WRITTEN BY TAMAR MEYER PHOTOGRAPH BY CODY LEE MEYER
DRIED CORIANDER SEEDS are used to flavor specific dishes such as curries. The seeds are derived from the cilantro plant after going to flower then seed. Cilantro seeds when toasted, taste warm, aromatic, some-what sweet with a floral aroma and are known as the spice of coriander.
Green coriander seed-pods are a rare find at a farmers’ market. The fresh coriander seed-pods are best when eaten raw. Add them to salads or sprinkle them into a stir-fried dish. They can be used to create unique cocktail profiles by infusing them in simple syrup or a neutral spirit like vodka. You can also brine them similar to capers. The taste is citrus-like, minty and a little floral.
IT IS THE YEAR 1903 and a Matson Liner that departed from San Francisco four and a half days ago tucks itself into a dock at Aloha Tower. Streamers fly through the air and each passenger who departs with their trunks and hat boxes in tow is greeted with an “Aloha” and a fresh lei. 2,000 visitors come to Hawai‘i in this year and in this fashion. Many save their lei and as steamships pass by Diamond Head on their way back to the continent, visitors symbolically throw their lei into the sea in the hopes that they too will return to the shores of Hawai‘i.
In 2019, nearly 10.5 million tourists visited the islands. It is no longer possible to greet each one with fresh lei, which in its essence is the most iconic symbol of aloha. Some visitors pre-arrange a paid service of lei greeters at the airport to reenact the pomp. They yearn for “the aloha spirit” that represents Hawai‘i; some have traveled across the globe to experience it.
Saturation is the word which describes 10.5 million tourists in one year to remote islands of less than 6,500 square miles combined. If Hawai‘i’s economy depends on tourism and that tourism is in many ways dependent on the aloha spirit, what happens when our hospitality industry cannot keep up with the demand? The days of long-standing careers in hospitality have, by and large, transformed into a service industry of high turnover rates and workers forced to keep multiple jobs to provide for themselves and their families. There is a big difference between the two: hospitality involves personal interaction, service is merely performing duties.
In 2019, there were 216,000 workers in Hawai‘i’s tourism industry. They were working in restaurants, hotels, bars, as Waikiki Beach Boys, as traditional Polynesian dancers at lū‘au, as taxi drivers, in curio shops and car rentals agencies. We cannot continue to consider our workers in the vast industry of tourism as dispensable and neglect to pay them a living wage while also expecting them to emit aloha to our islands’ visitors.
This begs the question: has the heyday of aloha in Hawai‘i’s hospitality industry come and gone? Has the weight of our tourism economy become too heavy for the cultural and social intricacies of aloha to thrive? When stretched too thin, genuine aloha becomes nearly translucent, and ABC Store Hawaiian shirts and plastic lei takes its place.
Aloha cannot be directly translated. It means an abundance of things beyond “hello” and “goodbye.” It’s the Hawaiian word for love, compassion and kindness. It is a feeling. In hospitality, for one example, the aloha spirit is felt when the server at your favorite local joint knows your name (and your drink order) and takes the time to talk story table-side. It should be remembered that hospitality is not just for tourists to the islands, but for locals too. In the internet age where “local haunts” are flaunted across travel blogs and long lines appear at tucked away gems, how will the aloha prevail? Aloha is not compatible with lightning fast service and impersonal exchanges with unfamiliar faces.
Despite it all, aloha is alive and well across the islands of Hawai‘i. Men and women still gift each other lei, sometimes for no reason at all. Beers are clinked, meals are shared, beach pā‘ina carry on. Shakas get thrown, story gets talked, backyard mangoes are left on neighbors’ doorsteps. Those who understand the significance of aloha in Hawai‘i will continue to perpetuate its values.
