Jan 032018

Today is the birthday (1840) of Father Damien or Saint Damien of Molokai, SS.CC. or Saint Damien De Veuster (Dutch: Pater Damiaan or Heilige Damiaan van Molokai), born Jozef De Veuster, a Roman Catholic priest from Belgium and member of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, who won recognition for his ministry from 1873 to 1889 in the kingdom of Hawaiʻi to people with leprosy who were required to live under a government-sanctioned medical quarantine on the island of Molokaʻi on the Kalaupapa Peninsula. During this time, while he acted as a missionary to the people of Hawaii, he also cared for the patients himself and established leadership within the community to build houses, schools, roads, hospitals, and churches. He dressed residents’ ulcers, built a reservoir, made coffins, dug graves, shared pipes, and ate poi with his hands with lepers, providing both medical and emotional support. After 11 years of caring for the physical, spiritual, and emotional needs of those in the leper colony, Father Damien realized he had also contracted leprosy when he was scalded by hot water and felt no pain. He continued with his work despite the infection but finally succumbed to the disease on 15 April 1889.

I have not thought about Father Damien since my primary school days when his story was recounted in our reader. I don’t remember what year I read the story, but I am guessing that I was 10 or 11 years old, and the story deeply affected me at the time. I have always admired selfless devotion to a cause, especially when it involves risk to one’s own health and safety.

Father Damien was born Jozef (“Jef”) De Veuster, the youngest of seven children and fourth son of the Flemish corn merchant Joannes Franciscus (“Frans”) De Veuster and his wife Anne-Catherine (“Cato”) Wouters in the village of Tremelo in Flemish Brabant in rural Belgium. Growing up on a farm, it was assumed that he would eventually take over its management. Instead, he attended college in Braine-le-Comte, then entered the novitiate of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary in Leuven. He took the name of Brother Damianus (Damiaan in Dutch, Damien in French) in his first vows, presumably in honor of St Damian (https://www.bookofdaystales.com/cosmas-and-damian/ ) who by synchronicity was a doctor who gave his services to minister to the sick.

Following in the footsteps of his older sisters Eugénie and Pauline (who had become nuns) and older brother Auguste (Father Pamphile), Damien became a “Picpus” Brother (another name for members of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary) on 7 October 1860. His superiors thought that he was not a good candidate for the priesthood because he lacked education. However, he learned Latin from his brother, so his superiors relented and decided to allow him to become a priest. During his ecclesiastical studies, Damien prayed daily before a picture of St. Francis Xavier, patron of missionaries, to be sent on a mission. Three years later when Damien’s brother Father Pamphile could not travel to Hawaiʻi as a missionary because of illness, Damien was allowed to take his place.

On 9 March 1864, Damien landed at Honolulu Harbor on O’ahu. He was ordained into the priesthood on 21 May 1864, at what is now the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace, originally built by his religious order, the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. Today it serves as the Cathedral of the Bishop of Honolulu. In 1865 Father Damien was assigned to the Catholic Mission in North Kohala on the island of Hawaiʻi. While Father Damien was serving in several parishes on Oʻahu, the kingdom of Hawaiʻi was struggling with a labor shortage and a public health crisis. Many of the native Hawai’ians had high mortality rates due to the spread of such Eurasian infectious diseases as smallpox, cholera, influenza, and whooping cough, brought to the Hawai’ian Islands by foreign traders, sailors, and immigrants. Thousands of Hawaiians died of such diseases, because they had no acquired immunity.

It is believed that Chinese workers carried leprosy (later known as Hansen’s disease) to the islands in the 1830s and 1840s. At that time, leprosy was thought to be highly contagious and incurable. In later years, the medical community determined that roughly 95% of humans are immune to leprosy and, in the 20th century, developed effective treatments. In 1865, out of fear of the spread of leprosy, Hawai’ian king Kamehameha IV and the Hawai’ian Legislature passed the “Act to Prevent the Spread of Leprosy”. This law quarantined the lepers of Hawai’i, requiring the most serious cases to be moved to a settlement colony of Kalawao on the eastern end of the Kalaupapa peninsula on the island of Molokaʻi. Later the settlement of Kalaupapa was developed. Kalawao County, where the two villages are located, is separated from the rest of Molokaʻi by a steep mountain ridge. Even in the 21st century, the only land access is by a mule trail. From 1866 to 1969, a total of about 8,000 Hawaiians were sent to the Kalaupapa peninsula for medical quarantine.

