Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Etiquette for a Hawaiian Feast

You must not ask for a knife or fork, or you will be guilty of a decided breach of etiquette. Your true Hawaiian disdains the use of eating implements. You may be assured that you will never have a meal that will rival this in deliciousness or that is more wholesome.

Hawaii... Where a Banquet is Served on the Ground

A visitor to Hawaii should make it a point to attend a real native feast. It is an experience well worth while, for the Hawaiian food is delicious, and if served in true native fashion, the feast is a fascinating ceremonial for the uninitiated guest. The banquet is held in a shady mango grove. A deep hole in the ground is lined with stones which are heated red hot. This is the oven, and the food to be cooked in it is placed in a broad, tough leaf called a ti leaf. The meat is cut into small pieces and twisted in the leaf, the long stem forming a handle. The little parcels are then placed in the oven, covered with water and earth, and left to cook for a number of hours. 

When the food is cooked, it is spread on the grass on a covering of fragrant ferns. Instead of a serviette, a ti leaf is placed at each plate and flowers are scattered all over the spot, and are at each place. A number of polished calabashes are filled with poi, without which no Hawaiian meal is complete. Poi is a kind of porridge made from the root of the taro. It is of a pinkish gray color and is rather sour. After each guest is presented with a garland of leaves which he is expected to wear, he sits upon the ground. The smoking meat tied up in the ti leaf is then brought in, and is eaten with the fingers. 

You must not ask for a knife or fork, or you will be guilty of a decided breach of etiquette. Your true Hawaiian disdains the use of eating implements. At each place is a little dish filled with chopped cocoanut and seawater to be used as a relish with the meat. Young onions, sweet potatoes and salted shrimps are also served, and for dessert you will have melons, mangoes and water lemons. You may be assured that you will never have a meal that will rival this in deliciousness or that is more wholesome. – San Bernardino Sun, 1926

Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J. Graber, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia