We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
My Christmas present from Mrs. BD was a winter hiking and birding trip on Barbados. I'm not a big fan of the Caribbean, but what the heck. Lots of good hiking along the 24-mile old railroad bed, and famous birding.
The author, Robert Ligon, was a gentleman, highly educated and literate but a third son so given nothing but education. After losing what little he had on a bad real estate investment in London, he headed to the Caribbean to seek his fortune. He found no fortune, but his book remains the best first-hand report of the Caribbean of the time. An elegant writer too with interest in the geology, the soils, the fish, the trees and lumber, the birds, the architecture, the cuisine, the booze (French brandy for the planters, rum for everybody else including the slaves), etc.
And in the people. The Brit planters (sugar cane, thanks to Columbus) were mostly drunken whoremongers but some were not. Ligon befriended many of the slaves. He even taught them music. Ligon was a talented lutist, and felt the slaves could benefit from learning how to make tunes instead of just their African drumming for their Sunday dance and rum parties.
He also defended their wishes to become Christian. The slaves believed that Christianity seemed to impart wisdom. This was illegal at the time: you could not have a Christian as a slave.
Interestingly but unsurprisingly, the slaves were treated much better than the indentured servants from the British Isles. The planters owned the valuable slaves, but the servants were just rentals. Ligon's ship carried some servants and picked up some slaves to trade while provisioning in the Cape Verde Islands. At the time, however, the bulk of the slave trade was headed to Brazil.
Why the Pineapple? By the 1600s Pineapples were everywhere, thanks to Capt. Cook.
Most interesting book I've read in 2018. The intro and the footnotes are superb too.
Pineapple was the king of fruits, a rare and exotic (and expensive) rarity. You were rolling in high cotton if you could afford a pineapple. It was a symbol of decadent luxury.
http://www.levins.com/pineapple.html According to this history, pineapples were actually rented out as centerpieces for lavish feasts by people who couldn't actually afford to eat a pineapple but were willing to pay to look like the sorts of people who could afford to eat pineapple.
Reminds me of Hoover's campaign promise of "a chicken in every pot". Frequently taken as a promise that "you might not get much but at least you'll have something to eat", chickens were actually a luxury item for most people given the relatively labor-intensive processing required for chickens as compared to cows and pigs. There were national beef and pork processors going back into the 1800's, large-scale chicken processing had to wait on the invention of refrigerated trucks and mechanical chicken-plucking machinery.
According to Wikipedia, the Spaniards spread the pineapple throughout the Pacific in the 16th century, though there are disagreements regarding precisely when Hawaii first got the pineapple. The Portuguese brought the pineapple to India.
For refreshment after a strenuous day hike in Guatemala, I found a whole pineapple- then costing about 30 cents US- was a great refresher. Tasty and also a safe liquid source.