Monday Meal Review: Solomon Islands

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httpv://youtu.be/wcHnIG-CdOw Ava's been saying something disturbing lately. If a toy breaks, she says "let's buy a new one." If fruit sits too long in the basket and gets mushy, she says "let's go to the grocery store." She says these things, even with a father who shows her how to build and repair her toys in the garage ... Even with a mother who teaches her how to make apple pies with bruised apples. Maybe she says it less than some children, but I'm still concerned, and I'm at a loss with … [Read more...]

Recipe: Green PawPaw Curry

Looking towards the Great Reef from Fenualoa, Reef Islands, Solomon Islands. Active volcano Tinakula across the waters. Photo by Pohopetch.

It's just as important to be frugal in times of plenty as it is in times of hardship. As my mom likes to say "Waste not, want not." In the Solomon Islands, when Papaya trees hang heavy with more fruit than locals know what to do with, they don't let it rot and fall to the ground. They don't let the monsoons sweep the fruit away, either. Oh, no. Instead, they make use of the papaya at every stage of growth... ripe or unripe... which is how PawPaw Curry makes its way onto the dinner … [Read more...]

Recipe: Cassava Pudding

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I secretly love it when a word like "pudding" takes on a whole new meaning than "the sweet chocolate goop  found in the refrigerator cases of American supermarkets" (although I do enjoy that sort of pudding as much as the next sugar crazed mom). I love surprises like this because they teach me not to take so much for granted. They remind me that there are people all over this beautiful world who have different ways of doing things. And, in case you didn't get the memo, different is a … [Read more...]

Menu: Solomon Islands

menu-solomon-islands

When wind, ice rain, and snow blast our home, I shut my eyes and escape to Solomon Islands for a little imagination vacation. It doesn't become real, though, until I try the food. What I find, more than anything else, is that the traditional food relies heavily on that which can grow on the islands. This is limited to staples like coconut, papaya, taro, sweet potatoes, and cassava. There would have been a time when 80% of these ingredients would have scared me off. Not because there's … [Read more...]

About the food of the Solomon Islands

Children outside Tuo school, Fenualoa, Reef Islands, Solomon Islands. Photo by Pohopetch.

This week's country meets the ocean with two faces. On one side are her cliffs, razor sharp and formidable  On the other are gentle slopes. The two are connected by a central spine of mountains. This is the Solomon Islands, a collection of islands to the northeast of Australia, just east of Papua New Guinea. In this tropical land, many houses are built on stilts and about 80% of islanders live in the boondocks. The Pacific Ocean is as much a valued friend, relied on for nourishment in the … [Read more...]

Monday Meal Review: Samoa

We are one family

There's a Samoan proverb which reads "Ua iloa i vaʻa lelea," or we are one family.  I love this proverb. I spent most of my topsy turvy childhood figuring out what love means. What family means. And then, one day, those grace-filled words dawned on me ... We are one family. The Samoans knew it all along. Blood bonds and geographic bonds are just the wonderful beginning. We can find love whenever and wherever we open our hearts. We are all one family. Sometimes it's a bit messy. … [Read more...]

Recipe: Samoan Steamed Spice Cake | Puligi

Puligi

When Samoans want to bite into the holidays, their kitchens fill with the warm scent of cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg. If you try to peer under the lid to see what's cookin', you'll more than likely get a full steam facial, so watch out. Within that foggy cloud of vapors, you'll find cocoa brown puligi, a steamed bundt cake made dark with the unusual addition of "burnt" sugar. The cake is traditionally steamed in an underground oven known as an imu, although many now steam it on the stovetop, or … [Read more...]

Recipe: Chocolate & Coconut Rice Pudding with Sweet Orange Peel | Koko Rice

koko-rice

I used to say I wasn't a chocolate girl but, as the year's go by, I'm realizing that it's really more about finding the right time to eat chocolate. After dinner? Certainly. At 3pm? I'm game. For lunch? Maybe. Midnight? Definitely. 3 am? No way. I'm sleeping for goodness sakes. But breakfast? Am I game for a chocolate breakfast? Let's just say it's an arrangement I'm willing to get out of bed for and I know of at least two other people who are as well. After all, who couldn't use … [Read more...]