But let us also take better care of our hospitality workers, considering that our state’s economy rests on their aching shoulders. Support your local lei maker and the mom-and-pop general stores, and please, tip your server. Let us be more patient with the tourists in their rental cars, give them directions when they look lost on the sidewalk and help them pronounce Hawaiian words when they struggle. That is spreading aloha. Let us say the word aloha more, to our friends and to strangers, and really mean it. We can be the aloha we wish to see in Hawai‘i’s hospitality industry.
WRITTEN BY REBECCA AMELIA ARÉCHIGA TABLE STYLED BY MELISSA NEWIRTH OF CLOTH AND GOODS PHOTOGRAPHY BY JANA DILLON
THE ONE PIECE OF FURNITURE THAT TRANSFORMS GENERATIONS
MY DAUGHTER HAS A DOLL HOUSE with a dining room. There are images of gold-framed artwork on the walls and a tasseled rug on the floor. It is quite formal, as dollhouses are concerned. It came with a rectangular dining table and four wooden, high-back chairs. Playing alongside her, I set up the table and chairs in the dining room. She moved the furniture into the kitchen—the only place she has ever eaten meals in her young life—and carried on.
I am part of Gen. Y (those born in 1981-1996), also known as the Millennials, and I grew up on the East Coast in a middle-class home with a formal dining room. A china cabinet in the corner displayed teacups, plates, and bowls (that I never remember being allowed to use) behind glass doors. The centerpiece of the room was the dining table, complete with a lace runner and a large vase of dusty, fake flowers. It was an outlier room of our house, sparse and breakable in a home otherwise warm and lived-in. We hosted Thanksgiving in the dining room, with the table’s leaf extended and a slew of mismatched chairs pulled up, but the other 364 days of the year, the room seemed exiled from the rest of the house.
Perhaps more than any other room in the home, the dining room has struggled with its identity over the years. The concept of separate eating areas originated with the Ancient Greeks and Romans. They (just the men, that is) would gather on 7-15 stone or wood “couches” arranged against the walls, each with its own little table. Reclined on their left elbows and propped up on pillows, the men would use their right hand to eat and drink. The center of the room was kept open for serving food, entertainment, or drinking games. The concept of these early dining rooms spread throughout the Mediterranean and persisted for over 1,000 years.
During the Middle Ages, only the upper echelons ate in dining rooms, and not every night—think: banquets in castles. The tables would have been long wooden boards set on top of supports similar to modern-day sawhorses with benches for seating. The most important people at the meal would have been seated in chairs upon a raised platform, which is where the term “the high table” derives from. Dishes of food were shared and eaten with fingers or with the “eating knives” some carried on their belts.
The Industrial Revolution brought with it more widely distributed wealth and larger homes with dining rooms began to appear in middle-class America. Just as the societal shifts of this period changed the way people ate dinner, they also changed the way they ate lunch. Prior to the Industrial Revolution, the mid-day meal was considered the most important of the day. It was served hot and called dinner. But as factory workers became less likely to go home for their mid-day meal, they packed leftovers or bread and meat in tin pails, and lunchrooms within factories emerged to take the at-home dining room’s place.
By the mid-19th century, dining rooms were a widespread middle-class symbol of respectability with the help of newly printed literature based on social etiquette and domestic economy. These books outlined how dining rooms should be used and furnished and further explicated that this was the women’s role within the household. It was at this time that gathering nightly for dinner was the mark of a traditionally valued family. With the belief that security and stability were vital and started at home, the Normal Rockwell-vision of a family gathering at the table became entrenched in society’s collective psyche.
The dawning of the 20th century brought with it a gradual shift toward the kitchen replacing the dining room as the main space for eating. Eating meals in the kitchen offered greater convenience and efficiency, albeit forfeiting the ritual and recreation of more formal dining—it was clear that Americans’ values were changing. By the 1950s and 60s, home designers literally broke down the wall and it became posh to merge dining and kitchen areas. In the ‘70s, we took it one step further and “open-concept” became a household phrase. These wall-less floor plans reached an apex in the 1990s, promising home-owning Generation X that cooking, socializing, parenting, and even cleaning would be made easier. Nearly all new construction incorporated some version of an open-concept floorplan.
