Slow Food Oʻahu Annual Meeting – February 4, 2024
Eating Our Way to Ono & Pono
This year, we are pleased to introduce Jhana Young from Conservation International Hawaiʻi (CI Hawaiʻi) as our guest speaker. She was born and raised in Hawaiʻi and leads sustainable seafood initiatives in the islands, including the taʻape fish project and the Hawaiʻi Sustainable Seafood campaign. Jhana enjoys fishing, hunting, and cooking and is passionate about eating invasives as one of the solutions to addressing food security and ocean health in the islands. Jhana is also a Slow Food Oʻahu board member. She will share a few stories of her work at CI Hawaiʻi and with Slow Food Oʻahu that demonstrate the ways communities across Hawaiʻi are mobilizing to target invasive fish and wild pigs in the islands—and how we each can support this work.
Save the date, February 4, 2024, 3 PM. We’ll meet at Native Books in Chinatown, 1164 Nuʻuanu Avenue. Public parking is available in the underground City lot just off Beretania Street (near Smith Street).
Jhana will speak at 3 PM, followed by our traditional ono and pono Slow Food potluck. We will offer tastings of both wild pork and taʻape, also known as Tahitian snapper.
Our business meeting will start after you’ve helped yourself to a plate of tasty and local food. The meeting will focus on event ideas for 2024 and board elections. More information is available elsewhere in this newsletter on what kinds of skills could contribute to the growth and vigor of our local Slow Food convivium. Please check it out and send us your contact information if you think Slow Food work is your kuleana.
Join Us in Ono & Pono This Year!
We are working to reinvigorate our local chapter and could use some help! Our working board needs new ideas and new members. We’re looking for folks with enthusiasm and interest in creating and organizing events. Also, those with experience in writing grants. Other areas of interest are social media, member engagement, writing, design, and computer skills. We will also need to find a new board secretary, as our wonderful Tatiana Welch heads home to Switzerland this spring.
Board members contribute 5-10 hours per month, depending on their area of interest. There is one regular meeting per month. This year, we are planning a spring retreat to focus on our plans for the upcoming months.
Slow Food Oʻahu accomplished much in 2023, but we want to do more. We held our second annual banana festival; hosted workshops on pig butchery, ahi canning, ‘ulu cooking, and making limoncello; conducted Chinatown food tours; and organized several farm tours.
We should have our new and improved website up and running soon, thanks to Dorothy Foster and Joe Edmon. Sarah Burchard has been our able Instagram manager over the last year, bringing more consistency to our images and posts.
If you are passionate about Slow Food and have some time to work with us, please send a note of interest to our multitalented board member Monica Lee at email@example.com.
Eat Wild Pig
They’re everywhere! On Oʻahu and all the other islands, large feral pigs are roaming the public and private lands, rural and urban. They’re incredibly destructive—and they’re nutritious and delicious. According to the USDA, they also carry “at least 30 viral and bacterial diseases and nearly 40 parasites that can be transmitted to humans, pets, livestock, and other wildlife.”
Are they safe to eat? Perhaps you’ve been invited to a neighbor’s pig barbeque or been given a piece of meat to take home and cook…and you’ve wondered: Is this a good idea? The answer is: Yes, but….
There are two ways of getting in trouble with—sick from–feral pig meat. The first comes in the butchering and handling of fresh meat, which is best left to those who have the specific know-how. (Slow Food Oʻahu offers training. If interested, watch for an event announcement.) The second danger comes with cooking and eating, but that danger is extinguished when the meat is cooked to 160°F, verified with a meat thermometer. Cooking at this temperature eliminates the pathogens, most critically trichinosis (which can be present in commercial pork, too). Of course, as with all meat, it’s also important to separate fresh meat from cooked meat and wash hands and all cutting boards and utensils with hot, soapy water.
