Aug 27, 2012

My Old Friends

Vintage Hawaiian Cookbooks
Click on photo to enlarge
I collect all kinds of cookbooks, new and old. The older ones are like "old friends" because they give me a glimpse into the past, the way people cooked years ago before celebrity chefs and the Food Channel. I like to think of it as a time when cooking meant all you had to concentrate on was preparing a delicious meal for your family, and perhaps a few close friends. The recipes were much simpler then, as life was. In those days it was more about family and less about making an impression on your guests. 

One of my favorite old cookbooks is from Hawaii, a 96 page book called "The New Wiki Wiki Kau Kau". Wiki Wiki means "quickly", and "Kau Kau"means "food" in Hawaiian, sort of like "30 Minute Meals" with Rachael Ray on the Food Network, except from a different era. This small book looks like it has been used many times, with worn corners and recipes marked with a pen so that the cook will remember to try it at a later date. It not only has recipes from long ago, but it tells the history of Hawaii, how to have a luau, make a lei, sew a muumuu, speak Hawaiian, and entertain simply. This collection of recipes were often very personal, with the names of the cooks, sometimes friends and sometimes family, in the title. Here are a few of my favorite recipes from my old friend "The New Wiki Wiki Kau Kau" cookbook, which was written by Totu Kay, and originally published by Mid-Pacific Press in 1952, I was only 8 then, helping my mother make ginger bread:

Poi Cocktail
2/3 cup milk
2 tablespoons strained poi
1 teaspoon powdered sugar
2 ounce jigger bourbon or brandy
Cracked ice

Combine all ingredients, except nutmeg, shake together in mixer. Strain and serve with a dash of nutmeg on top. Excellent for the morning after.

Bill Mullahey's Salted-Pepper Crabs
"While in Viet Nam at a Chinese restaurant, Bill, an "old hand" crab eater discovered this "new" way to do it. The crab legs and claws are cracked and then pan-fried in butter. The cracked and fried pieces are then placed on foil or a flat pan and liberally sprinkled with salt and pepper. Serve hot with a cold jug of beer or a light, white wine for the ladies. Lemon-water and a large napkin are a prerequisite."

Mahi-mahi Chowder   A meal in itself!
1 pound Mahi-mahi
2 large potatoes, cut in 1" cubes
1 large onion, chopped fine
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 cup milk or cream

Cook mahimahi in water to cover for 10 minutes. Cook potatoes and onion together in boiling salted water. Add 1 cup potato-onion water to cream of mushroom soup diluted with 1 cup milk and heat together. Add potatoes and onion. Add flaked fish and heat together under low flame for 5 minutes.

Haole Luau Pork Pie
11/2 pound pork tenderloin
Clove garlic
1 tablespoon bourbon
1 cup chopped onion
4 cups sliced apples
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sage
11/4 cups pork gravy
3 cups mashed sweet potatoes

Cut pork tenderloin into thin strips and soak in garlic, shoyu and bourbon for 30 minutes. Saute with onion until cooked. Remove from pan and make 11/4 cups gravy with juices from cooking. Combine apples with pork and onions, season with salt and sage. Place in a 2-quart casserole; cover with gravy and top with mashed sweet potatoes that have been seasoned with salt, pepper and butter. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Serves 8.

Taro Shoots  Straight from the Taro Patch!
Taro shoots

Cut taro shoots into 2-inch lengths and cook until tender in boiling salted water. Serve with butter.

Breadfruit with Coconut Sauce
Ripe breadfruit

Pull out stem and place in bowl set in pan with 1 inch of water in it. Bake at 380 degrees for one hour to one and one-half hours. When cooked remove from oven. Open, remove core and peel off skin. Cut into segments, sprinkle with salt and pepper and put on some butter. Pour hot coconut sauce over it and serve.

Coconut Sauce
1 coconut
Lemon juice
Drain milk from coconut and grate coconut meat. Heat milk and grated coconut in double boiler for thirty minutes. Squeeze through several thicknesses of cheesecloth.

Note: Check out this website with photos, the recipe is similar:

Malinini Poi   Banana Bread Pudding
2 cups stale bread crumbs (no crust)
2 cups scalded milk
1 mashed banana
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs slightly beaten

Soak bread crumbs in scalded milk and let cool. Add all other ingredients and bake in greased pudding dish for 1 hour at 325 degrees. When cool this is of a consistency that may be eaten with the fingers like poi.

Banana Nut Bread
This is an excellent recipe, and is so easy to make.

Banana Bread
Click on photo to enlarge
1 3/4 cups sifted flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons shortening
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs, unbeaten
1 cup mashed banana
1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used pecans, but macadamia nuts would be good also)
3 tablespoons milk

Sift flour, baking powder, soda and salt together, Cream sugar and shortening together, add eggs and beat well. Fold in bananas, nuts and flour mixture. Add milk. Pour into greased 8 by 4 by 3 inch loaf pan and bake for 1 hour at 350˚F. Makes 10 servings.

Sea Foam Cookies
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 pkg. grated coconut
1 teaspoons vanilla
Confectioner's sugar

Let butter and shortening stand until soft, then cream with sifted flour and sugar. Add vanilla and fold in grated coconut. Drop by teaspoonfuls on cooky sheet and bake at 300 degrees for 15 minutes or longer until cookies are softly browned. While still warm roll in confectioner's sugar.

Kulolo is a Hawaiian dessert made primarily with baked or steamed grated taro corms and either with grated coconut meat or coconut milk. Considered a pudding, kulolo has a solid consistency like fudge and is often served cut into squares. Its consistency is also described as chewy and lumpy similar to tapioca.

Traditional kulolo recipes call for wrapping the mixture in ti leaves and baking it in an imu (underground oven) for 6 to 8 hours. Modern recipes call for placing the mixture in a baking pan, covering it with aluminum foil, and baking in a standard oven for about 1-2 hours.

3 cups grated raw taro
1 cup fresh coconut, grated
1 cup coconut water (the liquid inside a coconut)
1 cup coconut milk
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

8-inch loaf pan
Heavy foil
2 tablespoons melted butter to grease the foil

Preheat oven to 400˚F. Line an 8-inch loaf pan with foil. Grease the foil with butter to prevent the pudding from sticking. Combine ingredients; mix well. Pour into prepared pan; cover with foil and bake 2 hours. Remove foil during last half hour of baking to allow the pudding to brown. Cool and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces. Makes 16 servings.

Coconut Bars
2/3 cups sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup flour
2 eggs, separated
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup grated coconut
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Sift sugar, flour, salt together, add eggs, one at a time. Fold in coconut and nuts. Pour into greased pan 8 inches square and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Cut at once into strips 11/3 inches wide and 22/3 inches long. When cool roll in confectioners sugar. Makes 18 bars.

Note: This book can still be purchased online. To see the first edition from 1954, visit this site:


Unknown said...

Hi Jim... I just love old cookbooks too... esp by Maili Yardley. You really get a glimpse of old Hawaii Nei... a much gentler and more gracious time. I compared the recipes from our old Molokai community cookbook circa 1950's and it was about hulihuli the venison, drying the fish, collecting the limu... Keep up the excellent posts.

Anonymous said...

I absolutely love your website.. Great colors & theme.
Did you develop this web site yourself? Please reply back
as I'm attempting to create my own personal blog and want to know where you got this from or what the theme is named. Appreciate it!
Visit my webpage : abraham maslow and carl rogers

Anonymous said...

Great info. Lucky me I came across your site by chance (stumbleupon).
I've book marked it for later!
Visit my blog abercrombie kids online coupons