Had a wonderful post-holiday celebration Saturday night, with friends who happen to be neighbors. Two retired couples joined my husband and me for a Hawaiian smorgasborg. One couple married less than a year ago are heading to California shortly, for some relaxation in the warm desert sun. How we will envy them…especially since snow has been falling for a few days, making driving conditions somewhat sketchy. Icy roads…icy everything…icy me. Brrr…
Friends married the longest couldn’t seem to agree as to who it was that hung the towel-warmer in their remodeled master bath. She was absolutely certain it was her husband; he swore that it had been the contractor who’d done the installation, even though he’d initially tried to talk them out of it. The humorous exchange continued throughout our after-dinner conversation on a variety of topics.
I was certain our newly married friends would have nothing to share on the subject of discord. Lo and behold, the wife finally spoke up after her husband talked at length about a military-tactic he used with his children when they were teenagers, holding them responsible for their own actions.
What ensued was a lively discussion about bed-fixing and luggage-packing. The husband had spent many years as a military man, so an attention to detail lingers to this day. The wife attested to being able to make up a nice-looking bed in 3 minutes. Her hubby, she explained, took that long to tuck in the corners.
When it came to packing for their warm-weather trip, the wife informed us that she got everything together beforehand, but didn’t actually assemble them neatly into the suitcase until the day prior. Hubby meanwhile began packing last week. His reasoning was that in the ensuing days he could winnow it all down to only what was absolutely necessary.
Then both wives commisserated on needing much more in the way of vacation wear than the husbands deemed appropriate. Of course I agreed. There’s day-wear and evening-wear. Then there’s the accompanying accessories…sandals, casual shoes, evening shoes…day purse, evening purse. And then, of course, the jewelry, makeup, toiletries.
Deciding to serve our friends a “typical” islander meal wasn’t made until the morning of. People are always asking “So what do Hawaiians eat?” It’s as though we have exotic tastes 24/7. Truth be told, we eat meat and potatoes, like most Americans. Of course the seasonings make the difference.
Instead of southern fried chicken, I made shoyu chicken. Instead of spaghetti and meatballs, I served sweet-and-sour meatballs with Chinese fried rice. Sides included potato salad-a-la-Hawaiian style, a platter of tomato and mozzarella slices over which I’d drizzled Paul Newman‘s balsamic vinaigrette, and julienned carrots sauteed in a little butter then sprinkled with dried tarragon to taste. Wanting to give our friends a small sampling of our local Chinese restaurant‘s menu, we also included their Honey Walnut Shrimp.
Everyone helped themselves to some of everything. And that’s how the Hawaiians do it…a little of this…a little of that…or a lot of this…and a lot of that. Whatever pleases. There are no formal rules except to make yourself at home…and eat, eat…no be shame! Eat!
The piece de resistance it seems was my homemade pineapple upside down cake. The husband-newly remarried, according to his bride, never…ever…eats dessert. Well when I set the cake down in the middle of the table…his was the loudest exclamation of delight. The only dessert he’d ever eat, happened to be the pineapple upside down cake made by his aunt. In his mid-70s now, that was a long, long time ago. Needless to say I sent him home with a large piece…for the next day.
After our friends left, hubby and I had a lot of cleaning up to do. But we both agreed that the evening was well worth the effort. Easy camaraderie, conversation that flowed, nonstop laughter, appreciative eaters, and never-ending compliments for the hostess…well, of course, that’s anyone’s dream evening.
And as a gift for the guests? The husbands went away with a neat trick for next Christmas.
Unbeknownst to my husband and me, who thought everyone knew to install remotes to turn all the Christmas lights on and off at one’s fingertips, our friends were clueless about such gadgetry. My husband was only too thrilled to show them how the remotes worked, and how he’d plugged them into electrical outlets.
One of the husbands exclaimed he’d be off to Home Depot the following day to get himself the gizmo. No more unplugging the Christmas tree lights manually. In fact he was going to try it now, since their tree is still standing in their living room. The same was true for the other couple.
…looks like christmas lingers on…in our neighborhood…how about yours?