Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Number Nine

Steamed Taro

I said I was going to talk about taro in today's post.  This particular white variety, Mauna Kea Kea was prized by the Hawaiians.  It is very mild in taste and doesn't take too long to steam, only about 20 minutes.  One corm is almost more than I could eat in a day.  I must have over a hundred taro plants with large corms in my gardens.  Every time I harvest the big corm, there are at least 8 little taro plants attached that must be replanted.  I always have an empty prepared garden bed ready to accept the baby taro plants.  Soon I'll be able to feed the neighborhood.

For today's lunch I had steamed taro with some left over green beens.  It is very filling and full of nourishment.  Poi (mashed taro) is the perfect baby food.  I won't bore you with my meals today as it was fruit till noon, and a salad for dinner.  Better to leave you with the Hawaiian legend of taro:

One Hawaiian legend tells of Wakea, Father Heaven, who bore a child with the Daughter of Earth. Born prematurely, the deformed infant, Haloa, was in the shape of a bulb. Wakea buried the body at one corner of his house. The couple’s second-born child, also named Haloa, was a healthy boy who would become the ancestor of the Hawaiian people. Haloa was to respect and look after his older brother for all eternity. The elder Haloa, the root of life, would always sustain and nourish his young brother and his descendants.
Early Hawaiians supposedly consumed up to 15 pounds of taro (as poi), per person, on a daily basis. It was such a revered source of nourishment that only men were allowed to grow it.
Even today, much of the Hawaiian culture is based on taro cultivation. For example, no one is allowed to fight or argue when a bowl of poi is open. According to Hawaiian custom, it is disrespectful to fight in front of an elder. And as the living embodiment of Haloa, taro is the “elder brother” of all Hawaiians

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