Jun 02

The Ohana Cookbook


You are in for QUITE a treat!!!

I am giddy with excitement about a new project I will be introducing to you. We have been fortunate enough to have one of our local Hawaiian friends, who is a third generation of five generations of family originating from the island of Hawaii, loan us his family’s cookbook!  He says his ma has had the cookbook since the 1950’s when she learned how to use a cook book and passed it to him and his wife in 1979. The book cost about 45 cents originally.

(He’s also the one who taught me my first lesson about appreciating Island Time.)

Since my early adult years, I have been a collector of cookbooks. I would dissect each one, page by page, recipe by recipe, line by line as soon as I got it home. I might not ever make anything from it, but the dream was always there. Going as far as to put sticky notes on all the most popular pages, sometimes I would have 50-60 fluorescent yellow, orange, pink and green little sticky notes sticking out the top of the cookbook with all of my good intentions waving for anyone who came in my kitchen to see. “One day, I will make this!!!”

With every move I have made, from apartment, to house, to house, to condo (18 moves in all since I was 18 years old), there were always 2 areas that needed culling before packing them up for the next fresh “new” home… shoes and cookbooks. I could thin each collection by half and STILL have too many. Every time! I was ruthless with the thinning process before moving to Hawaii and still ended up shipping and unpacking SIXTEEN. Of course, I think I’m ruthless with this process every time…

As a stay at home mom with my first child, I even attempted to hand write my own cookbook from all my favorites. I didn’t make a good stay at home mom, tried it a few times, and came up with some pretty odd projects to try to entertain myself. I don’t know HOW the good ones do it. You definitely have my respect!!! Anyway, I got about halfway through making my own cookbook and put it away, finally discarding it about 5 moves ago.

When I was growing up, my mother loved trying new recipes out on us and usually did not get a good response from her critics. I remember plenty of ugly faces, groans and gags from me and my sisters. Luckily, she never made us sit at the table until our plate was clean, maybe because we out numbered her, or because secretly she knew it wasn’t worth finishing. I will have to say, my own children were much better sports with the new recipes I sat in front of them. It was rare that they complained about the new recipes. They were not picky eaters, like me when I was as a child. That might have a little something to do with the more positive feedback received.

As luck would have it, I grew out of the picky eating stage and have broadened my horizons tremendously. The most unique thing I believe I have eaten recently is uni, Japanese for sea urchin. I tried it sushi style (yes, raw) and it was delicious! Being an addict of the Food Network for well over ten years, I have repeatedly heard the chefs or food critics announce that uni was their favorite or one of their favorite foods.  I HAD to try it and I am glad I did!

This leads us back to the Hawaiian family cookbook. There are just an abundance of new foods and recipes to try in Hawaii from so many different Polynesian and Asian origins. I feel like a kid in a candy shop with this wonderful old cookbook that has been placed in my possession. Lucky for me, not only do I have years of practice at CHOOSING the recipes, but my wonderful, multi-talented husband LOVES creating them!

I am elated to be able to share these dishes with you as we make them ourselves. As I look through the cookbook, it is obvious which pages or sections have been the most popular. These pages have what appears to be years of loving soy sauce stains splattered throughout them. Not that every recipe contains soy sauce, but I will say that my consumption of it has increased since moving here. Other sections of the book are clean as a whistle, which indicates to me that this section was probably not so popular with the family. Occasionally there will be a traditional recipe thrown into the mix like lime jello salad or pecan pie.  I suppose traditional is not the correct term to use here as the word traditional is relative to where one originates.  From now on, the word I will use is familiar. Familiar recipes would be those that I have seen over and over again throughout the majority of my life in Texas. I may omit those since you can find them in any community cookbook or on Pinterest now.

My focus will be on sharing the recipes with you that are not easily found elsewhere or that I find interesting for whatever reason. I will do my best to provide links to certain products that may be hard to find on the mainland, as well.

As you can see, it has no front cover or back cover anymore. I would guess there is an abundance of love and family memories wrapped up in this cookbook. I am very thankful to have had this opportunity to view it and share its contents with you! Now that my husband and I have very carefully scanned every last page of it, it will be returned to the wonderful family that so graciously loaned it to us

Mahalo Nui Loa!





Aloha and mahalo (thank you) for stopping by!

Texas Girl Finds Aloha



  1. Michele

    So, will you just be sharing photos with us, or the recipes as well? I usually get into a “I”m bored with what I normally cook” mood and make all new recipes for a week or so. I have a feeling I would love some traditional Hawaiian, although I don’t think I’ve ever had it. Thanks for taking us on this journey! It will be fun :)

  2. Texas Girl Finds Aloha

    Michele, thank you for the question! I will be sharing the recipe AND photos. Most of the recipes are very straight forward and use natural ingredients. I did spot a few “cream of” soups here or there though. :). So glad you are enjoying the journey!

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