When I first read about the Marshall Islands, my mind immediately went to Lost, the epic television series that most people started watching almost a decade ago. We started watching it last month on Netflix. Please excuse me for being a little out of date, but in all honesty, thinking about these hundreds of tiny, tropical islands floating in the vast Pacific Ocean, I can’t help but think how easy it would be to get Lost there – hidden away forever.
Part of me desperately clings to the idea of a life filled with peace and solitude, where there is nothing to do but watch the tides come and go. I am comforted to know that, in some parts of the world – like the remote corners of the Marshall Islands, this is a reality.
Upon further investigation, it turns out there’s also a healthy tourism trade – if only among those rare people who celebrate and enjoy peace, snorkeling, and a total lack of timepieces. Sure, there’s a capital city with thousands of people who have their own version of “hustle and bustle,” but for the most part the Marshall Islands is stuck in a past I know I wish I could get to. A simpler time.
The food is typical of the pacific – there is a bounty of fresh fish, coconuts, pandan leaves, bananas, macadamia nuts (hello Sweet Macadamia Pie [Recipe]), cabbage, potatoes, and, of course, the mighty canned meats, a.k.a. Spam and corned beef. The Marshallese eat a great deal of preserved foods because of the difficulty of growing fresh foods on the islands.
A simple meal might consist of boiled potatoes, breadfruit, or pumpkin tossed with any combination of coconut milk, pandan leaves, or even fried bananas… with all the seafood you can eat. (i.e. Baked Papaya with Coconut Cream [Recipe] or Sweet Potatoes & Fried Bananas [Recipe])
Large feasts include roasting whole pigs, usually under the dirt and leaves – making for a slow roasted, tender-as-can-be meal.
One thing I didn’t expect to find was the interest in American foods, like coleslaw, doughnuts, hot dogs, pizza, and French fries – as well as foods from China, Japan, and Korea. Then there’s the interest in Indian food – something we’ve already seen with Fiji (when we made the homemade curry to serve on Curried Corned Beef). Epic.
Personally, I’m looking forward to daydreaming my way the Marshall Islands via stove top travel… and maybe getting lost there awhile.
P.S. If I made you fearful, rest assured. The Marshallese won’t let you get really lost.
Turns out, all they need are a few sticks to find their way home (see stick-based navigational map below).