So I have a strange connection to pineapple. I only remember having it one way when I was a kid. In slices served with spaghetti.
I vividly remember the slices stacked on their own little plate and me obsessing over making the perfect orange lines in them with the side of my fork. It was never discussed why we had pineapple with spaghetti, we just did. Maybe it was because they were both “exotic” foods in rural Vermillion Parish? Maybe someone read about it in a Readers Digest and you know once written there it's the truth. I guess it will remain a mystery.
Fast forward to living in California during my teens. My friends call and want to go out to dinner. We crowded in the car and headed to the “Spaghetti Factory.” An establishment I had never been to before. The waiter heads over, hands our menus and we get to ordering. I decide to go with (drum roll please) Spaghetti. I had never had spaghetti anywhere but at home so why not give it a try in a fancy restaurant. Look I wasn’t a wealthy kid and this place had tablecloths and waiters - it was fancy in my mind. All is well till the dishes arrive.
Everybody starts digging in while I stare at my plate in confusion. The waiter comes over and asks if everything okay. Everyone says yes until he gets to me. I ask him “Where’s the pineapple?” He looks at me as if he’s misheard me, “Excuse me, Ma’am?” I don’t want to be rude but still something was very wrong. “The pineapple, where’s the pineapple?” He looks at me with utter confusion. “We don’t have pineapple ma’am we are the Spaghetti Factory."
At this point, I am getting frustrated. How can this man work at the Spaghetti Factory and not have pineapple? In a higher voice and with much frustration I say, “The pineapple! Everybody knows spaghetti comes with pineapple!" He’s now frustrated with me, “Ma’am it doesn’t. You can get a salad or some breadsticks.” “I don’t want breadsticks I want pineapple! What kind of restaurant is this?” I look to my friends for some sort of support. Are they seeing this atrocity? They need to join in and tell this man how wrong he is. All I see is mouths agape and the giggles rising in their throats.
Finally, someone leans over and says, “That’s not a thing Jolie. Pineapple with spaghetti is not normal.” She leans over to the waiter and says, “She’s from Louisiana.” The waiter nods like now he understands. Obviously, since I came from Swamp Country where we take boats to school and wrestle alligators for fun, it explains my lack of sophistication when it comes to spaghetti sides. Whatever... I’d like to see y’all make a rice and gravy or survive one August in the South.
Trying to save my dignity I take a sharp breathe and announce, “Whatever! Weird California bullshit, I’ll just bring a can next time and eat this the proper way!” It was hard to eat my now mate-less spaghetti over the uproarious laughter surrounding me, but I did. I just quietly, in my head, calculated all the little orange lines I would be making if this place wasn’t such a spaghetti hack job.
One day I will return to the Spaghetti Factory with can of pineapple in hand. I may not be right but damn it, I am just as stubborn as I am wrong. I think we should form a Cajun Pineapple Posse, Who’s in?