The Royal Board of Health initially provided the quarantined people with food and other supplies, but it did not have the resources to offer proper health care. The kingdom of Hawaii had planned for the lepers to be able to care for themselves and grow their own crops, but, due to the effects of leprosy and the local environmental conditions of the peninsula, this plan was impractical. According to researcher Pennie Moblo, accounts about the colony from the 19th until well into the 20th century overstated its poor condition, adding to the colonial narrative of Europeans as saviors of the colony and the island. But most of the houses and other buildings were constructed and owned by the residents, even after the change of government and increased investment by the Territory of Hawaiʻi.  Meanwhile the narrative of the Catholic Encyclopedia (1911) what that, “Drunken and lewd conduct prevailed. The easy-going, good-natured people seemed wholly changed.” Such accounts fulfil contemporary European ideas about the Hawaiians rather than being an accurate record of conditions.

There is evidence that lay volunteers offered to help on the island, and that the Hawaiians would have preferred a native priest, if one had been available. While Bishop Louis Désiré Maigret, the vicar apostolic of the Honolulu diocese, believed that the lepers needed a Catholic priest to assist them, he realized that this assignment carried a  high risk of infection. He did not want to send anyone “in the name of obedience.” After much prayer, four priests volunteered to go, among them Father Damien. The bishop planned for the volunteers to take turns in rotation assisting the inhabitants.

On May 10, 1873, the first volunteer, Father Damien, arrived at the isolated settlement at Kalaupapa, where 816 lepers then lived, and was presented by Bishop Louis Maigret. At his arrival he spoke to the assembled lepers as “one who will be a father to you, and who loves you so much that he does not hesitate to become one of you; to live and die with you.” Damien worked with them to build a church and establish the parish of Saint Philomena. In addition to serving as a priest, he dressed residents’ ulcers, helped build a reservoir, homes and furniture, made coffins, and dug graves. Six months after his arrival at Kalawao, he wrote to his brother, Pamphile, in Europe: “I make myself a leper with the lepers to gain all to Jesus Christ.” It is said that Father Damien told the lepers that despite what the outside world thought of them, they were always precious in the eyes of God. Under the leadership of Father Damien, laws were more strongly enforced, working farms were more organized, and schools along with an education system were established.

Some historians believe that Father Damien was a catalyst for turning the community around. Under his leadership, basic laws were enforced, shacks were upgraded and improved as painted houses, working farms were organized, and schools were established. However, many such accounts completely overlook the roles of superintendents who were Hawaiian or part Hawaiian. William P. Ragsdale, who was part Hawaiian, served as an interpreter as well as in other government posts. After finding that he had contracted leprosy, he “gave himself up to the law”, and was appointed to serve as superintendent at Kalaupapa in 1873. He led it until his death in 1877. Father Damien succeeded him briefly as superintendent, but he gave that up after three months in February 1878 in favor of another appointee. His superiors did not want priests serving in government posts.

King David Kalākaua bestowed on Damien the honor of “Knight Commander of the Royal Order of Kalākaua.” When crown princess Lydia Liliʻuokalani visited the settlement to present the medal, she was reported as having been too distraught and heartbroken at the sight of the residents to read her speech, but she did subsequently share her experience, lauding Damien’s efforts. Consequently, Damien became internationally known in the United States and Europe. US Protestants raised large sums of money for his work and the Church of England sent food, medicine, clothing, and supplies to the settlement. It is believed that Damien never wore the royal medal, although it was placed by his side at his funeral.

Father Damien worked for 16 years in Hawaii providing comfort for the lepers of Kalaupapa. He prayed at the cemetery of the deceased, and comforted the dying at their bedsides. In December 1884 while preparing to bathe, Damien inadvertently put his foot into scalding water, causing his skin to blister. He felt nothing and realized he had contracted leprosy after 11 years of working in the colony. This was a common way for people to discover that they had been infected with leprosy. Residents said that Damien continued to work vigorously to build as many homes as he could and planned for the future of programs he had established.

