Kua O Ka Lā Public Charter School in Pū‘āla‘a, Lower Puna on the Big Island of Hawai'i (Hawai'i Island) recently published their own cookbook titled 'Ike 'Aina: From the Seed to the Table - Cooking with locally grown foods.
An enticing cookbook full of mouth-watering recipes, this cookbook will certainly grab your attention. The cookbook is filled with recipes prepared by Culinary Instructor Mariposa Blanco and the 'Aina Life Culinary Arts Program students using only locally grown and sourced fresh produce and local foods of our islands.
Delicious ways to use breadfruit, taro, coconuts, guavas, mangos and many other tropical produce and fruits. From homemade coconut oil mayonnaise, juice extracts from ginger and 'olena (turmeric) to their award winning breadfruit tamales. No rice, butter or wheat based products make an appearance in this little gem.
The book is written in both Hawaiian and English, filled with beautiful full color photographs of the students from kindergarten keiki to seniors planting, tending, harvesting and cooking with the very vegetables and fruits mentioned in the recipes.
The cookbook begins with an ancient Hawaiian prayer used as a chant for opening new gardens to grow food. Early Hawaiians fed themselves with only what they could grow, forage in the forests and gather from the sea. There were no imports until the rest of the world learned about the islands.
'Ike 'Aina means to know the land. The school has a garden, plants in containers and a grow-house where several crops are growing vertically to save space. They are learning to know the land!
The curriculum of the school includes an agricultural experience where all of the kids get to participate: from seed to table, and the book reflects it. Every Friday, the culinary arts class students and their instructor, Mariposa, feed a healthy snack to the elementary school students and then a sit-down lunch to staff and invited guests. I have been fortunate to have been invited to several of these lunches.
Their award winning 'Ulu Tamales recipe can be found on page 56 - and in a post I made on September 25th, 2011
For a couple of recipes from the cookbook that I was able to taste during one of the school's Friday lunches, please check my article in the Hamakua Times of Honoka'a
The cookbook's first printing is a limited edition and the books are becoming scarse, but if interested in obtaining one, you can reach the school for information
Kua o Ka Lā Public Charter School
P.O. Box 1413 Pahoa, HI 96778
Phone: (808) 965-5098 Fax: (808) 965-9618