by Adam Campbell-Schmitt
I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but I wasn’t prepared for it to be so cruel.
All I want — all I’ve ever wanted since I was a budding bromeliad — is to be on a pizza.
But the minute a pineapple like me shows up, there are sneers on half of the faces in the crowd. They have no issue loudly decrying our presence in our presence, proudly declaring their bigotry, and shouting down those who disagree.
I’m sick and tired of people debating my right to exist in traditionally savory spaces.
Where I come from, the best most of us expect out of life is a job at the juice factory. Maybe get a cushy gig in a piña colada if you’re lucky.
That wasn’t for me. I’m not content to be crushed and canned on someone else’s terms, futilely dreaming of the day I’m set free from my tin prison only to end up filler in a Jell-o salad at a church potluck.
I know in my heart I’m worthy of being a top-tier topping, to rub elbows with the bell peppers and black olives of this world.
You may say “you’re not traditional.” Oh, like mozzarella and pepperoni? What makes them “traditional?” They’re just benefiting from generational privilege, of customer after customer never questioning their systemic orders.
You may say “fruit doesn’t belong on pizza.” What about tomatoes? They’re fruits. But I guess they’re acceptable to you because they’ve gone out of their way to assimilate to your specific pie-deolgy.
You may say “any authentic pizzeria wouldn’t even have pineapple.” Fine. I don’t need to be granted legitimacy by the pizza elites, by the glutinous gatekeepers that seek to stifle topping diversity and to police what, let’s be honest, should be a private decision between a diner and their pizzaiolo.
Or maybe you just say “well, I know some people like pineapple but it’s just not for me.” You’re right. I am not for you. But I’m not against you, either.
All I ask is that you not be against me.
I’m a humble, farm-raised fruit from rural Oahu, half a world away from Naples or Brooklyn, trying to make it on one of the most beloved and contentious dishes on earth. I’ve had to work my way up against the odds, in the face of social media-fueled hatred and attacks from prominent naysayers like Gordon Ramsay and the president of Iceland.
But I’m still on the menu.
And I would be remiss not to acknowledge that I’m here because I’m standing on the shoulders of giants. I thank cheeseburgers. I thank barbecue chicken. And I especially thank Canadian bacon — another unlikely outsider — for selflessly reaching down and pulling me up the ladder with them. It’s because they paved the way that I can confidently say…
I’m pineapple. I’m a pizza topping. Get used to it.