In 1885, Masanao Goto, a Japanese leprologist, went to Honolulu and treated Damien. He believed that leprosy was caused by a diminution of the blood. His treatment consisted of nourishing food, moderate exercise, frequent friction to the benumbed parts, special ointments, and medical baths. The treatments did relieve some of the symptoms and were very popular with the Hawai’ian patients. Damien had faith in the treatments and said he wanted to be treated by no one but Goto, who eventually became good friends with Father Damien. Despite the illness slowing down his body, in his last years, Damien engaged in a flurry of activity. He tried to complete and advance as many projects as possible with his time remaining. While continuing to spread the Catholic faith and aid the lepers in their treatments, Damien completed several building projects and improved orphanages. Four volunteers arrived at Kalaupapa to help father Damien as he weakened: a Belgian priest, Louis Lambert Conrardy; a soldier, Joseph Dutton (an American Civil War veteran who left behind a marriage broken by alcoholism); a male nurse, James Sinnett from Chicago; and Mother Marianne Cope, who had been the head of the Franciscan-run St Joseph’s Hospital in Syracuse, New York. Conrardy took up pastoral duties; Cope organized a working hospital; Dutton attended to the construction and maintenance of the community’s buildings; and Sinnett nursed Damien in the last phases of illness.

With an arm in a sling, a foot in bandages, and his leg dragging, Damien knew death was near. He was bedridden on 23 March 1889, and on 30 March he made a general confession. Damien died of leprosy at 8:00 a.m. on 15 April 1889, aged 49. The next day, after Mass said by Father Moellers at St. Philomena’s, the whole settlement followed the funeral cortège to the cemetery. Damien was laid to rest under the same pandanus tree where he first slept upon his arrival on Molokaʻi.

In January 1936, at the request of King Leopold III of Belgium and the Belgian government, Damien’s body was returned to his native land in Belgium. It was transported aboard the Belgian ship Mercator. Damien was buried in Leuven, the historic university city close to the village where he was born. After Damien’s beatification in June 1995, the remains of his right hand were returned to Hawaii and re-interred in his original grave on Molokaʻi.

It’s not as hard as you might think to conjure up a dish to celebrate father Damien’s mission that is both Belgian and Hawai’ian. Belgian waffles, due to US influence, have become a standard breakfast feature in Hawai’i and are frequently given a Hawai’ian twist by topping them with coconut and pineapple instead of European fruits and berries. You don’t need much more in the way of a recipe than I have already given you.  There’s a recipe and video on making Belgian waffles here: https://www.bookofdaystales.com/corpus-christi/  Follow the recipe, but change things up with pineapple and coconut, or whatever tropical fruits appeal. Papaya and/or mango would work just fine.

Feb 142014



Today is the anniversary of the death of James Cook, English naval captain and explorer.  The details are not entirely clear.  He had been on good terms with indigenous Hawaiians for some time, and sailed off with their blessing. But he had to return because his foremast had broken. His return was apparently unwelcome.  One of his cutters was stolen.  As he had done in Tahiti he took a hostage in order to get the cutter back. He tried to take the Alii ‘Aimoku (ruler or king) — Kalaniʻōpuʻu. – who  was apparently willing to help by being a hostage.  But several of his subjects attacked Cook.  He was beaten savagely by a club from behind, then stabbed in the back 8 times.

The esteem which the islanders, nevertheless, held for Cook caused them to retain his body. Following their practice of the time, they prepared his body with funerary rituals usually reserved for the chiefs and highest elders of the society.  They carefully preserved his bones and returned them to his crew for a formal burial at sea.

All a bit grisly.  One of his shipmates wrote,  “He was a modest man, and rather bashful; of an agreeable lively conversation, sensible and intelligent. In temper he was somewhat hasty, but of a disposition the most friendly, benevolent and humane. His person was above six feet high: and, though a good looking man, he was plain both in dress and appearance. His face was full of expression: his nose extremely well shaped: his eyes which were small and of a brown cast, were quick and piercing; his eyebrows prominent, which gave his countenance altogether an air of austerity.”


My readers will appreciate the irony in not posting a recipe in honor of a man named Cook.

Small extra — “Captain Cook” is  rhyming slang in Australia for “look.”

Well, today is also St Valentine’s Day so eat some chocolate.



Jan 292014


On this date in 1891 Lili’uokalani (1838 – 1917), born Lydia Lili’u Loloku Walania Wewehi Kamaka’eha (commonly referred to as Lili’u), became the last monarch and only queen regnant of the Kingdom of Hawai’i. She was also known as Lydia Kamaka’eha Pākī, with the chosen royal name of Lili’uokalani, and her married name was Lydia K. Dominis. Lili’uokalani inherited the throne from her brother Kalakaua.

