Alani

17 08 2018

Peeling an orange on a warm summer day.

Do you remember when you first learned to peel an orange? I do. I was with my Aunty Lois, and we sat down together on the steps of her back porch. When we ate it, juice ran down my arm. Funny, the things I recall.





Mid-summer abundance

22 07 2018

The large yellow/orange globe is a papaya from my garden. The birds planted the tree!

Taking time to marvel at the variety of fruit that I see in my kitchen—gifts from friends, strangers, a bird, and from the market. I am inspired to assemble a still life. Ever grateful for the abundance. Mahalo e Ke Akua.





Finding Hakka roots in food

8 07 2018

Cousin Millie organized a table of 10 for last night’s Tsung Tsin Association dinner celebrating Hakka Chinese culture.

Most of the time I am unconscious of my ethnicity. When I have to identify in that way I say Hawaiian. That I am.

An occasion like the Hakka dinner reminds me of my maternal roots. 

At Golden Palace Seafood Restaurant six of us were first cousins; our mothers were sisters. Eileen, accompanied by her daughter Marty, and Kwong Yen, who came with his lady Molly, are our eldest cousins—age 91! Audrey Helen, Nathan, Millie’s husband Peter and my hubby Pete filled the rest of the seats.

Molly was surprised and thought the dinner at the Golden Palace Seafood Restaurant would be among us 10 only, not part of a big party in the banquet room! We enjoyed a pretty good Hakka menu, wine that Millie brought, raffle prizes, and party favors. As always, Millie and Audrey Helen gave out additional gifts. Christmas in July! 

A bag full of goodies—tea samples and fruit confections

A brave woman attempted to teach us a Hakka song. We tried! It was a lovely tune.

Hakka song lyrics and translation

Both the lion and the dragon made their appearance and were well fed. As the eldest, Eileen got to take home the table centerpiece—a money tree plant!

Eileen (lower left) watches Marty photograph Nathan feeding the dragon . . .

. . . and the lion

While “a good time was had by all,” I couldn’t help noticing that this year’s turnout was smaller than last year’s, and that there were hardly any younger people present. We need to pass this experience to our kids, if only to cook and eat our traditional foods.

What foods did your ancestors eat?

~ Rebekah





Observing the moon phases

24 06 2018

Matching moon phases with calendar dates and making a journal entry

In my Hawaiian language class we are learning the names of the moon phases — a different name for each 24 hours as well as the hand signs. Kumu Keoua Nelsen challenged us to go outdoors and look at the moon. Last night in Kaaawa I observed its shape as gibbous or 3/4 full. I think it is Huna today. As I wrote in my journal, it is a “warm and windless morning. Light rain shower. 7” avocados on tree. Plenty papaya still green…”

Avocado fruit measures about 7” in diameter now. I anticipate it will be humongous by the usual harvest time in August.

 

Plenty papaya

~ Rebekah Luke





I ❤️New York

11 11 2017

I’m schlepping around New York City with a group led by Diamond Head Theatre’s John Rampage and Deena Dray to see Broadway musicals like “Hello, Dolly.”

Gosh, I love the lights of the big city. Anything you want you can get here, it seems. And the advice I’ve given myself is, relax, be selective as far as visitor attractions go, dress warmly for the 30-degeee F. November weather, and walk everywhere.

Yesterday, though, we took a private bus tour with the gang to become oriented. At nighttime we went to “Hello, Dolly.” That Bette Midler–what a star!

This morning Pete and I took a behind-the-scenes tour of NBC Studio at 30 Rockefeller Plaza. After a nap we’ll go over to the Museum on Modern Art across the street from our hotel, and tonight we take in “The Play that Goes Wrong.”

Here I post some images and impressions of the first 48 hours.

Painting at Remi Restaurant

Meringata con Crema e Frutti do Bosch Marinati Allard Salsa di Lamponi (a deconstructed macaroon from Remi restaurant)

Breakfast at Astro. That’s creamy yogurt.

St. Patrick’s Cathedral

Cathedral pipe organ

John Rampage of Diamond Head Theatre and Zora, our local NYC guide. She was good!

In the shop window is a model of Rockefeller Center built with LEGOs.

Smoothing the ice at the skating rink

Architecture

Building the platform for the gigantic Christmas tree

Mosaic

“Make Time For Joy” show with the famous Rockettes

Radio City Music Hall

LOVE sculpture. There is another one that spells HOPE.

