March 15, 2012

Poi, My Boy

One night while working in Japan I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn't go back to sleep. Thus started my interest in taro and poi.

I turned on the tv and found what seemed to be a travel show. A woman with a traditional newscaster's mic walked up and down rows of very tall taro plants. She parted the leaves of one row to reveal two ladies eating their lunch in the taro patch, under the shelter of the huge, heart-shaped leaves. Then she interviewed them. Hilarious!

The next segments dealt with getting the skin off of the taro. Various methods were explored, including using a wadded up piece of aluminum foil as a scrubber. Then they showed a traditional method in which a wooden cage was placed in the narrow spot in a stream. The force of the water rotated the cage, and the taro rubbed against each other and the cage.

Then to the studio, where various minor celebrities cooked baby taro roots on George Foreman grills. I'll never know what this show was about, but it made me curious about taro.

About a year later, a small group of us played Hawaiian music at a friend's wedding. As part of the buffet, there was poi. I'd never had it. I asked Auntie to take a picture of me, I was so excited. It was tasty. It had a slight perfume of violets. I started buying poi at the store when I came across it. Mrguy won't touch it.

After my amazing poi experience in September, I really wanted to know how to make it myself. I steamed some taro and pounded it while watching the Golden Globes. Super tasty. Nutty. Not like my first taro or the taro I get from the store. I can't wait to learn more.

Monday is our poistravaganza.

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