Lili’u was born on September 2, 1838 to the High Chiefess Analea Keohokalole and High Chief Caesar Kaluaiku Kapa’akea. In accordance with the Hawai?ian tradition of hanai, she was adopted at birth by Abner Pākī and his wife Laura Kania who were higher rank than her natural parents. Hanai is a difficult practice for Westerners to understand because it is based on a system of kinship entirely different from Western norms.  Traditionally kin relationships were highly fluid in Hawai’i and children could move between families with ease (even into adulthood).  Lili’u noted in her biography that hanai “is not easy to explain… to those alien to our national life, but it seems perfectly natural to us. As intelligible a reason as can be given is that this alliance by adoption cemented the ties of friendship between the chiefs.” Sometimes also, childless couples would be given children for adoption from families with an abundance.  Perhaps one way to think about it was that there was a general sense of kinship among all families, so it was not terribly important where any particular child lived. The custom of hanai was strongly condemned by the missionaries. They couldn’t understand the looseness of natural family ties. They could not get beyond their concept of the “immediate family” or nuclear family. There weren’t any anthropologists around at the time to help them out.

The Premier Elizabeth Kīnaʻu had developed an eye infection at the time of Lili’u’s birth. She gave her the names Lili’u (smarting), Loloku (tearful), Walania (a burning pain), and Kamaka’eha (sore eyes). Lili’u’s brother changed it when he named her Crown Princess, calling her Lili’uokalani, “the smarting of the royal ones.”

Lili’u received her education at the Chiefs’ Children’s School (later known as the Royal School), and became fluent in English. She attended the school with her two older brothers James Kaliokalani and David Kalākaua,. On September 16, 1862, Lili’u married John Owen Dominis, who became Governor of O?ahu and Maui. Her marriage to Dominis was an unhappy match. He was unfaithful to her and had many affairs, a fact that family friend and royal physician Georges Phillipe Trousseau tried to hide from her. But in 1882 Dr. Trousseau had to inform her that one of her household retainers was pregnant with her husband’s son. Lili’u’s first reaction was to attempt to claim the child as her own, putting him in line to the throne, to spare her husband the embarrassment. She understood this was illegal and would undermine the integrity of the monarchy, but she wanted to protect her husband. Although Lili’u’s named successor was her niece Princess Ka’iulani (1875–99), Ka’iulani predeceased her. Lili’uokalani had three hānai children: Lydia Ka’onohiponiponiokalani Aholo; Kaiponohea ‘Ae’a, the son of a retainer; and John Aimoku Dominis, her husband’s illegitimate son.

In 1874, Lunalilo, who was elected to succeed Kamehameha V to the Hawai’ian throne, died and left no heir to succeed to the throne. In the election that followed, Lili’u’s brother, David Kalakaua, ran against Emma, the widowed Queen of Kamehameha IV. Lili?uokalani sided with her family on the issue and when her brother was declared king, bitterness developed between Emma and the Kalakaua family. Upon accession, Kal?kaua gave royal titles and styles to his surviving siblings, his sisters, Princess Lili?u and Princess Likelike, and his brother William Pitt Leleiohoku, making him Crown Prince and heir to the Hawai’ian throne as Kalakaua had no children of his own. Leleiohoku died in 1877, leaving no one to succeed him. Hawai?i did not follow European monarchies in setting a line of succession; heirs had to be lawfully begotten or chosen and approved by the legislature. Leleiohoku’s hānai mother Princess Ruth Ke’elikalani demanded that she be named heir as successor to her son’s right, but Kalakaua wanted to keep the throne within his own family and chose from his two remaining sisters. At noon on April 10, 1877, the sounds of the cannons were heard announcing Lili’u as the newly designated heir apparent to the throne of Hawai’i. From that point on, she was referred to as “Crown Princess” with the name Lili’uokalani, given to her by her brother, who thought her birth name was not regal enough for her future role as queen of Hawai’i. One of her first acts as Crown Princess was to tour the island of O’ahu with her husband, sister, and brother-in-law.


In April 1887, Kalakaua sent a delegation to attend the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria in London. While on the trip, she learned of the Bayonet Constitution that Kalakaua had been forced, under the threat of death, to sign. She was so upset that she canceled a tour of the rest of Europe and returned to Hawai’i at once. The Bayonet Constitution was a constitutional monarchy, somewhat modeled on Western examples, to replace the traditional absolute monarchy by US and European business interests who wanted greater influence. “Bayonet” refers to the fact that Kalakaua was forced to sign at bayonet point.