Bus-window view of Central Park

Ad atop a yellow cab

Mike and Pete at the Flat Iron building

NYC street scene

Another street scene

Flat Iron building

Landscaping with cabbages

Brookfield Place

Brookfield Place stairs

Brookfield Place stairs, looking down

Looking out from in

Dessert sampler before the show

Me and Pete at the show. So wonderful!





Honolulu angel

4 10 2017

Blessed is she who feeds the homeless and the hungry. “She” is an island woman named Kiana.

Every Wednesday around half past noon, more or less, a group of adults gather outside of the Library of Hawaii main branch near the gate to Iolani Palace for what might be their only square meal of the week. They wait quietly and politely for Kiana to faithfully arrive in her car with a delicious buffet lunch.

Here, on Likelike street, is the quiet and peaceful stage of Feed the Street. People come, they eat, they go.

She opens the trunk and unloads a tablecloth first, then an attractive spread of a home cooked lunch, including soup. The meal is free to anyone in need.

Kiana arrives. Next to the bicycle racks she sets down tablecloths to receive a car trunk load of prepared casseroles and other dishes.

Amidst the unfortunate circumstances in our country today, this kind and humble compassionate gesture begins earlier in the week with donations of raw produce from farmers and others who have a surplus or who just are more fortunate and want to give.

I have known Kiana to travel by city bus to far places on the island to pick up ingredients. She prepares the food by herself because her small studio kitchen has no room for a sous chef. I think it gives her great joy to express her creativity in this way.

Each week she publicly extends her gratitude for her “Feed the Street” project on a Facebook group called “Too Much Balances Not Enough,” listing the donors and their contributions. That is where I first learned about this activity.

Today I wanted to see a part of Kiana’s world. I put together some small zip top bags of feminine hygiene products, that I learned are very appreciated in addition to food, and went down to Likelike street. Like clockwork, people slowly began to congregate–about 12 when I first arrived and building to 24 or 30 when I left.

Hungry folks wait politely for lunch. They have much respect for Kiana who provides the food for free. Iolani Palace and downtown Honolulu are in the background.

Later Kiana said, in all 70 showed up today. She reported the women liked my small contribution that also contained items like toothbrushes, travel soaps and hand lotion, and that the men were disappointed that there weren’t any condoms.

I know there are those who are wary of homeless people, and that to befriend them would be out of their comfort zone. They don’t feel safe. Indeed, reaching out can be a problem, and Feed the Street has experienced harassment. (Having a sheriff or a cop in the vicinity might be a good idea!)

It’s not so hard to reach out with kindness to make a stranger’s hard circumstances a little better, I found out. You can bet the homeless don’t always feel safe themselves, but you could tell they trust Kiana.

Kiana is a cheerful, woman warrior. Thank you, Kiana. I love you, angel.

Today’s spread is all vegan except for one dish that contains pork. Kiana told me she likes to prepare 14 different menu items.

Everything is nutritious and tastes as good as it looks.





Harvesting for Makahiki

28 09 2017

The urge to harvest food from the home garden tells me the Hawaiian Makahiki season soon will be upon us. When Makahiki starts, in early November this year, all feuding and all work in the fields end. The harvest is over, we remain friends, and it’s time to call on others and play—for four months!

Today I pulled out 7-1/2 pounds of ‘uala, or sweet potatoes, of various shapes and sizes from the semi-circular patch out front. At the same time I plucked and saved the edible tender sweet potato leaf shoots. I rinsed and dried the greens and reserved them for sandwiches and salads.

‘Uala (Sweet potato)

Adjacent to the ti leaf and panax hedge, the semi-circular bed of sweet potatoes is 85% harvested.

I pluck and use only the growing tip of the vine. Any other part of the vine is too tough and not as tasty, in my opinion.

I rinsed greens carefully under running water for some tasty crunch in a cheese sandwich.

I also gathered kou tree blossoms that fell from above to make a saffron- or ochre-colored dye bath.

Tubular flowers from a kou tree

What now? I prepared candied sweet potatoes and an uala leaf and tofu salad for dinner, and I reserved the kou flowers for later when I can organize a day of fabric dyeing and decorating with my artsy friends.

I roasted sweet potato chunks in the oven and baked them a second time with butter, a little salt, brown sugar, and rum to make them taste like Thanksgiving candied yams!

For this tofu salad, blanching the leaves and a vinaigrette dressing has darken the leaf color.

How about a Makahiki party soon to enjoy the bounty? There are lots more sweet potatoes!

“Lono i ka Makahiki!”








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