Food…one of life’s greatest pleasures and also one of life’s necessities. We turn to food for nourishment, celebration, comfort and tradition. Whether we live to eat or eat to live, there is no question food is always on our minds, in our hearts and part of our memories.
Growing up, I spent many hours in the kitchen while my dad prepared his chicken jambalaya (a comforting stockpot full of flavorful rice), double chocolate walnut cookies and fluffy pancakes. I talked to him about my dreams while he always told me I could achieve anything I wanted in life I set my mind to, with a little determination and a lot of hard work.
On the nights dad went to bowling or aikido, mom and I would make fun food, mini pizzas out of english muffins. She’d lay out a bowl of tomato sauce and all the different toppings on the counter. Other nights, German foods were the highlight while tickling our funny bones with Laurel and Hardy, Monty Python and The Mary Tyler Moore Show. We’d make shrinky dinks, cook treats in my easy bake oven or sit at the table drawing colorful pictures to be made into plates. I attribute my quirky sense of humor and love of liverwurst to my mother.
Friday’s brought the weekend and dinner out at Ma-Chuns followed by a trip to the bookstore (1 book or 4 comics, my choice) and Farrell’s for a huge lollipop. Visits to grandma’s house meant senbei cookies, andagi and playing Kumbaya on her electric organ while she told me stories of raising her six children on the plantation.
In elementary school my friend Dani Girl and I got into trouble for stealing delicious starfruit from our neighbor’s yard while another neighbor, always gave us healthy Halloween treats of granola. In junior high school, my friend Carolyn and I ate shave ice with her brother Wally and his fiance in between trips pushing our bikes up the steep hills of Maui Meadows so we could experience the thrill of flying down at warp speed.
High school brought sleepovers and some of my favorite memories are enjoying homemade eggs benedict at my friend Jodie’s house the following morning. After school, we’d all head to McDonalds for McDLTs, quarter pounders or Big Macs then to someone’s house to dance to 80s videos. Ironically, days I actually worked at McDs in Kihei, I’d sneak next door to the Paradise fruit stand to indulge in the refreshing yogurt and fruit cup imagining I wasn’t actually wearing polyester pants and a hairnet but just enjoying a beautiful sunny day.
In college, my fondest memories are with my group of friends, Hoover, Clint, Drew, Carolyn, Lianne, Brenda, Roy and Dean during happy hour at Moose’s on University in Manoa. We’d enjoy buffalo wings, skins and $1.50 long island iced teas while laughing…constantly.
As an auditor out of college, I was assigned to go out of town on assignment from day one. For the first time in my life I began to experience the joys of dining while traveling. From hula pie in Kauai at Sharkey’s to all garlic all the time at the Stinking Rose in San Francisco.
My years at Prada meant frequent trips to Hong Kong and new eating adventures. Buffet dinners at the top of the Furama hotel enjoying the views of Hong Kong from the rotating restaurant while lounge singers belted out their versions of oldies but goodies. Breakfast at the Mandarin of glutinous rice, dim sum and mango guaranteed I would have trouble buttoning my pencil skirt on the last day of my trip. Multi course dinners with co-workers from Hong Kong, Taiwan, Australia, Thailand, Korea and Italy meant new friendships and my first bite of a 100 year old egg. Nights of shopping at Agnes B, Esprit, Miu Miu, Loccitane, Sogo and Shanghai Tang ended with delicious treats in the dessert shops of Causeway Bay.
My years with the ex-pupdaddy started off with sweet bread french toast at King’s Bakery while reading the life section of the paper and ended with trips to Napa to enjoy the best of American wine with delicious cuisine by well known chefs. In between, we celebrated each wedding anniversary with ono brunch at the Royal Hawaiian or Hanohano room.
Tennis after work and on the weekends was almost always followed by reminiscing about points and eating. Sanoya Ramen with Toby, Max and Noelle after a couple of hours on a weekend night playing doubles wherever we could find a court in the heart of Honolulu. Greek burgers and tomato bisque at the Kailua Racquet club with the best group of women, my Sunday exertennis group. Breakfast at the Pancake house in Kalihi or ramen sets in Manoa with the mixed doubles team, the Stingers.
My boyfriend came into my life and like my father, is a man who knows how to make a good meal. He puts his heart into cooking and makes the best hash browns, portuguese sausage omelets, chili and ribs. He’s always willing to try something new like salmon crepes and is the guy who will ask the waiter to find out the chef’s ingredients so he can make his own interpretation at home.
A recent girls’ trip was not only an affirmation to no longer neglect my female relationships as I had in the past but also to expand my culinary horizons with Cuban, English and South African food after hours of walking, shopping and laughing on the streets of New York.
My current life in food? I’m embracing the slow food movement and healthier eating. I’d like to experience everything Maui has to offer.