Lili’uokalani inherited the throne from her brother Kalakaua on January 29, 1891. Shortly after ascending the throne she received petitions from her people through the two major political parties of the time, Hui Kala’aina and the National Reform Party. Believing she had the support of her cabinet and that to ignore such a general request from her people would be against the popular will, she moved to abrogate the existing 1887 Bayonet Constitution, by drafting a new constitution that would restore the veto power to the monarchy and voting rights to economically disenfranchised native Hawai’ians and Asians. The effort to draft a new constitution never came to fruition, because of the U.S. invasion, occupation and overthrow of the Hawai’i monarchy and government.

Threatened by the queen’s proposed new constitution, U.S. and European businessmen and residents organized to depose Lili’uokalani, asserting that the queen had “virtually abdicated” by refusing to support the 1887 Constitution. Business interests within the kingdom were also upset about what they viewed as “poor governance” of the kingdom, and because of the U.S. removal of foreign tariffs on the sugar trade due to the McKinley Tariff. The tariff eliminated the favored status of Hawai’i on sugar guaranteed by the Reciprocity Treaty of 1875. North Americans and Europeans actively sought annexation to the United States so that their businesses might enjoy the same sugar bounties as domestic producers. In addition to these concerns, Lili’uokalani believed that American businessmen, like Charles R. Bishop, expressed an anxiety concerning a female head of state.

On January 14, 1893, a group composed of North Americans and Europeans formed a Committee of Safety seeking to overthrow the Hawai’ian Kingdom, depose the Queen, and seek annexation to the United States. As the coup d’état was unfolding on January 17 the Committee of Safety expressed concern for the safety and property of American citizens. In response, United States Government Minister John L. Stevens summoned a company of US Marines from the USS Boston and two companies of U.S. Navy sailors to take up positions at the U.S. Legation, Consulate, and Arion Hall. On the afternoon of January 16, 1893, 162 sailors and U.S. Marines aboard the USS Boston in Honolulu Harbor came ashore under orders of neutrality. Historian William Russ has noted that the presence of these troops, ostensibly to enforce neutrality and prevent violence, effectively made it impossible for the monarchy to protect itself.


Lili’uokalani was deposed on January 17, 1893, and temporarily relinquished her throne to “the superior military forces of the United States”. She had hoped the United States, like Great Britain earlier in Hawai’ian history, would restore Hawai?i’s sovereignty to the rightful holder. Queen Lili’uokalani issued the following statement yielding her authority to the United States Government rather than to the Provisional Government:

 I, Lili’uokalani, by the Grace of God and under the constitution of the Hawai?ian Kingdom, Queen, do hereby solemnly protest against any and all acts done against myself and the constitutional government of the Hawai?ian Kingdom by certain persons claiming to have established a Provisional Government of and for this Kingdom. That I yield to the superior force of the United States of America, whose Minister Plenipotentiary, His Excellency John L Stevens, has caused United States troops to be landed at Honolulu and declared that he would support the said Provisional Government. Now, to avoid any collision of armed forces and perhaps loss of life, I do, under this protest, and impelled by said forces, yield my authority until such time as the Government of the United States shall, upon the facts being presented to it, undo the action of its representative and reinstate me in the authority which I claim as the constitutional sovereign of the Hawai?ian Islands.

— Queen Lili’uokalani, Jan 17, 1893

A provisional government, composed of European and U.S. businessmen, was then instituted until annexation with the United States could be achieved. On February 1, 1893, the US Minister (ambassador) to Hawai’i  proclaimed Hawai?i  a protectorate of the United States. The administration of Grover Cleveland commissioned the Blount Report, and based on its findings, concluded that the overthrow of Lili’uokalani was illegal, and that U.S. Minister Stevens and American military troops had acted inappropriately in support of those who carried out the overthrow. On November 16, 1893, Cleveland proposed to return the throne back to her if she granted amnesty to everyone responsible. She initially refused, and it was controversially reported that she said she would have them beheaded — she denied that accusation, but admitted that she intended them to suffer the punishment of banishment. With this development, then-President Grover Cleveland sent the issue to the United States Congress. She later changed her position on the issue of punishment for the conspirators, and on December 18, 1893 U.S. Minister Willis demanded her reinstatement by the Provisional Government. The Provisional Government refused. Congress responded to Cleveland’s referral with a U.S. Senate investigation that resulted in the Morgan Report on February 26, 1894. The Morgan Report found all parties (including Minister Stevens), with the exception of the queen, “not guilty” from any responsibility for the overthrow. The accuracy and impartiality of both the Blount and Morgan reports have been questioned by partisans on both sides of the historical debate over the events of 1893.

