Showing posts from January, 2008

Snickerdoodle Recipe

Here is a snickerdoodles recipe like the one we used to bridge the wide gaps across the lawns all around us:
from SNICKERDOODLES 2 eggs 2/3 cup oil 2 tsp. vanilla 3/4 cup sugar 2 cups flour, sifted 2 t. baking powder 1/2 tsp. salt 1 tsp cinnamon or 2 tsp grated lemon rind 1/2 cup sugar Heat oven to 400. Beat eggs with fork, stir in oil, vanilla and lemon rind (if using). Blend in 3/4 cup sugar until mixture thickens. Blend flour, baking powder, and salt; add to mixture. Roll into 1 inch balls. Mix 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon. Roll balls in sugar mixture. Place on baking sheet, criss cross with fork. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes. Remove immediately from baking sheet. Variations: You may omit cinnamon and use 2 tsp lemon rind in batter, roll in sugar and bake.
Put on your landlord's glass plates and abandon around the neighborhood.

Some Hawaiian Folklore: Legends and Ghost Stories for a Dark and Stormy Night

It's a cold dark blustery night and I'm all alone in my one room house out on the plain of Mauna Kea. Sounds like a good time for some ghost stories! First let me admit that I am a folklorist but that I haven't done any kind of rigorous collecting since I've been here. And frankly I'm sort of stymied-- I doubt that I could collect anything even if I wanted to. If I dare generalize, one of the more beautiful and subtle charactaristics of Hawaiian culture is its understatedness. Great slack-key masters defer to young doofuses, kupuna in church sit back and let the younger ones talk and talk and talk. You have to listen very carefully, for a very long time, and even then. Being taught is a priveledge, not a right. So that being said, here are a few glints and glimmers of Hawaiian ghosts that I've heard in the last couple of years:

The Wind Our young neighbor Pono is hanai-ed into the Hanohano family and lives with Auntie Val and her older son and his wife (Pono's biol…

kamaʻāina Discounts

The timeshare guy winked at all us poolside tourists and chuckled into his karaoke microphone--"Don't forget to ask for kamaʻāina discounts!"
For what?
"Local discounts" growled my husband.
The tourists were happy to hear about a sneaky way to "stick it to the man" in Hawaii, even though most of them probably immediately forgot how to pronounce the words and certainly no vendor would be hoodwinked by a sunburned tourist in white shorts and a new aloha shirt.
But still.
These discounts are in place to mediate some of the puffed-up prices, an apologetic shrug to locals for having to put up with the general ransacking of Hawaiian culture and landscape.
The discounts at hotels and shops and restaurants are the kind of gentle slacking of the rules and prices that folks will give their cousin, their auntie, their cousin's auntie, and her good friend-- but made official.
Tourists asking for it makes vendors check IDs and generally takes the friendly local sp…

Roy's Waikoloa Bar and Grill

Roy Yamaguchi, the master chef, and inventor of Hawaiian fusion cuisine, has a wonderful chain of restaurants.
His Cuisine
And we finally had the excuse and the couch-cushion funds to go.
We arrived at the King's Shops in Waikoloa right at opening time, and managed to get a table for the two of us and a highchair for our charming baby. We were right away served a white bowl of savory edamame in sesame oil and red sea salt. Who knew edamame could be so glamorous?
We endulged and got a couple of mock-tails: a creamy lilikoi "flow" and a bitingly refreshing lilikoi lemonade, with the obligatory sweet pinapple wedge and red cherry on top.
We got the dim sum appetizer, which is a beautiful canoe with pairs of lovely morsels: ribs, tangy poke (raw tuna) on a crisp wonton, chicken-long-rice spring rolls (I loved that these are wonderfully crisp and filled with delicous red chinese mystery pork) in a sweet chile sauce.
The mains were beautiful: two soft filets of swordfish for DH, an…



Our first week here I resolved to be a different person than I have ever been before-- I decided to be a friendly neighbor. We moved from a tiny 350 square foot dilapidated (actually condemned) apartment, and we could hear the floor boards creaking under our neighbors feet, and hear the hot oil sizzling in their woks. But, we knew nothing about them. We made guesses about their nationalities based on what language they shouted in. I'm pretty sure the people a few doors to our left with the three skinny kids and the dead-houseplant-turned ashtray were Russians. Or maybe hungarian? French?

In a city, you can afford to ignore your neighbors-- there are 30 million other people to be friends with. In Hawaii, it was different. In a small town you don't have the luxury of ignoring the people around you. They're all you have. It's not like the city where, oh well, Nope, in a small town, you irritate one family, that's like a third of the population b…

Church Going

So the first thing we did when we got to our new town was find a church. And we found it-- the same flavor, brand or whatever-you-wanna-call it as we have always belonged to. Our first day at church was familiar-- same songs, same formulas, same cast of characters: old ladies, staunch gentleman, a spattering of young families and surly teenagers. We were comfortable there but it seemed that the church wasn't comfortable with us. We stood out as the only malihini, and me especially as the only haole, in the whole congregation. About the first 3 or 4 months we went to the church, no one would talk to us, or even look at us. When we walked near groups of people chatting, conversations dried up. Attempts at small talk were deflating. We would not be deterred however, and decided to start small. I called to ask a nice-seeming couple over for dinner. I told the wife that we'd like to have them over some time. Her response was, "Why?" Eventually it got better. I elbowed my wa…


In April 2006, my husband moved to Hawaii to start working for the state. I stayed behind for a month and packed up our apartment in California and sent all of our earthly posessions off with a long-haired Israeli in an dubiously unmarked van. I crossed my fingers that our stuff would make it and not wind up abandoned in some industrial park.
My mother-in-law dropped me off at the airport with two overweight roller bags and overloaded backpacks and a guitar and a couple of armfuls of miscellany that hadn't made it into the moving containers. Everyone else in the Hawaii-bound ticket line was cheerful in optomistic shorts and colorful t-shirts-- well primed for their impending vacations and sunburns. A blond dreadlocked guy started chatting up my guitar-- "Is that a bari Uke? No--a mini-Martin?" He said that Puna is the place to go to party, and that he was staying with some friends down there for a couple of months, maybe longer, who knows?
On the plane I sat next to a guy…


Who moves to Hawaii? I've always wondered. People who move here seem to have devastatingly high expectations: leis, hula-girls, beaches. Like being on vacation every day!
Just googling "move to Hawaii" brings up a cascade of superlatives. "Make your dreams come true and move to Hawaii!"
odyssey to paradise
and on and on.
Just look at the copy from any of the resort home sales and you get glossy light-saturated beautiful young tanned families strolling in sarongs along the white sand beach, and big letters spelling "you're not visiting, you live here!" This could be your lean, glamorous life. See? No work worries, no nasty cold weather, everyone happy!
I suppose many people move here because it will be warm, they will be tanned all year, and in Hawaii it's supposed to be acceptable to wear loud clothes and drink Mai Tais at any time of day.

The Big Island is funny that way-- the malihini here are the white trash of t…