Slow Press – August 29. 2019

Celebrate the Moon Festival in September

The Moon or Mid-Autumn Festival has various legends surrounding its traditions. According to the story of Hou Yi and Chang’e, ten suns surrounded the earth that destroyed the crops. People suffered.  Hou Yi, a Chinese hero, crafted a bow to shoot down all of the suns except one with his arrows.

For saving mankind, the Queen of Heaven rewarded Hou Yi with an immortality potion. Hou Yi did not drink it because he wanted to stay with his wife, Chang’e. Hou Yi gave the immortality potion to his wife for safe keeping. One day, Chang’e drank the magical concoction as she was attacked by rebels. She became immortal, flying to the moon. People honor Chang’e with mooncakes and offerings of food for good fortune. 

Chinese Mooncakes

A rich thick filling usually made from red bean or lotus seed paste is surrounded by a thin (2–3 mm) crust and may contain yolks from salted duck eggs. Mooncakes are usually eaten in small wedges accompanied by tea.

Slow Food Tour and Lunch Celebrating the Moon Festival 

Sunday, September 8, 2019 from 9:30 AM to 1:00 PM (HST), Maunakea Street, Chinatown, Honolulu, HI 96813. Member: $60, Non-Member $70.
The tour is already sold out but you can put yourself on the waitlist.

Join us on our exciting Slow Food Chinatown Tour, at the time of the fall Moon (Harvest) Festival. Explore the history, culture, and food traditions of Honolulu’s Chinatown. Shop its markets to learn about seafood, fresh produce, and traditional foods. Visit bakeries, noodle factories, specialty shops, temples and historic sites. Sample local foods such as poke, roast pork, look fun noodles and tropical fruits.  Bring your shopping bags with you so you can buy fresh produce, noodles, manapua, and specialty products.

Following the 2-hour walking tour we will enjoy lunch together at one of Chinatown’s finest restaurants. The 5-course family-style Chinese menu will include traditional Moon Festival dishes such as roast pork, chicken, and Moon Cakes.  Meal cost is included in the tour price. Please alert us in advance of any food restrictions.Meeting location and parking suggestions will be emailed to ticket-holders 48 hours before the tour.

Please note: We keep this tour size limited to 8 to insure an intimate experience and avoid blocking already crowded sidewalks and markets, but we also need to set a minimum of 5 participants for this event in order to assure that our volunteer tour leaders’ efforts are used to good advantage.  If we don’t fill the minimum, we will offer full refunds and alert ticket holders to other upcoming tours.  Also consider a private tour for your family or group!  

Thanks for your understanding.
We hope you can make it!
Cheers, Slow Food O’ahu Chinatown Tour

The tour is already sold out but you can put yourself on the waitlist.

Monthly Foraging with Nat and Slow Food Oahu 

September 15, 2019 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Member: $15, Non-Member, $20

Forage with Nat Bletter at the Hawaii Nature Center!  By popular request, Slow Food Oahu is offering monthly foraging for the really slow foodies out there!  Foraging tours will be held at different locations month to month for variety. Even if you’ve done this tour before, please join us again.

Nature provides seasonal treats to enjoy. Join Slow Food Oahu once again for monthly foraging adventures led by Dr. Nat Bletter, Flavormeister of Madre Chocolate.  Nat earned his Ph.D. in ethnobotany from City University of New York and is a past Slow Food Oahu delegate to Terra Madre. You’ll be in great hands as you learn about, and get to taste the incredible plant life – seeds, flowers, fruit, vines, etc. all growing wild in Makiki, and likely also growing in your backyard! 

As we learned from Sunny Savage, author of Wild Food Plants of Hawaii, expanding your diet by including wild plants helps add to your gut’s biodiversity–the heart of Slow Food.  At the end of the tour, Nat will toss foraging finds into a very wild plant salad to be enjoyed by all. Bring a fork and plate, and bags for gathering.  

Minimum of eight people are required with a maximum of twenty. Because of the nature of this event, refunds will only be given up until a week before the date of foraging tour.

Be sure to wear sun, and/or rain protection and bring water.  

*Slow Food O’ahu encourages our participants to come with an open mind and an appetite for learning (and eating). If you are not sure of the plant life, do not put it in your mouth.

Upcoming Event

Book Club 

Hippie Food: How Back-to-the-Landers, Longhairs, and Revolutionaries Changed the Way We Eat 

by Jonathan Kauffman 

Tuesday, October 29, 2019, 5:30 – 8:00 p.m.