On July 4, 1894, the Republic of Hawai’i was proclaimed and Sanford B. Dole, one of the first people who originally called on the institution of the monarchy to be abolished, became President. The Republic of Hawai’i was recognized by the United States government as a protectorate, although Walter Q. Gresham, Cleveland’s Secretary of State, remained antagonistic towards the new government.

Lili’uokalani was arrested on January 16, 1895, several days after the failed 1895 Counter-Revolution in Hawai?i led by Robert William Wilcox, when firearms were found at the base of Diamond Head Crater. She denied any knowledge at her trial, defended by former attorney general Paul Neumann. She was sentenced to five years of hard labor in prison by a military tribunal and fined $5,000, but the sentence was commuted to imprisonment in an upstairs bedroom of ‘Iolani Palace, where she composed songs including The Queen’s Prayer (Ke Aloha o Ka Haku) and began work on her memoirs. During her imprisonment, she abdicated her throne in return for the release (and commutation of the death sentences) of her jailed supporters, including Minister Joseph Nawahi, Prince Kawananakoa, Robert Wilcox, and Prince Jonah Kuhio.

Following her release, she was placed under house arrest for a year and in 1896, the Republic of Hawai’i gave her a full pardon and restored her civil rights. She then made several trips to the United States to protest against the annexation by the United States and attended the inauguration of US President McKinley with a Republic of Hawai?i passport personally issued to “Lili’uokalani of Hawai’i” by President Dole.

In 1898, Hawai’i became an incorporated territory of the United States during the Spanish American War and took control of the 1,200,000 acres (4,900 km²) of land that formerly was held in trust by the monarchy and known as “Crown Land.” This later would become the source of the “Ceded Lands” issue in Hawai’i. In 1900, the US Congress passed the Hawai’i Organic Act establishing a government for the Territory of Hawai’i.

From 1905 to 1907, Lili’uokalani entered claims against the U.S. totaling $450,000 for property and other losses, claiming personal ownership of the crown lands, but was unsuccessful. The territorial legislature of Hawai’i finally voted her an annual pension of $4,000 and permitted her to receive the income from a sugar plantation of 6,000 acres (24 km²), which was the private property of her late brother before his election as king. In 1910, Lili’uokalani brought an unsuccessful lawsuit against the United States seeking compensation under the Fifth Amendment for the loss of the Hawai’ian crown land.

Lili’uokalani was also remembered for her support of Buddhist and Shinto priests in Hawai’i and became one of the first Native Hawai’i ans to attend a Vesak Day (Buddha’s Birthday) celebration of May 19, 1901 at the Honwangji mission. Her attendance in the celebration had helped Buddhism and Shintoism gain acceptance into Hawai’i’s society and prevented the possible banning of those two religions by the Territorial government. Her presence was also widely reported in Chinese and Japanese newspapers throughout the world and earned her the respect of many Japanese people both in Hawai’i and in Japan itself.


She lived in Washington Place until her death in 1917 due to complications from a stroke. She was 79. She received a state funeral due to her status as a former head of state. Upon her death, Lili?uokalani dictated in her will that all of her possessions and properties be sold and the money raised would go to the Queen Lili’uokalani Children’s Trust to help orphaned and indigent children. The Queen Lili’uokalani Trust Fund still exists today.

Lili’uokalani was an accomplished author and songwriter. Her book Hawai’i’s Story by Hawai’i’s Queen gave her view of the history of her country and her overthrow; she became the first Native Hawai’i an female author. Lili’uokalani was known for her musical talent. Lili?uokalani is said to have played guitar, piano, organ, ‘ukulele and zither. She also sang alto, performing Hawai’ian and English sacred and secular music. In her memoirs she wrote:

To compose was as natural to me as to breathe; and this gift of nature, never having been suffered to fall into disuse, remains a source of the greatest consolation to this day.[…] Hours of which it is not yet in place to speak, which I might have found long and lonely, passed quickly and cheerfully by, occupied and soothed by the expression of my thoughts in music.

Lili’uokalani helped preserve key elements of Hawai’i’s traditional poetics while mixing in Western harmonies brought by the missionaries. A compilation of her works, titled The Queen’s Songbook, was published in 1999 by the Lili’uokalani Trust.

