Monday, August 17, 2009

Food Fight

They say that if you truly love something you have to let it go. I'm not quite sure who "they" are, but "they" are also champions of other depressing adages such as "there ain't no such thing as a free lunch", "anything that can go wrong will", and my personal favorite, "beggars can't be choosers". Well kids, in this situation life truly imitates art. Perhaps I should tell my story...

The Orchid Conservatory features a lovely collection of tropical fruit trees and shrubs. Every effort is made to coax these wonders into producing fruit, which not only do our visitors enjoy viewing, but we, the staff, enjoy consuming. The fruits of our labor if you will. Some of these plants are bounteous, easy to grow and productive to the point of nuisance. The bananas would fall under this category, each season bringing us up to 100 pounds of fruit that ripen simultaneously and make us all sick of banana bread and pudding. Others are finicky plants and have very specific cultural requirements that must be met in order for fruit production to occur. In this latter category are the citrus, the chocolate tree (evil evil thing!) and the subject of our saga, the pineapple.

After a long years wait, defying rot, pests, and a freak boiler failure that plunged the conservatory into a night of forty degree temperatures, our pineapple plant sent up a lovely pink flower spike! Slowly but surely each flower dropped off, revealing a spiky green pineapple segment. A pineapple is actually a compound fruit- one that is composed of many small fruits fused together. Over a period of weeks the fruit grew to a decent size of about 8 inches long. As hot summer days ensued the ripening process began, changing the pineapple from a rock hard, dull green rock to a fragrant golden fruit. The scent of it hung in the air, enticing us with the promise of a treat no grocery store could deliver.

As luck would have it, two of my esteemed staff celebrate birthdays within the same week of August. A wonderful plan formed in my mind. What better birthday cake for the conservatory staff than a scrumptious pineapple upside-down cake, made with the luxurious fruit of our very own pineapple crop? I stroked the pineapple gently that Friday before leaving for the weekend. "Monday my dear, you become a culinary masterpiece." Over the weekend I gathered the other ingredients for my super-special-tropical-birthday-surprise-cake and planned our party for the next Tuesday.

Sadly, fate intervened over the weekend. Upon arriving at work Monday morning I received the report- the pineapple had vanished. A year's worth of love and care disappeared, replaced by a torn and ugly stub. All I can hope is that who ever took it enjoyed it, that it wasn't just tossed in the back of a fridge to turn to mush or thrown off a bridge to see how big of a splash it made. If the culprit is out there reading this enjoy your pineapple, you will never have another like it and I imagine the wheel of karma will turn your way eventually.

I guess we'll have banana bread instead.

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