I know, I’ve hinted in the past that I’m a cranky old lady, but I’m not old enough to have any first-hand memories of the attack on Pear Harbor 77 years ago. My parents were just children in 1941, living worlds apart. Yet Pear Harbor had an impact on my life. Growing up in Central California, the scars of Pearl Harbor remained just below the surface. We lived just outside the farming community of Florin. Before the war, Florin was once the Strawberry capital of California thanks to the Japanese who worked the rich lands. The internment of the Japanese community forever changed the landscape of this sleepy little town. While the resentment and hostility were not in the forefront when I was a child, many people remembered the attack on Pearl Harbor, and the term “Jap” was still a part of everyday language.
My 5th grade teacher was a grand lady. She was a grown women, with a family of her own, when Pearl Harbor forever changed America. She experienced the prejudice toward Japanese-Americans first hand. Mary Tsukamoto was born in San Francisco on July 17, 1915. Her family eventually moved to Florin in 1925 and began farming the land. Although Mary never spoke to her students about her experiences in America following Pearl Harbor, she taught us a great deal about Japanese culture. She carried herself with such quiet dignity when the need to be silent was necessary. Later, when the Japanese people began to speak out, Mary Tsukamoto became an active voice for her people. In 1987, she wrote a book with her dear friend, Elizabeth Pinkerton called “We the People : A Story of Internment in America”. Mary once said of Florin “May is always such a beautiful month. It is also harvest month for Florin’s strawberries! But in May of 1942, there were only a few Florin strawberries shipped to breakfast tables of America”.
When I was in high school, my friends and I found a way to access a lower section of the original part of Old Sacramento. This was long before Old Sacramento became a tourist trap of T-Shirt Shops and over-priced restaurants. Like most cities, Sacramento has been built on top of itself. Eventually businesses moved away and the old part of town along the river was abandoned to skid row. It was also a great place to hang out and explore boarded up buildings with hidden secrets of our past. Beneath the old train depot, we discovered a set of railroad tracks long ago forgotten. The tracks ran alongside what appeared to be large holding cell. Odd, since all the photos I’ve ever seen of the Japanese Internment showed an orderly “evacuation” with people waiving good-bye to their friends. Yet here it was, a dark, hidden processing center beneath the city. I could not help but to wonder as I stood in the basement of the old depot if this was where Mary sat, waiting with her daughter, to be herded onto a train with no way of knowing if or when she would be allowed to return to her beloved Florin.
We should honor Pearl Harbor and all the victims of that day – those who were victims of war and those who were victims of ignorance.
Pearl Harbor Day Menu
** Slow Roasted Kahlúa Pig **
** Japanese Glazed Drumsticks **
** Hawaiian Macaroni Salad **
** Macadamia Nut-Mango Bread **
Matcha Ice Cream
Slow Roasted Kahlúa Pig in Clay Roaster
2 lbs Pork Tenderloin
2 Can Chicken Broth
Liquid Smoke to taste (about 1-2 tablespoons)
1 Tablespoon Alaea Salt or to taste (see note)
4 Banana Leaves or 1 Banana Peel (optional)
Sticky Rice for serving
1 Head Green Leaf Lettuce, for serving (optional)
Note: Alaea Salt is a clay salt from Hawaii. It contains the flavors of the land and the sea. This salt can be found in specialty shops or on-line.
Heat oven to 325-degrees.
Score pork on both sides. Rub about a handful of Alaea Salt over entire pork loin. Take care not to over-salt, seasoning can always be adjusted during final cooking process. Sprinkle pork with liquid smoke – simply place your finger over the bottle opening and gently shake over entire pork loin.
Place seasoned pork in a clay pot with a lid. Drape banana leaves or banana peel over top of pork. Add chicken broth to pot, cover and place in the oven to “roast”.
Cook undisturbed for 1 ½ to 2 hours. Discard banana leaves/peel and break pork apart using a fork.
Reduce oven to 300-degrees. Continue to cook covered, checking periodically and flaking meat with a fork.
Add additional chicken broth if necessary to keep pork moist. Cook until meat falls apart easily, about 1 ½ to 2 hours longer. When the pork is nearly finished, taste and adjust seasonings (adding small amounts of salt and/or liquid smoke as needed). Be gentle when adding more salt or smoke – you can always add more, but you can’t take back too much.
Remove from oven, pull apart using large fork. Cover and let rest in pot to soak up remaining liquid, about 10 minutes.
Japanese Glazed Chicken Drumsticks
12-16 chicken drumsticks
1/2 Cup Water
3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2/3 cup Japanese soy sauce (Kikkoman’s)
2 1/2 tablespoons ultra fine sugar
4 garlic cloves, peeled and bruised
1 small hot chili peppers, slit open, seeds removed
2 Green Onions, chopped for garnish (Optional)
Peel and bruise garlic. Chop hot chili peppers and green onions. Set aside until ready to use.
Place all the ingredients except green onions in a saucepan over a high heat. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer for about 40 minutes.
Increase the heat, turning the drumsticks frequently in the liquid, and cook until the liquid has reduced to a thick glaze, about 20 minutes.
Remove chicken from glaze, keep warm. Lower heat and continue to allow glaze to reduce and thicken, about 15 to 20 minutes longer, stirring constantly to prevent burning. Return chicken to the pot, coat well with glaze.
Arrange the chicken on a serving platter. Remove the garlic clove and chili from the glaze, then spoon any remaining the glaze over the drumsticks. Garnish with chopped green onions just before serving.
Hawaiian Macaroni Salad
1 lb Spaghetti Noodles, cooked according to package directions
½ Cup Onion, diced (See note)
1 Bunch Green Onions, chopped
2 Carrots, grated
2 Celery ribs, diced.
4-5 Hard-Boiled eggs
½ Cup Best Foods Mayonnaise (more if needed)
1 Dollop of Red or Orange Caviar (optional)
1 Can of Spam, cut into strips (Optional)
Note: If desired, reserve the bottom portion of three green onions, white to just below green part. Trim root end while leaving onion intact. Using a sharp knife, cut slits into the white portion, leaving attached to the bulb. Carefully open to create little onion “blooms” for additional garnish to the salad.
Break spaghetti noodles in half and cook noodles according to package directions. Rinse well under cold running water. Drain well.
In a large bowl, combine onions, green onions, carrots and celery. Add spaghetti noodles to vegetables and toss to blend.
Chop all but 1 egg, add to salad. With final egg, cut V lines to create a flower. Reserve one half of flower, chop other half and add to salad. Add mayonnaise and fold to coat all the ingredients.
Transfer macaroni salad to serving bowl, smooth out top for a flat finish. Place egg tulip in center of dish, pressing down lightly to keep tulip in place. If desired, for a little added color, place a dollop of caviar in the center of the tulip. Top the finished salad with spam in a spoke-wheel patter from egg. (Note: The Spam and caviar are purely optional but a nice touch). Cover and refrigerate for several hours or until well-chilled.
Macadamia Nut-Mango Bread
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup macadamia nuts, chopped
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 cups ripe mangoes, cut into small cubes
Heat your oven to 350 degrees.
Grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.
In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Form a well in the center of the mixture and add the sugar, eggs, macadamia nuts, walnuts and the oil. Add mango and slowly incorporate into the flour mixture.
Pour this mixture into the prepared loaf pan and bake for about 45 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
Let cool. Slice and eat!
May we always see the beauty even in the darkest hours.