Slow Press – November 11, 2023

Slow Food Oʻahu will be leaving Eventbrite

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Savory to Sweet: Cooking with ʻUlu workshop

Jennifer Hee photo
Jennifer Hee, former chef of Juicy Brew, current teacher of Slow Food O’ahu’s ‘Ulu workshop

Date: Tuesday, November 28, 2023
Time: 5:30-7:30pm
Location: Juicy Brew, Kaimuki
Cost: $15
Limited to 12 participants

We invite slow foodies and aspiring sustainable chefs to come meet Jennifer Hee, who will demystify this fruit for Slow Food Oʻahu! Jennifer, former chef at Juicy Brew, endeavored to use ‘ulu as much as possible in her dishes. Jennifer will teach attendees how to process ʻulu and use the flesh in a variety of dishes.  On the menu for this class: vegan ʻulu chowder and cinnamon rolls. Enjoy some talk-story time with Jennifer to ask questions and learn more about the amazing ʻulu! This class is perfect for beginners.

Strolling through neighborhoods or cruising down the roads, you might notice the large green-yellow fruit of the breadfruit tree. In Hawaiʻi, the breadfruit, known as ʻulu, holds an important place in the food system as a native Hawaiian food crop. First settlers to Hawaiʻi took care to include ʻulu in their canoe, along with several other plants thought to be useful for life in their new home. The high complex carbohydrate, low cholesterol, low-fat ʻulu fruits grow prolifically on the trees and can be used in an array of dishes, savory or sweet. Yet, for many folks, this fruit is a mystery.

Second Success: Banana Festival 2023

“All the vendors were fantastic, and I loved the banana samples. My favorite was the Maoli. And the meatballs, I loved the [banana pork] meatballs.”

“It was fun seeing what designs I could make with different cuts of a banana stalk. I love my T-shirt!”

“The number one thing that comes to my mind is Koko Head Cafe’s pulled pork. The banana BBQ sauce was unbelievable.”

“The Banana Festival is such a fantastic event—especially featuring a local farmer!”

It was a festival of bananas; many varieties were on display.

There was a lot of happiness at the second annual Maiʻa Festival, hosted by Slow Food Oʻahu and Hawaiʻi Banana Source. Ka Mai‘a ‘Ho’olaule‘a took place Saturday, October 21, in Waimea Valley, and banana was king for the day, the subject of an educational talk, available for sampling raw, prepared/cooked in a multitude of ways, and used for printmaking. Some 600 participants sampled more than 13 varieties of bananas and had a chance to buy their favorites to eat or cook at home. Many also selected banana keiki from ten varieties, taking them to home church or school to plant and expand mai‘a biodiversity on Oʻahu.  A dozen booths had banana-inclusive foods, from sweet sparkling juice and banana lumpia ice cream to savory banana flower adobo, ulu-and-banana curry, and pasteles. Ono and pono!

Tasting Table
Banana sampling table and bananas ready for purchase
Banana Meatballs
“Banana pork” meatballs available for sampling

And there was creativity beyond cooking: Lauhala and banana fiber weaving, dyeing with the purple sap of the Fe’e banana, and printing on totes and t-shirts using cut banana stalks. It was a busy time at the Valley’s Pikake Pavilion. 

Lauhala and banana fiber weaving lessons and examples
Tote Printing
Printing on totes and t-shirts with banana stalks

There were a few lessons learned, too: The audio-visual system didn’t function outdoors for Gabe Sacher-Smith’s educational talk on bananas. Next year, we’ll be back in the Peacock Room, where the A/V is certain. The admissions line got slowed down by new-to-us technology and a number of volunteers who failed to appear. Our apologies to those who were disappointed or inconvenienced. We’re on it for 2024!

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