By 2017, an Angie’s List survey showed that about two-thirds of homeowners who still had formal dining rooms were using them for other activities such as storage, crafting, or homework. Still others, about 13%, had completely scrapped the table and chairs and converted their dining room to a permanent guest room or home office. The Millenials were becoming new homeowners now. A generation blighted by massive student debt and many of us entering the labor force in the wake of the Great Recession, we were forced to delay major life purchases or limit what we could afford. The America that Gen. Y became adults in is not the same America that our parents, Baby Boomers or early Gen. X, bought their starter homes in.
Traditional, formal dining spaces are one of the most expensive rooms in the home to furnish. The cost of a large wood table and 8-10 wood chairs, wallpaper, china sets, and their accompanying cabinets, sideboards, linen, candles, and artwork does not come cheap. For a Millenial home buyer, it is hardly practical. In Hawaiʻi, where the average home’s price per square foot is $600, and the average formal dining room is 224 sq. ft., to consider paying $134,400 for a room in a house that is used but a handful of times a year, is unthinkable.
The Norman Rockwell vision of the family gathering around the dining room table, mother in an apron serving a meal that took all day to prepare, is no longer the status quo, nor even an accurate illustration of middle-class America. With many families unable to afford for one parent to stay home to cook the meal, set the table and serve, the image now seems almost pretentious.
The rituals that humans partake in revolving around food and mealtimes directly reflect societal values and generational needs. For Millenials, pre-pandemic, this equated to more flexible dinner options for day-to-day—a boom in food delivery services and at-home meal kits provided vast and international options. We were eating with roommates well into adulthood, or extended family, or alone. At restaurants, on floor cushions around the coffee table, at the kitchen island counter, in our car, while we watched our kids play sports. We were still breaking bread, often together, but trying not to get crumbs on the couch (a bit full-circle when we consider our Ancient Greek and Roman forefathers).
Enter: 2020. The interior designers could not have predicted it—without warning, around the globe, we became trapped inside our houses together and the lack of walls felt suddenly suffocating. Families were spending more time together than perhaps ever before. Home became the hub for the workday, school day, playtime, each and every meal, exercise, and leisure. We weren’t hosting dinner parties—if we were even having them before. We blew kisses through closed windows during the holidays, had Zoom birthday parties, socialized through text threads. Those who still had dining rooms rejoiced, for they had a room that offered one of this pandemic’s most coveted commodities: seclusion in a house full of people. But in turn, these dining-room-blessed homeowners did the only thing that made sense: they utilized their dining rooms as something more useful.
Our experiences inside our homes during COVID will undoubtedly shape the real estate market for generations. Many will never return to a traditional office setting. Many children are still attending school from home. Although things are no longer as dark as they were in 2020, potential buyers will be considering the “what if” factor when looking at properties. If we are ever in this situation again, would the home be able to accommodate? Connected living spaces and open floor plans aren’t going anywhere—they remain the best way to maximize square footage, improve traffic flow, increase access to shared light and for many who live in small spaces, they are the only option (because to have walls, you need space). But, with a new appreciation for outlets of privacy, the real estate market is highlighting homes with “hybrid rooms” or “flex space,” a bonus room in a home that could be used for any number of activities, including, when the occasion arises, formal dining.
After a very long season of trying to create more space in our finite homes and feeling crossed between wanting to gather and also yearning for solitude, we emerge irrefutably changed. Perhaps now more than ever before, we consider what space means for us and how we wish to fill it.
Friendships are rekindling, families are reuniting. Many who spent the bulk of this pandemic alone are reminiscing about the days of dinner parties and sitting around a table for an extended meal and the conversation, connection, and culture that comes along with it. COVID forced many of us to begin cooking for ourselves and each other again—for some, it was the highlight of the day. A recent survey found that over half of the Americans who began cooking more in the past year say they will continue this trend on the other side of the pandemic.
