No more lau lua for kau kau at the local Jewau

When I was preparing for our Passover seder a few weeks ago, I opened the  cookbook that our Temple’s Sisterhood  published last year.

That was the first time I really looked at the book. I bought it for two reasons: to support the sisterhood and my mother’s recipes were inside. I never really imagined that I would use it.

Pressed for time, instead of digging through my recipe drawer for the index card with my mom’s hand written instructions, I got “Cooking With Shaloha” down from the shelf.

It was much more interesting than I expected. Filled with typical recipes for challah and brisket and kasha varnishkes, it is also peppered with local dishes such as haupia and mango bread and poke.

The best surprise came at the end of the book: The Juau!

I was thrilled to find this one. Contributor Jill Merl suggests a menu for a porkless luau. I thought it was hilarious.

And then I started thinking that  a Passover seder is the Jewish version of a luau–the ultimate Jewau.

I looked up the meaning of  luau on the internet and an online dictionary defined it as: an elaborate Hawaiian feast or party (especially one accompanied by traditional foods and entertainment.)

Sounds like a seder to me. Just substitute the word Hawaiian with Jewish and entertainment with telling the story and there you have it–a Jewau.

Gefilte fish fills in for poke or lomi salmon, chicken soup for chicken long rice. Eat brisket instead of kalua pork and macaroons instead of haupia! Drink four glasses with tiny bubbles…..You get the idea.

The search for gefilte fish and horseradish…tears to my eyes

Preparing for Passover in Hawaii has gotten easier in the past few years, but it is still not completely convenient.

Most of the neighborhood Safeways have matzah and matzah meal. They bring it out for every Jewish holiday, thinking that we eat it all year round.

Now that I am a “Military Wife,” I have access to the commissary which dutifully puts out a table of items a few weeks before Passover, but it wasn’t as robust this year as the last few.

Whole Foods in Kahala (about 25 miles from my house and a good hour drive if there is traffic) had a good selection of macaroons and gluten free Passover items.

Only the Kapahulu Safeway had gefilte fish. My husband loves gefilte fish. I made the drive.

When I was at the commissary yesterday I asked for fresh horseradish and was told they only have the Chinese kind. I figured that would do for a bitter herb. I had no idea that Chinese horseradish was so big. I had to take a photo. Even my husband laughed.

While surfing the web, my younger daughter noticed that Party City has ready made plague bags, a new tradition at our seder ever since my oldest sister started sending them to my kids. We went to the Waikele Party City to check them out. When I asked the clerk where their Passover items are, she looked at me and said, “What’s Passover?” So much for buying plague bags there. We will make our own.

Despite the obstacles, we are ready. We will celebrate with the community tonight at the Aloha Jewish Chapel seder at the Hale Koa Hotel, organized by our good friends Val Hashimoto and Dan Bender.

And thank goodness for Good Friday. In Hawaii it is a State holiday.  Since the kids won’t have school and my husband doesn’t have to work, we will have our own seder at home with a few friends. All of the items I have hunted and gathered from across the island will come together on our table as we celebrate our  freedom and remember our journey together.

A Zeisen Pesach to all.