Lili’uokalani was a very peaceful woman, and believed in a peaceful resistance. She used her musical compositions as a way to express her feelings for her people, her country, and what was happening in the political realm in Hawai’i. One example of the way her music reflected her political views is her translation of the Kumulipo, the Hawai’ian creation chant. While under house arrest, Lili’uokalani feared she would never leave the palace alive, so she translated the Kumulipo in hopes that the history and culture of her people would never be lost.

Another of her compositions was Aloha Oe, a song she had written previously and transcribed during her confinement. “Aloha Oe” or “Farewell to Thee,” became a very popular song. Originally written as a lovers’ good-bye, the song came to be regarded as a symbol of, and lament for, the loss of her country.

The Cuisine of Hawai’i is a fusion of many foods brought by immigrants to the Hawai?ian Islands, particularly of Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, Polynesian and Portuguese origins as well as from the U.S., including plant and animal food sources imported from around the world for agricultural use in Hawai’i.  The great staple is poi, mashed taro root.

The Hormel company’s canned meat product Spam has been highly popular in Hawai?i for decades. Hawai’ians are the second largest consumers of Spam in the world, right behind Guam. Originally brought to Hawai’i by American servicemen in their rations, Spam became an important source of protein for locals after fishing around the islands was prohibited during World War II. In 2005, Hawai’ians consumed more than five million cans of Spam.

Spam is used in local dishes in a variety of ways, most commonly fried and served with rice. For breakfast, fried eggs are often served with spam. Spam can also be wrapped in ti and roasted, skewered and deep fried, or stir-fried with cabbage. It is added to saimin or fried rice, mashed with tofu, or served with cold s?men or baked macaroni and cheese. It is also used in chutney for pupus, in sandwiches with mayonnaise, or baked with guava jelly. Spam musubi, a slice of fried Spam upon a bed of rice wrapped with a strip of nori, is a popular snack in Hawai?i which found its way on to island sushi menus in the 1980s.


Many local restaurants serve the immensely popular “plate lunch” (originally a cheap and quick worker’s lunch) featuring, two scoops of rice, some version of macaroni salad (often just macaroni and thin mayonnaise), and a variety of different toppings ranging from Loco Moco (a hamburger patty and 2 fried eggs), Japanese style tonkatsu, or the taditional lu’au favorite, kalua pig. I gave a recipe for kalua pig here, https://www.bookofdaystales.com/kamehameha-day-Hawai?i/.


Here is a common recipe for Hawai?ian macaroni salad.  Hawai?ian macaroni salad is usually made with pasta that is very soft but if you prefer you can cook it al dente as I do.  Also note that the onion is grated and not chopped.

Hawai’ian Macaroni Salad


1 lb elbow macaroni
½ cup apple cider vinegar
2 cups whole or 2% milk
2 cups mayonnaise, (Best Foods’ or Hellmann’s)
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 onion, peeled and grated
1 large carrot, peeled & grated
1 celery stalk, grated
salt and pepper


Cook the macaroni in a large pot of boiling salted water to the desired softness.

Drain and return to the pot. Add the cider vinegar and toss until absorbed. Let cool for 10 minutes.

Whisk together 1 ½ cups of the milk, 1 cup of the mayonnaise, the brown sugar, ½ tsp of salt and 2 tsps of freshly ground pepper.

Add the dressing to the macaroni, stir it in completely, and let the pasta cool to room temperature.

Add the remaining ½ cup milk and 1 cup of mayonnaise, along with the onion, carrot, and celery. Stir to combine, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Chill for at least one hour before serving.

Jun 112013


Kalua pig in imu

Today is Kamehameha Day in Hawaii, honoring King Kamehameha I – sometimes called “The Great” – who unified the Hawaiian Islands and established the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1810.  The year of his birth is unclear, but it was portended by a priest that a king would be born, destined to unite the Hawaiian Islands, when a great fire appeared in the sky.  Halley’s Comet, which was visible from Hawaii, appeared in 1758, so the general conjecture is that he was born soon after its appearance.  During his youth (and before) factions on the main island of Hawaii itself, and neighboring islands in the archipelago, were constantly at war for dominance, with succession to powerful positions constantly contested.  Trying to give you a summary of all these contests and Kamehameha’s role in various battles would be much like trying to untangle a knotted kite string, (not to mention the insane difficulty of remembering all the long names filled with vowels and apostrophes), so I will simplify it all by saying that he rose to prominence when his first cousin became head of a powerful region on Hawaii in 1782.  There was bitter rivalry between the two cousins, but with the support of five chiefs from the Kona region (four of whom were relatives, and one his teacher), Kamehameha defeated his cousin to take his place. As such he controlled the northern and western parts of the main island.  In wars in 1790 and 1791 he defeated the remaining chiefs of the main island and became the king.