Perhaps it took families being forced to gather nightly again—around the dining room table, or the kitchen table, or the couch—to remind us of the value in eating together with intent. When eating together is the event, when we carve out meaningful time to de-stress, catch up and connect, there are quantifiable positive effects physically and psychologically, for adults and children alike. We perhaps found that to force formality was to restrict us, but that just the act of eating in the same space, phones down, eyes meeting, we felt healthier and happier. It is possible that after its relatively brief hiatus, a renaissance of gathering for the dinner bell is now occurring.
Our homes might no longer have formal dining rooms, or maybe they never did to begin with, and the heart of the home might now be our kitchen counter or even the couch. And maybe as a family, we’re eating take-out or left-overs or bowls of cereal instead of a hot, home-cooked meal, but that doesn’t change the value in convening around food.
The dining room in my daughter’s dollhouse is still empty but the doll family gathers for meals at the table in the kitchen. They chit-chat, they pass the wooden food around, they smile at one another. They seem very happy. [ eHI ]
The overall larger theme to our winter issue is Eat. That single three-letter word carries more weight and is one of the most important acts that we can do to sustain ourselves in addition to what type of food we eat.
My thoughts turn to the role of using my dining room table, especially the role it plays in our lives not just during the pandemic. In my opinion, my dining room table is the most important piece of furniture in my home aside from my bed.
During the past two years, it went from a gathering place for friends and family to a home office, a library, a studio for college projects, to a place to display all the food my neighbors shared – and that’s just the inside mahogany table. In Hawai‘i, many homes have open carports – and the real gatherings happen here in a covered but open space. My carport overlooked a taro patch across the road a make-shift garden, and outdoor real wood BBQ plus a picnic table that could seat up to 10 guests. Outdoor speakers, lau hala (leaves) mat, and café lights completed the space. This area of my home literally saved my life the past year.
So I started thinking and asking family and friends about their dining room tables. While most people never gave it a second thought at first, and then the intimate stories came and they are mostly emotional remembrances of holidays, birthdays, and a deeper understanding of how important this piece of furniture is and the role it plays supporting all of these memories.
Fast forward, to the late fall and I had to move from my current home. I knew my new space didn’t have enough room for my dining room table and was forced to find a new owner. As the empty truck arrived and the table was carefully loaded and strapped down I was overwhelmed with emotion and hit with a flood of wonderful memories.
So please pay attention to your dining room table. Clear it off and wipe it down. Buy some flowers or a new tablecloth and honor it as it holds much more than your next meal.
WRITTEN BY TAMAR MEYER PHOTOGRAPHY BY ANNA KIM RECIPES COURTESY OF CHEF LEE ANNE WONG OF PAPA‘AINA IN LAHAINA, MAUI
SOMEWHERE ON SUNDAY between early morning and late afternoon falls the time for brunch. Because after a late night out all we really want is to sleep in and wake up whenever it feels like we can honestly say that we had a great nights sleep.
There is something unique about waking up in Hawai‘i if you are kama‘aina or an in-love visitor. We always remember Hawai‘i and especially her food. Recently I had the opportunity to visit for 4 weeks; a week on each of the four main Hawaiian Islands known as Hawai‘i to locals, Maui, O‘ahu and Kaua‘i. Each of the islands had something very different to offer but I was going after coffee and really good food.
I specifically want to talk about brunch. Technically that super casual meal that falls between morning and afternoon on a Sunday. That meal you go to with a wrinkled white t-shirt, sweat pants and bed hair and an don’t care attitude.
I love to stay local when I travel, but nothing wrong with a fancy hotel either. On Maui we stayed in Historic Lahainatown at The Pioneer Inn. An establishment that has been a Maui fixture since 1901, Recently the restaurant and bar was taken over by one very talented hard-working chef, Lee Anne Wong in 2020. It is the oldest hotel in Lahaina and on the island of Maui and the oldest in continuous operation in the state of Hawaii. Oh my, if the walls could talk.