Meet at da Shop
3565 Harding Avenue
Honolulu, HI 96816

Program begins at 5:30-6:30 p.m. silent reading, 6:30 – 7 p.m. socializing, 7-8 p.m. book discussion.

Potluck and BYOB.

Laurie Carlson will represent Slow Food Oahu

Review of book in the New York Times.

News Article 

from Honolulu Magazine July 17, 2019 by Martha Cheng

This Man Runs a Banana Library on a Farm in Waialua

50 Shades of Yellow: This Man Runs a Banana Library on a Farm in Waialua

Gabe Sachter-Smith Stalks Bananas Around the World and Builds a Banana Library of Hawaiian Cultivars.

By Martha Cheng   

Most people think of ‘the best banana’ as the one which tastes the best when the fruit is eaten ripe and raw,” says banana explorer, breeder and farmer Gabe Sachter-Smith. “But when I think of ‘the best,’ my thought is ‘for what purpose?’ Fruit for fresh eating? Fruit for smoothies? Frying? Fermenting? Fiber for making rope? Animal feed? Cut flowers? Medicine? Landscape foliage?” This particular banana is named Praying Hands—two “hands” of bananas fused, as if they were glued together. It’s a mutation of a Filipino cooking banana and in a half-ripe stage can be steamed and boiled, or eaten raw when ripe. 

Bananas don’t grow on trees. The plant is actually a giant herb. Gabe Sachter-Smith says he learned that fact at 14, when he was still a “normal middle-schooler” growing up in Colorado. “Trying to understand what that meant led me on a never-ending quest to learn more about bananas,” he says. “I was never particularly interested in eating the fruit—it was really the concept of what exactly was a ‘banana plant’?”

Sixteen years later, on a farm in Waialua, he maintains a banana library of Asian, African, Pacific and Hawaiian cultivars. The latter includes the finicky mai‘a manini, the banana peel and leaves a variegated light cream and green, as if painted with watercolors, and the iholena, its fruit tinged coral pink. His banana quest has also sent him around the world: to the Solomon Islands, where he learned of a slender banana with a fluffy texture, nicknamed the “Five Minute” banana for how quickly it cooks. There, he ventured to Makira, “the heart of the banana world,” where a woman had collected 80 different cultivars. In Uganda, which has the highest per capita consumption of bananas in the world, he kept a lookout for giant pythons hiding in collapsed termite mounds while documenting wild native and domesticated plants. Along the way, he also sipped banana beer, banana wine and banana juice. When we first speak, he is heading to Laos and China as the expert identifier on a banana expedition: “Sometimes when you are exploring the unknown, you really just don’t know what it is you are looking at,” he says.

This stalking of bananas is not just for curiosity’s sake. Sachter-Smith breeds new varieties hoping to establish plants that can stand up to diseases like banana bunchy-top virus, which has devastated Hawai‘i’s banana production since it was introduced 30 years ago.  

Sachter-Smith’s passion is simple and profound. “I just enjoy pursuing things that interest me,” he says. “Most people think of ‘the best banana’ as the one that tastes best to a human when the fruit is ripe and raw. I like to think each different type of banana has its own unique highest purpose, and it’s my calling to figure out what that is for each one, to know its story.”

He estimates that there are about 3,000 banana varieties in the world, “depending on how you measure it—which is more philosophical than scientific,” he says. “But I’ve accepted the true answer is unknowable, so that also means I will never stop learning about them because I want to try to know about them all.”

First Cookbook Club Gathering

Thank you to the cooks who attended the Cookbook Club.

Slow Food Oahu and da Shop partnered for its first Cookbook Club gathering–a discussion and potluck led by Emily Lau (da Shop), Molly Pierce (cook extraordinaire) and Kristin McAndrews (Slow Food Oahu) inspired by the book Six Seasons: A New Way With Vegetables, still available for purchase at da Shop. Twelve cooks brought a variety of delicious samples of McFadden’s innovative recipes. Lamb, tuna, pasta, eggplant, cauliflower, potato, corn, apple and tuna dishes as well as a delicious carrot pie were sampled by all. Cooks also brought homemade bread, guava mead and wine. While getting to know one another, we had a lovely conversation about McFadden’s philosophy food. Emily, Molly and I also appreciated that cooks brought their own silverware, serving spoons and dishes. We can’t wait for the next Cookbook Club meeting in November. Emily, Molly and I will keep you posted on the cookbook and the date

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