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The Food of Paradise: Exploring Hawaii's Culinary Heritage (A Kolowalu Book) Paperback – April 1, 1996
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"Rich in unexpected insights, ironic turns of history and off-beat facts." John Thorne. Simple Cooking
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"The best book of its kind available. . . . Never pedantic, always entertaining. . . . Here is a book to savor."
More About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
More than a cookbook, Laudan has written well-researched histories of how various local foods have developed throughout the islands before each main and sub sections (The Plate Lunch, The Matter of Mochi, Sorting Out Sushi to name a few). And, she includes a brief explaination of the dish before each recipe.
I bought this book hoping to shed some light on "crack seed" and how to make it. Unfortunately, it appears that she was able to get only the more well known recipes due to the fact that the main ingredient (oriental flowering apricot) is not widely available.
This book is a good resource, if not for the recipes, then for the history of Hawaii's local food for both non-Hawaii and island cooks. One caveat: a recipe found in a cookbook is no more than a base on which to add/subtract/change ingredients as you see fit. There is no such thing as "The Recipe" for teriyaki sauce - recipes vary from home to home and island to island.
The presses are running hot with glossy books about Pacific Rim cuisine. Laudan says she has nothing against it, but she is interested in local food. The recipes that conclude each of the essays in this book include such fare as Okinawan pig's foot soup. You will not find anything with lilikoi-Maui onion-ginger salsa on top. (Lilikoi is the local term for passion fruit.)
For someone who had been in the islands only eight years (as a teacher of history of science at the University of Hawaii), she really knows her local grinds (but grinds, surprisingly, is not used anywhere in this book).
For Laudan, food is not just a way of keeping the body fueled. The way people east, their tendency to avoid strange foods, their willingness to make great efforts to maintain culinary traditions in new settings tell a big story.
In Hawaii, they tell a story of a creation of a successful multiethnic, multicultural society. She doesn't go as far as the historian Gavan Daws, who says, correctly, that Hawaii is the most successful multiethnic society on Earth, but she does note that in the islands, half of marriages are across ethnic or cultural boundaries.
Crossing food boundaries is just as significant, in her view. Local food is a meaningful development, the offspring of "a culinary Babel."
"There are few places in the world," writes Laudan, "where the creation of a cuisine is so transparently visible."
Well, yes, if you look, and this is where "The Food of Paradise" excels.Read more ›
University of Hawaii Press ~ 1996
296 pages, softcover
I must say that I was delightfully surprised when I received this book in the mail- I had expected just another Hawaiian cookbook, and that would have been great too. Instead, I found not only recipes that were not available, ad nauseum, in every other Hawaiian cookbook, as I do seem to have an over-abundance of these, due to my obsession with Hawaii, but I was happy to get a few history lessons, as well.
As many already know, besides the first Polynesian settlers to Hawaii, from the South Seas, Hawaii was settled by many diverse cultures. Certainly, the Asian influence is very heavy here: Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Filipino, and Southeast Asians. There is a big Portuguese and Azores influence too. Europeans came to conquer and subjugate, but most of their food culture was not so compatible with the climate. New World foods did do very well, and many of the common foods we associate with Hawaii actually were imported from the Americas, such as pineapple.
It seems that most Hawaiian residents are a mixed up combination of heritages and cultures, and they are very proud of that assimilation, and their food choices reflect that. The beloved comfort foods may have originated across the globe, but Hawaiians have reinvented them uniquely in their own way.
A few favorites that are now heritage dishes are Jook, a porridge soup, Musubi (see my SPAM review!), Saimin noodles (available even at McDonalds), Shave Ice, Malasada donuts, and Crack Seed, which even has its own store in Ala Moana mall.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
My great-grandparents arrived in Hawaii when it was an independent republic more than a century ago. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Wesley T. Kan
This is a good book, not just a good cookbook. Reading about the food of Hawaii, and the Hawaiian people was worth getting the book.Published on January 6, 2013 by Monkeygirl
Professor Laudan, who is primarilly a philosopher of the history of science, has produced an outstanding book on the origins and background to Polynesian food. Read morePublished on August 8, 2007 by Mr. Thomas Thatcher
2 (7oz) cans strawberry soda AND 1 can sweetened condensed milk AND 1 (7oz) can 7-up
Mix together and freeze for 3 hours. Whisk. Freeze again.
Reading this book brought memories of a childhood partially spent in Hawaii flooding back. Rachel Laudan definitely seems to cover a the broad array of unique goodies that can be... Read morePublished on August 11, 2000
This book is not just thoroughly researched, but is very entertainingly written. For those of us who have been eating Local Food for years, but never really inquiring why we love... Read morePublished on November 15, 1997 by email@example.com