Kau Kau Kitchen
by Leilehua Yuen

       As winter sets in, the long low sea clouds, the symbol of Lono, come rolling from the horizon, bringing with them the life-giving rain. Without that rain, no kalo, no `uala, no mai`a, no foods at all can grow. The happy sounding streams would dry and no longer laugh as they dance over the rocks. The lush forest would turn harsh and brown. Mauna Kea, and Mauna Loa would no longer dress for winter in their beautiful cloaks of snow.
       So the rainy season is an important time in Hawai`i. For four moons of the life-bringing rainy season, our ancestors celebrated this time of year. War was forbidden. Games were played. Special days were set aside to do chores, but the time of the Makahiki was for dancing, playing, and giving thanks to the gods for providing such a wonderful world.
       It was during the Makahiki of 1778 that Captain James Cook brought the first English ships to Hawai`i. But, it was not until eight years later that an English Christmas was celebrated in the Hawaiian Islands.
      The first Christmas celebration in Hawai`i was in 1786, onboard the Queen Charlotte, out of England, commanded by Capt. George Dixon. She was anchored in Waimea Bay, off Kaua`i. The holidays can be a sad time for those far from home. But sailors must get used to that, and make do as they can with whatever is at hand. And so Capt Dixon ordered the galley crew to prepare a Christmas dinner. Instead of a Christmas Goose from the butcher, a pua`a, a Hawaiian hog was roasted. A Christmas pie was made from the ingredients on hand. And, as a special treat, instead of mixing the rum with water to make the grog, the rum was mixed with coconut milk. Imagine them, lifting cups of Hawaiian coconut grog in a Christmas toast to their families and friends in England.






Kele Kalikimaka
An easy Christmas jelly

1 cup Hawaiian chili peppers
4 cups apple jelly

Mince the peppers.
Heat the jelly until it liquifies.
Stir in the peppers.
Pour into jelly glasses and let cool.

To avoid cracking the glasses, you'll want to be sure they are well washed and then kept in hot water until you are ready to pour in the jelly. Store in the refrigerator.


Check out the first Kau Kau Kitchen Recipe Card - greeting cards with recipes inside.