Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Warning: 5-a-Day May Be Health Risk

Just before I start at the beginning, I must begin at the present, because something small but significant has occurred - involving a large piece of fruit - which has rendered me incapable of thinking back to a time before this small but significant occurrence with fruit, err, occurred.

I've always loved fresh pineapple. I've loved it so much that it never bothered me if it started to sting a little at the corners of my mouth after I ate it. Or if my tongue got a bit itchy. That was normal. It probably happened to everyone, and what was a little pain when it came to the lovely juicy tanginess?

So yesterday evening I was a little bored, what with The Australian working his UK hours as well as his Aussie ones, the children asleep, and the only programme on telly being 'Ladette to Lady'. (I still had it on, but in a kind of 'seen this; rubbish the first time' way, whereby you watch the entire show and then feel dirty and used at the number of minutes you've wasted but subconsciously agree to tune in same time next week.) 

'Ooh, we've got pineapple!' I said, happily diverted while the ladettes practised How Now Brown Cow, and went to the fridge. I cut myself a few slices and sat back down. 

Lovely juicy tanginess.

'I'll have a bit more of that,' I said, and felt fairly wholesome about all the fresh fruitiness. 

And then I had a bit more.

And a bit more.

And before I knew it I'd eaten half a pineapple. As I got to the end, my mouth started to tingle and I thought 'damnit, I've used the same knife The Australian used to cut the chilli earlier.' But I figured that my palate is pretty weathered and I'd be ok in a minute.

But the tingle turned to an itch, and the itch turned to a sting, and the sting spread all over my tongue and lips and down my throat until I was sitting there watching the latest ladette get booted while quietly contemplating whether this was how my life was going to end - a sudden tongue-swelling-throat-closing death and only a handful of pineapple skin shavings to show for it. (Admittedly, during the panic I did wonder if someone would publish my novel posthumously, and briefly considered writing a dedications page.)

I called The Australian in and tried to get across the severity of the pain while retaining some dignity about the fact that I'd consumed an insane amount of tropical fruit. He tried to douse me with water, and when that didn't work, milk. He asked me why I'd eaten so much - I said it was because I was bored, what with him leaving me all alone with only Ladette to Lady for company. A pint of milk later I felt the sting lessen. I decided to go to bed, sure that by morning I wouldn't feel like I'd swallowed a bunch of stinging nettles. Only I did. And I still do. And the responses I'm getting are not nearly sympathetic enough. I have these weird lumps all over the back of my tongue, which I think is about 15% bigger than it was before the fruit. I feel grossly punished for eating my 5-a-day all in one go, and a bit like I've lost a friend - I mean, obviously I can never eat pineapple again, and I really really liked it.

Hopefully by tomorrow I will be able to think about something else.

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Sarah said...

Oh, my poor little Em. I can understand the gods punishing you if you'd eaten, say, half a cow, or a pygmy goat curry or even a dog, but a pineapple? That does seem unfair. I hope you're feeling better.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you are alergic to pineapple? I do believe it happens.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you're allergic, what a shame! Fresh pineapple is lovely...

Leena said...

It does sound like you might be allergic, but I get similar symptoms - mouth itching, burning, and a raw palate - when I eat too much pineapple. When I eat less, nothing happens. And when it's cooked, even when I eat much, again nothing happens. But when I say 'much' - I have been known to eat a whole pineapple... and once I ate, er... two. Once I drank two bottles of pineapple juice and that was really bad. So I might just be found dead from pineapple one day.

Urmh. What was I meaning to say again? Oh, yes: best to avoid pineapple. Pernicious fruit.

Great to see you back, Emily.

Mum'sTheWord said...

I've never been allergic to anything before. Hmm, it's quite exciting. I feel all vulnerable, like a precious flower... Maybe not. But Leena, I am so very happy to know someone else who eats whole pineapples; even two whole pineapples! You are my hero.

MKay said...

I have also munched away at whole pinnapples, and as you said..... two giant ones. I don't suggest that much in one sitting but in all my pinnapple eating I have found that I have had a varity of reactions reguardless of how much I've eaten. Some batches of fruit seem to be more acidic than others. I remember once my mouth was completely destroyed after a quater while other times I don't feel any pain at all. It does sound like youre allergic if you were itchy but perhaps you can still have some of the less "spiky" varriety. I hope so at least. Great writting skills

Emily Gale said...

Hello and thank you, MKay. I do believe it's Australian pineapples I'm allergic to, as my mum recently visited and had a similar tingle (though she of course stopped eating at two bites...unlike her greedy offspring). Thanks for stopping by.