I was on my way back from the local Sally Ann with a couple of new old things when I happened upon a little shop called Canterbury Tales Bookstore. I paused and looked into the window. Rows of lovely old books. Had to go in.
I made a beeline for the cookbook section and started scanning the shelves for anything interesting. I made off with a grand old picture cookbook by the publishers of Life, with the most incredible photographs inside . . . but I digress. I also happened upon a stack of spiral bound community cookbooks which yielded a very cool collection from the employees of Outrigger Hotels Hawaii. In additon to the “won ton” of recipes, employees also contributed the cover art and all of the illustrations. Neat! (I know, I’m such a nerd.)
I love Pacific Island food. All those incredible flavours in one forkful, delicious ingredients (macadamias, citrus fruits, pineapple, coconut), a bounty of seafood recipes, what more could be asked? Stir fry is my go-to dish when I’m starting to feel guilty about eating too much cheese and cream. And Pupu? I remember the first time I experienced a pupu platter. I was in a kitschy tiki-style restaurant in the middle of the Bible Belt drinking about 8 kinds of liquor out of a coconut monkey when our waiter came by and placed a flaming volcano plate on a lazy susan. Our centerpiece was surrounded by meat skewered on sticks, golden crispy purses of cheesy crab, buttery shrimp toasts, teriyaki chicken wings, and of course egg rolls with dipping sauces for everything. Extravagant and indulgent, but so tasty.
Often, when I buy a new cookbook, there is one little thing that seals the deal. Sometimes it’s the layout or pretty pictures or the way the pages feel. Sometimes it’s the name of a recipe or the ingredients listed in the index. Aside from the play-on-words title and the cute illustrations, the deal-maker in this case was a brownie recipe written in dialectical Hawaiian.
Brah, dis tita’s brownies so ono dey brok da mout. Da Ultimat Brownies (‘dis is food, not wicked Hawaiian Wahines) says the recipe title, and it’s suggested that you stir the batter “until it’s smooth as the sound of ukulele’s strummin” which is pretty smooth. According to the recipe, it makes 3 dozen brownies “enough for 36 keikis, 22 aunties, 10 titas, or 1 moke.” That’s a lot of brownies for one moke.
Why This Cookbook Is Delicious:
- It has a unique personality and a sense of humour.
- The recipes are for yummy food that real people feed their families and friends.
- They have recipes for homemade cat food! Show your kitty some love.
- There’s a glossary! Butteryaki = Japanese for “grilling or broiling in butter.” Yum.