To dig more deeply into the danger of eating wild pig, a look at the Hawaiʻi Department of Health history found the only local incidents of trichinosis (per the report of the Centers for Disease Control) were in 1986 when seven people (of 21) became ill after eating wild pig given them by a hunting friend. Those who were sickened had either microwaved or fried the meat…but not ensured a temperature of 160°F. Not everyone required treatment, and all recovered.
Before you put wild pig on your menu, consider that feral pigs are lean—they work hard to eat and stay alive and are therefore a tougher meat than commercial hogs, so long, slow cooking is often best. Think: stew, ragu, soup, posole. The Pacific Food Guide, published by the UH’s Center for Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, recommends the meat can be “brined, dry-cured with salt, smoked, or frozen for long storage.”
Pigs (puaʻa ) were brought to Hawai‘i by early Polynesians. These were small animals thought to be related to Asiatic swine. Back then, pigs weren’t farmed or hunted; instead, integrated agriculture was practiced. With kalo and sweet potato as primary food crops, the puaʻa were nurtured in the family compound and appreciated as a valuable source of protein. Even puaʻa that roamed free in those days stayed close to the kauhale because the native forests did not host trees with large fruits nor earthworms and other such sustenance for them. Cook introduced the larger European pig and these interbred with the Polynesian pigs, resulting in the big animals familiar today. As fruiting trees such as mango and guava took root, puaʻa lost all traces of domestication. When lowland forests were converted to sugarcane and pineapple, the feral pigs moved to higher ground and learned the practices of uprooting that made them so destructive. Game hunting was introduced by Westerners in the early 1800s—for land management as well as sport. Today, hunting wild pigs is a valued local practice and an essential component in preserving native plants, birds, and overall forest habitat.
Eat wild pig, safely!
Laurie’s Puerco Asado
This Cuban dish can be made in a variety of ways. We like this recipe because of its simplicity—and excellent flavor. Note the prep time is short, but the cooking time can be up to 3 hours.
- 3 Tbs. oil
- 1 haunch or shoulder of wild pork (about 5 lbs.)
- 8 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 Tbs. salt
- 1 Tbs. dried oregano, crumbled
- 1 Tbs. ground cumin
- 1 cup fresh lime juice (about 6 limes)
- 3 cups water
- 6 Tbs. white or cider vinegar
Turn oven on to 350 °F. Get out a cast iron enamel Dutch oven with a lid. Put it on the stovetop at medium-high heat. Add and brown the meat. Remove the meat, and turn the heat to low. Add the garlic, oregano, and cumin to the oil and gently brown for a few minutes. Return the meat to the pot and add the rest of the ingredients. Put the lid on the Dutch oven and put the pot in the oven. After about 1-1/2 hours, check the pork. You want it so tender that it’s falling off the bone, which may take three hours. If you notice any drying out, add a little water. When done, take the meat off the bone and serve with any liquid left from cooking.
For a more Mediterranean flavor, Use olive oil, garlic, thyme, and a bottle of red wine (no lime juice or vinegar).
Wild Pig Workshop
Come learn how to butcher a pig! Slow Food Oʻahu held two very successful wild pig butchery workshops last year under the guidance of Jhana and Doug Young. Participants walked away, understanding the basics of field dressing, processing wild meat for home consumption, and more.
We will continue to conduct these workshops if there is sufficient interest. Please sign up with Jhana (details below) if interested in a future class.
The goal is to develop a list of interested folks who can be available to come to a private residence in Maunawili on relatively short notice. Once a pig is caught (i.e., snared or trapped), we will send out an email and text message informing everyone and will host a workshop for the first eight individuals on a first-come, first-served basis.
The two-hour workshop demonstrates wild pig butchery and best practices for preparing and cooking wild pig. The workshop fee is $75, and takeaways include a portion of meat for each participant to take home. The workshop has a minimum of four participants and a maximum of eight.
To add your name to the list, please email Jhana Young at firstname.lastname@example.org with 1) your name, 2) your phone number (for texting), and 3) your preference for any particular day of the week or if weekends work best. We anticipate holding the next workshop sometime in March or April, and it may take place on any day of the week. We appreciate your flexibility in advance!