Who’s for cheese and pineapple?
Certain foods are guaranteed to evoke a particular place and time, and the cheese and pineapple hedgehog, a buffet staple of the late 60s and 70s is one such dish. I love the fact that when I ring an Edinburgh caterer to see if they can help with our cheese and pineapple for Honey’s Happening there’s usually a knowing giggle on the other end of the line. Of course it has to be cheddar, in large chunks to stop the cheese splitting when pierced with the cocktail stick, and it has to be tinned pineapple – any attempt at 21st century updates such as fresh pineapple, manchego or vegan cheese is a fundamental act of disrespect to this lovely cheerful, proud-to-be-uncool dish. So I’m really thrilled that Ruth Campbell of Green Kilt, has stepped aside from her eco-vegan friendly brand to supply the real deal, both for the Royal Mile and in the show. I always assumed the hedgehog was a half grapefruit, which seems very small if you’re feeding a crowd, but apparently a half cabbage wrapped in foil does the trick just as well.
Every Edinburgh Fringe performer flyering on the Royal Mile faces the challenge of communicating the essence and appeal of their show in fewer than five seconds - the average time it takes for a member of the public to decide whether to linger and accept a flyer, or march past, doggedly gazing ahead. But I reckon the offer of a proper cheese and pineapple stick says more than a thousand words. It’s like a secret handshake between people who delight in the world of suburban parties, hostess trolleys and the Tijuana Sound of Brass.