Kau Kau: the all-purpose Hawaiian pidgin term for food (derived from the Chinese "chow chow").
photo by Shuzo Uemoto
I’m very pleased to welcome Arnold Hiura to alphabet soup today, not only because he has written a fabulous new book about Hawai’i's culinary history, but because this interview has given me the opportunity to reconnect with an old college classmate.
Arnold and I were both English majors at the University of Hawai’i, where we took the same Shakespeare class in grad school. I was no fool — I made sure I sat next to him, hoping that some of his brains and writing talent would rub off on me. ☺
After graduation, Arnold taught English for a few years at Punahou, a prestigious private school on O’ahu. One of his students was none other than a certain Barry Obama. Fast forward to last December, when the Obamas were in Hawai’i for Christmas. They dined at one of their favorite restaurants, Alan Wong’s in Honolulu, at which time Chef Wong gifted the President with a copy of Kau Kau: Cuisine & Culture in the Hawaiian Islands. I love how things come full
circle — how small and friendly the world can be, how food brings people together.