means to the people who live here. We all associate the word with hello, goodbye or love, but what it means to natives goes much deeper.
The direct translation of aloha from Hawaiian to English is presence of divine breath. Hawaiians used to greet each other by placing their foreheads together and inhaling at the same time as a practice to exchange good health and spiritual power. Today, this practice is very rare and the spirit of aloha is shown in other ways. Aloha is the essence of being: love, peace, compassion and respect, living in harmony with the people and the land. It is all about caring for one another without expecting anything in return.
The lei is a symbol of affection representing aloha, given to those coming and leaving Hawaii. Leis are usually strung fresh flowers, shells, nuts, leaves and berries, but can be made of a variety of materials.
Here is my poem for my first Lei Day:
Spirit of Aloha
To wear such words (such masterpiece)
though one may not assume to be in tenderest of messages— intricately woven of berries and blooms :
A harmony of understanding
A breath sent from me to you
A greeting of deeper meaning
between mayflowers who always knew . . .
To be revealed within the gauze of rainbow in prismatic kindness
the Aloha Spirit shines its colors through the veils of silvered mist
And my lovely he’e berry lei along with a bonus May Day rainbow outside the kitchen window!
Since day one I have felt this aloha spirit and been blessed to be welcomed into the community. Despite all the chaos with COVID-19 neighbors are always checking in on me, having me over for dinner and helping me get acquainted with the island. It has been a crazy time of adjustments, especially during these unprecedented times, but having aloha has helped immensely.