How you can Fake You’re in Hawaii Tonight
While your travel plans may be put on hold, you can pretend you’re somewhere new for the night. Home Around the World invites you to channel the spirit of a new place each week with recommendations on how to explore the culture from the comfort of your own home.
Beyond the palm trees and Mai Tais is the Hawaii that many tourists never get to know: islands with enduring traditions of myth and storytelling, home to endangered species, taro fields, and beaches where surfing doesn’t require a board and the smoky smell of kalua pig wafts by the night.
With a few easy-to-find items, you can discover Hawaii’s breathtaking biodiversity everywhere, enjoy the flavors and music of the archipelago, make fragrant floral lei, and virtually gather friends and family at your own table for an island-inspired Thanksgiving festival.
Take some liquid smoke and roast kalua pork
“The best way to conjure up Hawaii is to whip out the liquid smoke to palua a pig, set Spotify to search Ledward Kaapana’s slack-key guitar, ask your old friends to tell stories, and keep your hands busy “said Melanie Ide, the president and executive director of the Bishop Museum, Honolulu’s natural and cultural museum.
But first the pig. “There really is nothing easier or better than spending a long Thanksgiving weekend with your turkey,” said Ms. Ide. Her ingredients: pork butt or shoulder with skin and fat, rock salt (ideally alaea salt), and liquid smoke, which she said was available in grocery stores. “Pierce the meat with a fork, drizzle with liquid smoke, rub salt, wrap in foil and fry,” she said. If possible, use banana leaves instead of foil (or put the skin of a green banana in the frying pan) and cook at 300 degrees for several hours. Shred when done. (If you can’t get liquid smoke, a New York Times cooking recipe uses smoked paprika.)
Kalua pig can be enjoyed at any time of the day. For breakfast, Ms. Ide recommends Kalua Pig Benedict, garnished with spring onions. A pulled pork burrito for lunch. What about dinner? “Eat it straight with an extra pinch of Hawaiian salt, raw onion, and poi or fresh hot rice,” she said.
Island hopping, side by side
Hawaii “emerges as a damaged paradise – as a place of violent, magical beauty,” wrote the critic Michiko Kakutani of Susanna Moore’s early novels (“My Old Sweetheart”, “The Whiteness of Bones”). For a story of the archipelago Ms. Moore grew up in, consider “Paradise of the Pacific”.
Regarding childhood in Hawaii, Obama’s Dreams Of My Father: A Tale Of Race And Heredity takes readers to the islands of his youth and beyond. (An essay in The Times, “Want to Be Less Racist? Move to Hawaii,” and a follow-up, “Is Hawaii’s Racial Harmony A Myth?”, Exploring the Islands and Racial Identity.) “A Promised Land,” another memoir by Mr. Obama were released this month.
The islands have inspired generations of writers (including Mark Twain), although “one of the best ways to learn and think Hawaiian is to read a saying every day” from “‘Ellelo No’eau: Hawaiian Proverbs and Poetic Sayings,” Ms. said Ide. The book is also on Honolulu Magazine’s reflective list: “50 Essential Hawaiian Books You Should Read In Your Life.”
Become an armchair vulcanologist
Check out the calderas of volcanoes (safely) with webcams, curriculum materials, and science podcasts on the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park website. Along the way, meet locals like the Hawaiian hawksbill turtle and wild neen (goose) and listen to the morning choir.
Make a flower lei
Few things can improve your mood at home better than fresh flowers and something created by hand. In Hawaii, flower lei are often given at celebrations and, as the Hawaii Tourism Authority puts it, “viewed as status symbols when used in traditional ceremonies.” And of course, they’re also used to welcome people to Hawaii and say goodbye when they leave. To learn how to make your own, read “Hawaiian Lei Making: A Step-By-Step Guide” by Laurie Shimizu Ide (not related to Ms. Ide in the Bishop Museum) or try the Maui online instructions No Ka ʻOi Magazine. On YouTube, Kuana Torres Kahele, a musician and hula practitioner, shows you how to make a haku-style leu.
Stream a family vacation
Transport yourself to the Hawaiian coast with feel-good films. For families with young children, Walt Disney Pictures “ Lilo and Stitch, ” a Times Critic’s Pick in which a creature from another planet lands in Hawaii, is an ode to the family, or ohana, and a fun introduction to the islands. especially in combination with the documentaries “Wild Hawaii” from National Geographic (both on Disney Plus). Follow a descendant of Hawaiian royalty as he takes control of his country and grief in The Descendants, an Oscar-winning and yet another Times Critic’s pick. Or travel back to 1918 with the acclaimed Picture Bride, about a teenage boy from Japan traveling to Hawaii for an arranged marriage, directed by Honolulu-born Kayo Hatta and written with her sister Mari Hatta.
The sounds of a palm forest envelop you in this meditative video from the Merwin Conservancy protecting the Maui home and 19-acre palm forest of WS Merwin, former US poet award winner and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner. You will soon forget that you are home.
How are you going to channel the spirit of Hawaii in your home? Share your ideas in the comments.
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Stephanie Rosenbloom, author of “Time Alone: Four Seasons, Four Cities, and the Delights of Solitude” (Viking) has been writing travel, business, and style features for The Times for nearly two decades. Twitter: @Stephronyt. Instagram: @StephanieRosenbloom