But brunch has been popping up and becoming more and more popular all over the US mainland and Hawaii is now just coming around to this idea and thankfully this is Chef Wong’s creative comfort zone. Think freshly roasted, brewed Hawaiian coffee, hand-made donuts and perfectly cooked eggs all wrapped up and topped by a bright cocktail.
Now brunch has some serious history behind it. The word brunch was first coined in the 1890’s. A writer pushed the words “breakfast” and “lunch” together. It was claimed to be “cheerful, social and indicting” along with “compelling talk”.
MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE
We woke late, rolled out of bed and took coffee to go choosing to walk around the Lahaina Harbor area. Fishing boats had already departed but the area was seedy in all the right ways to give character to our walk. Then we headed for brunch.
Chef Lee Anne Wong to many does not need any culinary introduction. From Top Chef alumni to working with the best chefs and food producers she moved to Hawaii in 1990 and opened the super popular Koko Head Café in Kaimuki, Oahu. Fast-forward 4 years she found her love-match with Lyle Cady, a successful graphic artist in his own right then came baby Rye. The entire family moved to Maui and Lee Anne struck a working relationship to transform the tired restaurant which has been renamed and reimagined as Papa’aina inside the historic Pioneer Inn.
There is no Chinese food on Maui to write home about, which is surprising on one hand with the local population made up of many Asian immigrants. Then you ask Lee Anne about this missing culinary craving and you can see her imagining a slew of older but knowledgeable Chinese aunties in the kitchen sitting on old wooden stools making handmade noodles and dumplings – it just doesn’t exist. Too labor intensive and with the current labor shortages, we get the picture loud and clear.
ABOUT THE FOOD
We begin brunch with a 100% local fruit plate. And Lee Anne is serious about local. She is often found at the farmers’ market close to her home on Saturday mornings. We are told by the best farmers that Lee Anne was here and gone before the sun came up. We counted over a dozen different fruits, described in detail in the photo.
Then we ordered Avocado Pancakes. We inhaled them. More please was running through our mind as a second cup of coffee was offered with perfect timing.
My partner wanted fresh fish since we were near the Lahaina Harbor. She was 100% right. It was better than the over saturated poke found all over the island on ever street corner and food truck. The smoked Kanpachi was refined, fresh and delicious.
At Koko Head Café the Chef creates a skillet dish, which we understand is a throw back to the way locales have breakfast. Papa’aina continued the tradition with Baked Eggs with Garlic Cream. So good we asked for the recipe.
Since my partner doesn’t eat eggs (can you imagine?) there are many other selections for the eggless personalities and she ordered Beef Noodle Soup. The broth was hot, rich and flavorful – the best soup we ate during our entire trip.
The atmosphere feels authentic and steeped in history. The food is bright and contemporary. Service is like visiting friends home which was caring, attentive and comfortable. [ eHI ]
Left to Right > Kim Brisson-Lutz – Brew Master at Maui Brewing Company, Kihei, HI > Heather Brisson-Lutz – Master Roaster/ Owner of Origins Coffee, Kihei HI > Qiana Di Bari – Owner of Sale Pepe Pizzeria e Cucina, Lahaina, HI > Pomai Wiegert – Go Farms, Hawai‘i > Melissa Padilla – Melissa Padilla Creative & Co., Hawai‘i > Kaili Scheer – Restaurant Marlow in Pukalani, HI and Olympia Etal, HI
WRITTEN BY REBECCA AMELIA ARÉCHIGA PHOTOGRAPHY BY MIEKO HORIKOSHI
WE FIRST START EATING them mashed out of a jar, then refuse to eat them even though our mothers insisted they’d help us see in the dark. Many years might have gone by when we ignored them altogether in cafeterias, let them grow cold alongside our chicken and rice at dinnertime. But the time has come to put the carrot on the center of our plates.
