Ono Food

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Ono Food

Aloha!

Spam musubi, courtesy of Flickr user bandita Spam Musubi

Food is an education in Hawaii. When I worked at the hotel, http://www.astonmauikaanapalivillas.com/, I got a good grasp of just how important food was to the locals. Every day from the time the front desk workers got to work, I could hear them discussing what they would eat for lunch. Who are we going to order lunch from? What are we going to have? Are we going to order as a group, or individually? Discussing food is a major component of life here: “And what did you eat last night?” they would ask each other. No one gets in the way of its enjoyment. Good food is known as “ono grinds.” (Not to be confused with Ono, the fish).

When we were building our house, we had a carpenter’s-helper named Edward. Edward was a short, stout guy from Canada who looked like a leprechaun, and he had a fun, dry sense of humor. Everyone has a story of how they got to Hawaii, and Edward’s story was that he had met a local girl, Lorna, online. Lorna was Filipino, and in due course he moved to Hawaii to be with her. Unfortunately, this meant that Edward gave up a very lucrative career as an engineer in Canada. (Love makes everyone stupid at some point.) And that was how we came to have his considerable talents for not much pay here in Maui.

Edward eventually married Lorna, and we went to their backyard wedding. After that, each morning Edward would show up here for work clutching his stomach, complaining of indigestion. Seems that his Canadian constitution was being subjected to Filipino food on a regular basis now. He described at length the “strange things they eat,” but what got to him the most was the night he visited some of her relatives and there was a goat tied to a tree in the yard…and the goat became dinner. Instead of referring to the ono (good) food in Hawaiian, Edward took to calling it “Oh, no!’ food. We still laugh about it to this day. And in true Maui style, Edward eventually moved back to his home in Canada…and Lorna was faced with the decision of whether or not to leave her family on Maui and follow him. This happens on a regular basis here. She did go, and the last I heard was that she was going to move back to Maui, whether Edward did or not. Some people bounce back and forth to Maui like ping-pong balls.

If the shortest path to love is through the stomach, what happens when the stomach recoils at the sight and smell of the food? Oh, no!

A hui hou (til next time). If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the Follow button on the Home Page.

Aloha, Jamaica

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