“ONO”-LICIOUS!*: FOOD, FRIENDS, PESTO-FEST (*Ono= Hawaiian pidgin English for “tasty”)

We storytellers work up an appetite when we tell and one of our favorite past-times wherever we’re on tour is everyone’s favorite subject as well: Food! Though we are by no means “Foodies” we do take a strong interest in the Pan-Asian American blends of food found no where else but Hawaii! A typical breakfast or luncheon menu on the wall of a greasy spoon will list some of our island favorites: Korean kalbi or bulgogi (BBQ beef dishes), “Portagee” (Portugeuse) Sausage, Kimchee on the side and of course breakfast with two scoops of rice… and (yes) Spam.

What’s the story of Spam in paradise? Hawaiian locals consume enormous volumes of the “spare-animal-meats” product. Left over from decades of US military presence throughout the Asia-Pacific Region (Hawaii, Guam, Saipan, Philippines and Japan!), local folks have have acquired a fondness for the savory, re-shaped pork-based product made famous during WWII. So much so- that the island adoration has prompted it’s maker, Hormel to invent a variety of flavors. Here’s an example of what we found on the grocery shelves: Cheese Spam, Spicy Spam, Hickory Smoke Spam, Garlic Spam. And if that weren’t enough, for the weight watchers and lean-loving Spam fans there’s Turkey Spam, Lite Spam (lower in fat content), Low-Sodium Spam. The latter two being somewhat of a health diet oxymoron!

The those interested in a “Grow Your Own Food” Movement, the islands provide two of the most essential elements for the farmer: sunlight and water. Hosts Jeff and Dominique Gere mentioned that after throwing a fistful of seeds, whether it be avocado or papaya, within a few months you have an enormous plant delivering a bounty of fruit.

Check this out: Beheamoth Basil. These plants grew so verdantly within a few months that their stems have thickened to become woody stalks, producing 10 times the amount of leaves as a plant in SF, month after month. We literally had a pesto-fest!

Everywhere we go, Eth-Noh-Tec enjoys gathering artists, writers, and storytellers. Big thanks to our hosts and storytelling organizer Jeff & Dominique for opening up their home to us. Shown below is a gathering with Yas Ishida (Theater major at University of Hawaii), Karen Hackler Yamamoto (playwright/ storyteller) and our hosts. Other times we’d chat and chew over at our long-time performing artists friends Yuki Shiroma and Michael Harada (group: Monkey and the Waterfall Theater). Piles of Poke (raw fish with limu seaweed: Now THAT’S ONO-licious!)

One evening surprize was a cameo performance offered by several students of the University of Hawaii’s theater program fro young audiences. Yasu Ishida performed an autobiographical piece about his relationship with his father. The story used the metaphor of melting snow to symbolize the melting heart of his otherwise strict father. The performance culminated in a magic paper folding/ tearing trick that simulated falling snow. Another student performance was offered by Serina Dunham using Rakugo (traditional style Japanese storytelling) she told a classic Obake (ghost) story in with a modern rakugo twist. As these students were preparing for an upcoming storytelling event, they welcome the coaching and comments from us “old guys” (Jeff, Karen, Dominique and Eth-Noh-Tec). It’s so invigorating to see what the next generation is creating blending tradition in new and refreshing ways!

Hot weather and the demand for something sweet and cold summons the call of Shave Ice. Most Hawaiian locals have a favorite sweet stop for this “anytime” dessert. Connoisseurs of the icy treat swear their allegiance to the shop that they claim produces the smoothest ice shaved with the sharpest blade, packed high, and drizzled with the assorted tropical flavors (but not too much!)- “gotta be jus right!”. Our loyalty is with Waiola Shave Ice in Kaimuki district. Favorite flavors: Lychee and Lilikoi (passion fruit). Yummy on a hot day- but watch out for BRAIN FREEEEEEZE!

This article has 1 Comment

  1. Ah, how nice to see our basil made it into this blog! I think your storytelling is awesome, but when you decide to hang up those swirling costumes, you can concentrate on FOOD REVIEWER! Glad to have the many kitchen table conversations with yous.
    Jeff Gere

Leave a Reply