Partying with a pineapple
In the 17th and 18th centuries, monarchs such as Louis XV, Catherine the Great and Charles II (who even commissioned a painting of his gardener presenting him with a pineapple) enjoyed eating the sweet fruit, and pineapples came to symbolise luxury and opulence. In the American colonies, it was the same deal — pineapples were worth more than $8000 in present-day currency. People would rent them to flex at parties. Affluent colonists would throw dinner parties and display a pineapple as the centrepiece only to be eaten once they started going rotten. There was even a pineapple rental market. Before selling them to be eaten, merchants rented pineapples to people, who would take them to parties, not to give as a gift to the host, but to carry around and show off their apparent ability to afford such an expensive fruit!
Pandemic patients ill-advised
Peter McElroy came across this article about the flu pandemic in a New Zealand Herald from 1918 when clearing out some old files of his mother's. "As she was only born in 1913 it must have been retained by my grandparents," he says. The numbered advice recommends that only one member of the house should be in the patient's room. Number 10 on the list includes a recipe of boric acid and baking soda to be snorted and gargled and used to brush one's teeth…which all sounds as bonkers as UV light and ingesting disinfectant. At the end of the advice there is a call to "be cheery" echoing our current mantra to "be kind".
Still tasty after all these years
A reader writes (with permission from the subject involved): "A certain gentleman aged 92 (in lockdown) ran out of bread. 'Never mind, I will make some scones.' Then discovered he had no baking soda. Later, at the back of the kitchen shelf, he found a jar labelled scone mix. He made it up and produced a nice batch of tasty scones despite the fact the mix had been his late wife's from what he estimated was 30+ years ago. No use-by date in those days."
Shoes for the soul
"I don't recommend a sports shoe at all," writes Steve. "The reader needs to buy a pair of leather jandals from Soul Shoes in Raglan. Not only good for walking but also ideal for dancing, gardening and whacking cockroaches." Graeme recommends New Balance 1260 for running. Got mine at Smith's shoes Dominion Rd. "What a character! I know exactly how he feels," he adds.