Often under-appreciated, the carrot is the “old soul” of the vegetable world. The wild carrot’s roots are grounded in Persia (regions of which are now Iran and Afghanistan). First bred for their aromatic leaves and seeds—some of their relatives, parsley, cilantro, and dill, are still cultivated for these purposes—over centuries, the vegetable was gradually refined out of its bitterness, increasing its sweetness and minimizing its original woody core. What we’re now familiar with, the “garden” carrot, has a single origin in Central Asia but it didn’t stay there.
Carrot seeds from 2000-3000 BC have been found in Switzerland and Southern Germany and the Romans ate a root vegetable called pastinaca in the 1st century AD which may have been a carrot or its sibling, the parsnip. The wild carrot was a white or ivory color. In the 10th century, the root of the carrot was purple and it disseminated along the Silk Road. In the 11th century, a Jewish scholar described them as red and yellow. There’s a theory that the orange carrot was first cultivated by the Dutch in the 17th century to honor the colors of the Dutch flag at the time as well as William of Orange but experts say that the modern predominant color first appeared in Spain and Germany in the 15th or 16th century.
The oldest surviving medical textbook in England is from the middle ages and references carrots and again and again as an herbal remedy. Time has not changed that. A nutritional powerhouse, carrots are fibrous, packed with beta carotene (your mother was right about seeing better in the dark), potassium, antioxidants, and have been linked to lowered cholesterol. Not to mention they’re cheap, accessible, and easily stored, it’s no wonder carrots are now cultivated and consumed worldwide.
“Carrots are an often overlooked vegetable,” says Maui-based private chef Hilary Barsby. “I love them because they can be used in a variety of different dishes. For example, a traditional marinara sauce that I learned from an Italian Chef friend calls for a few large carrots thrown into the pot with the sauce. The sweetness from the carrot helps to balance out the acidity of the tomato.”
And while she knows how to utilize the natural sweetness of carrots and their almost sweet potato-like texture when pureed in desserts and other sweet dishes, Chef Hilary also understands that different varieties of the modern carrot comprise of varying characteristics.
“[They’re] incredible versatile… Carrots can run the gamut in terms of sweetness. I find the white and lighter yellow carrots tend to be the sweetest, with the dark orange and purple varieties having a much more earthy flavor. The freshness of your carrots will also determine overall flavor, texture, and sweetness.”
No longer the bland and disregarded side dish, carrots have inched their way into a more central role in our modern cuisine. Chef Hilary even points out that in the trend of non-traditional carbs, carrot mash and carrot “noodles” have begun popping up on menus. The carrot’s roots are deep and if history is any indication of the future, their presentation may continue to change but carrots will be staying on our plates. [ eHI ]
There is plenty of talk about baking these days and if your home is anything like our office, well, we are interested in baking something that everyone can indulge. Thank you Jana McMahon for sharing your recipe! We invite you to make these for someone you love and just like Jana says “don’t tell them it has black beans as the main ingredient”. We invite you to watch her YouTube channel Jana Eats and take a front-row seat and watch her cook!
115oz Canorganic black beans, drained and rinsed well
⅓cupgluten-free quick oats
⅓cuporganic agave, maple syrup, or date syrup
¼cupcup organic coconut oil
2tbspvanilla extract or ½ vanilla bean seeds scraped from the pod
½tspteaspoon baking powder
1cupmini chocolate chips (use the allergy-free brand with no nuts, soy or dairy)
Preheat oven at 350F. Grease 8x 8” baking pan
In a blender or food processor, put all the ingredients except the chocolate chips. The batter needs to be well incorporated and ground up to a smooth consistency.
Scatter ½ of the chocolate chips on the bottom of the greased 8”×8” pan. Pour the batter on top of the chocolate chips. Scatter remaining chocolate chips over the top of the brownies.
Bake for 20 minutes. Let them cool for about 20 minutes before attempting to cut
TipWe used coconut cream instead of whipped cream to keep them dairy-free. Just chill the coconut cream overnight and add a touch of vanilla before you whip it up!MAKING THIS RECIPE?Share it with us on Instagram using #ediblehi so we can see what you’re cooking in your kitchen
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