Between 1795 and 1810 Kamehameha fought a series of naval and land battles against the other islands in the archipelago including Maui, Moloka?i, O?ahu, Kaua?i and Ni?ihau, the latter two proving stubbornly resistant.  It took Kamehameha 14 years to wear down these two islands, requiring him to build up a massive army and navy to accomplish the talk.  Having become king of the entire archipelago he took steps to ensure that on his death the kingdom would remain united.  As king, Kamehameha (full name as king — Kalani Pai?ea Wohi o Kaleikini Keali?ikui Kamehameha o ?Iolani i Kaiwikapu kaui Ka Liholiho K?nui?kea), took several steps to ensure that the islands remained a united realm even after his death. He unified the legal system and he used the products he collected in taxes to promote trade with Europe and the United States. He did not allow non-Hawaiians to own land, which ensured the islands’ independence even while many of the other islands of the Pacific succumbed to the colonial powers. In fact, the Kingdom of Hawai?i that Kamehameha established retained its independence, except for a five-month British occupation in 1843, until it was annexed by the United States in 1898. It was this legacy that earned Kamehameha the epithet Napoleona o P?k?pika (“Napoleon of the Pacific”).

Kamehameha is famous for instituting M?malahoe K?n?wai, the Law of the Splintered Paddle, which guaranteed the safety of all non-combatants during times of war.  Although he ended human sacrifice, Kamehameha was a devout follower of the Hawaiian religion and Hawaiian traditions (such as Lua, a form of martial arts). He believed so strongly in his religion and culture that he would execute his subjects for breaches of the strict rules called kapu (known elsewhere in Polynesia as tapu, that is, taboo).

Kamehameha Day, June 11, was first proclaimed by Kamehameha V in 1871 as a day to honor Kamehameha I who was his grandfather. Late 19th century celebrations of Kamehameha Day featured carnivals and fairs, foot races, horse races and velocipede races.  These days the festival is marked most especially by floral parades, and by draping various statues of Kamehameha with lei, plus, of course, festival foods.

Modern Hawaiian cuisine is a mix of various cultural influences including Polynesian, Asian, European, and North and South American. However, the classic festive dish of Hawaii is kalua pig, a whole animal roasted in a covered pit lined with hot volcanic rock (an imu). Most of us don’t usually have the time, space, or volcanic rock to accomplish this feat – not to mention the difficulty of rounding up 100 people to serve it to.  This is not to say you can’t do it.  I’ve not ever dug a pit, but I’ve certainly enjoyed spit roasting a whole pig on several occasions, and without doubt there is no comparison with other methods of cooking.  But you can get reasonably close.  Here is a recipe for oven roasted kalua pig adapted from Sam Choy. It should be served with baked sweet potatoes and poi (mashed taro root). You can get banana leaves at Asian or Latin markets, or substitute baking parchment.

Oven Roast Kalua Pig


5 lb (2.25 k) boneless pork roast
sea salt
3 banana leaves or cooking parchment sheets
½ (1.2 ml) teaspoon liquid smoke


Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).

Cut ¼ inch (.6 cm) deep slits 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart all over the pork roast. Rub 2 tablespoons (30 g) sea salt all over the pork.

Unfold a banana leaf on your work surface and place the pork roast on top of it. Fold up the leaf around the pork, enclosing it completely. Repeat wrapping the pork in the remaining 2 banana leaves.

Tie the package with kitchen string to secure, then wrap the roast tightly in heavy foil.  Double wrap if necessary to ensure that no steam can escape.

Place the pork in a roasting pan and add 4 cups of water to the pan. Check periodically and add more boiling water if the pan starts to run dry.

Roast the pork in the oven for 5 hours.

Unwrap the pork carefully (there will be scalding steam inside), and cool slightly.

Shred the pork by pulling it apart with two forks, and place the shreds in a large bowl.

Bring 2 cups (4.8 dl) of water and 2 teaspoons (10 g) of sea salt to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the liquid smoke.

Pour this mix over the pork and stir to blend.

Serves 8 to 10