What is it about anime that can make mundane things seem so comfy? Riding the subway alone at night, doing laundry, lo-fi hip hop beats to study to: for every humdrum slice of life activity, there’s probably a very whimsical anime gif set on Tumblr for it.  And this goes double for preparing food. Yes, I’m aware I’ll never really taste it, but I’m positive that no real ramen will ever taste as good as 2D ramen looks. I recently came across one of such gif sets where on the surface, and thought Miyazaki, you madman, you’ve done it again.  But as I sat and watched it, I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was off. Then it hit me: they have no clue how to cut a pineapple.

I have to admit that Only Yesterday isn’t one of his works that I’m particularly familiar with (Ok, you caught me, I’ve only ever seen Princess Mononoke from start to finish…)- as in I didn’t know it existed before researching this.  And, before I get started, I do want to point out that in the context of the film, the characters all admit that none of them know how to cut a pineapple. In fact, some of them even chime in with things similar to what I’m about to say.  This post isn’t so much directed at them or Miyazaki, but to people on Tumblr who see this gif set out of context and don’t know any better. I don’t want to be mean about it, I just don’t want yall to hurt yourselves.

Ok, first things first: That’s a meat cleaver.  Those are specifically for hacking your way through bones. Not slicing through a pineapple.  A lot of cooks will say that the best knife for that (or any job…) is just a very sharp chef’s knife, but seeing as those can be hard to find in home and restaurant alike, I’ve found from personal experience that the best knife for cutting through the woody skin of a pineapple (as well as the rest of it, no need to dirty two knives for one job) is a serrated knife (or “bread knife,” think the ones with all the little sawblade-like teeth on the blade), used in long, sawing motions.

While that is ultimately the technique you’ll want to use to remove the core, they’ve skipped an important step.  See how the pineapple wedge is rocking back and forth? You have to cut the rest of the skin off first because: a.) It’s easier to do while it’s still whole and b.) you will have a flatter side on each wedge, giving you a little more stability for when you go to cut out the core.  Also, just be mindful of where you keep your thumb and fingers on your not-knife-holding hand, especially considering how small the section of core they’re cutting off is.

…I’ve already said everything I wanted to say about skinning the pineapple earlier, so I guess I’ll take a break from the internet criticism rantsona to point how how aesthetically pleasing the curvature of that cut is.  

This gif just feels wrong… but, technically, pressing straight down is the proper technique when using a meat cleaver (although you’ll probably want to put a little more force into it than that).  Again, sawing motions with a serrated knife, please.  

And there you have it! You can now cut up a pineapple better than an anime character.  

4 thoughts on “Fuck Off Anime, That’s Not How You Cut a Pineapple

  1. RJG says:

    I always thought your profile picture was a screaming pizza head but this new blog theme has revealed there is no screaming.

    1. Riley Johnson says:

      I have no pizza and I must scream

  2. Jay Kidd says:

    I know this is an old post, but I feel I have to say something anyway. That knife is an asian-style chef knife (also known as a “Chinese cleaver”). It’s much lighter and smaller than a European-style cleaver and is used for all the same tasks a European-style chef’s knife is used for.

    They are also not sharpened like either the Euro-style cleaver or chef’s knife which are sharpened at 20°; instead they are sharpened at 15° for a sharper blade. They’re very good knives and work wonders on pineapple!

    1. Riley Johnson says:

      Yes, since writing that piece I’ve had the chance to use such a knife myself. They sure can make quick work of a head of Napa cabbage! At one point, I considered going back and adding that correction, but figured this post was pretty much lost to time.

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