Sunday, February 15, 2015

Local Customs and Traditions – Shrove Tuesday – aka Malasada Day!

Local Customs and Traditions – Shrove Tuesday – aka Malasada Day!


Growing up in Kaneo'he, it seemed like everyone was either Catholic or Mormon – but no matter which religion you adhered to, we all enjoyed malasadas on Shrove or Fat Tuesday! First – a little background.....

Mardi Gras has become a festival known for parades, carousing, rich foods and a generally good time. The translation from french into english is “Fat Tuesday.” In Catholic households, all the fats, leavened flour and sugar were to be used up before the beginning of Lent which started on Ash Wednesday. German households created faschnauts, a type of donut. Other Europeans made pancakes and the Portugese made malasadas.

We locals have so much to be thankful for the Portugese influence. They introduced the ukulele, the paniolo cowboy tradition, portugese sausage, pao doce (sweet bread) and malasadas! And while you can get malasadas year-round, they have a special significance on Shrove or Fat Tuesday. I remember relatives, friends and families standing in line long time at Craig's or Agne's Bakery in Kailua for hot fresh malasadas to be shared on Shrove Tuesday.

So on this Mardi Gras, enjoy this local custom by making your own malasadas using this easy recipe  you can find on the recipe tab – you probably have all the ingrediants in your kitchen! Laissez bon temps hana hou – let the good times roll again!

Ho'olau le'a Update

Mahalo to all who attended the Ho'olaule'a to support the Green Cove Springs Food Bank – thanks to your generosity, they collected 818 pounds of canned goods and $145. No word on how many cans of spam were included. Additional mahalos to all the halau and entertainers who shared their song and dance for the attendees – hana hou!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Update from the USOS Foundation

Mahalo to Lynn Ano'ai for this update!

Dear Usos Foundation supporters!

I hope that your year is starting off well and that the holidays were a blessing. I would like to share with you what the foundation is up to and to say thank you in advance for your continued love and support. I apologize if this email is somewhat long but there is lots to share at the beginning of each new year!

We are proud to announce that our 2015 board members are:

Executive Director: Mr. Andrew Salgado

Board Members:
Mr. Clifford Aubuchon
Mr. Afa Anoa`i
Mrs. Lynn Anoa`i
Ms.Vale Anoa`i
Mr. Steve Erickson
Mrs. Pam Serviss
Mr. David Yeager

Thank you to all of the volunteers who give so much to the foundation. Sorry too many to list, but you know who you are and how appreciated you are.

We are busy working on our two big fundraisers of the year. First is the 7th Annual Lia Maivia Fundraising scholarship banquet. This event is to award scholarships to men and women in the memories of: Lia Maivia, Manny Leibert and Eki "Umaga" Fatu. The banquet is Saturday, August 1st held at the Minneola City Hall. Tickets are $50 and since it's year LUCKY 7, our theme is "Lucky 7 Casino Night!" Tickets are available through our web site: or by calling us at: 352-272-2806 

Our second big fundraiser is the 2nd Annual Aloha Festival. The first festival was a great success with over 800 attendees. The Aloha festival is again being held at the Minneola Trailhead park on Saturday, October 3rd.

Charity Wines is continuing to allow the foundation to raise funds through the sales of "Wrestling Legends" wine bottles. The link for their website is: 
You can order your collectible bottles featuring your favorite pro wrestling legends. We will be launching two new bottles, Miss. Kimberly who has supported the foundation for the past 5 years and Miss. Vale who dedicates her every waking hour to the work that the foundation does. Please look for their bottles to be available soon!

Not a wine drinker or collector? Thats OK! Usos has just partnered with Charity Wicks and  coming soon, you will be able to purchase beautiful scented candles featuring our wrestling legends!

As I begin to close this letter, may I again say thank you to everyone who believes in the work that we do and the lives that we touch. We will never stop caring or helping those who reach out to us in their time of need especially since in most cases, we are the only support these kids have. I received the below message on my Facebook today and would like to share it with you so that you can appreciate why we do what we do!!!

"Nick Dimitratos" love you moms and pops! and the lil sister i never had!! you 3 made training in hazelton/allentown and even shows here SOOO MUCH fun and such a old school learning experience! Some times it was the way you treated EVERYONE equally! You took the time to WORK HAND ON WITH US ALL! Which gave us the confidenece to suceed on our own! Words cant express how much i value and cherish my young life with you!! BY FAR THE ONLY WAY TO GET NOTICED/LOOKED AT BY ANYONE..HAVING THE STAMP OF APROVAL AND FOREVER ON YOUR RESUME IS TRULY PRICELESS!! THE WILD SAMOAN PRO WRESTLING TRAINING CENTER NOT ONLY SAVED MY LIFE FROM 14 TO 21..IT GAVE ME TOOLS FOR A LIFE FUTUREISTICALLY! THANK YOU FOR ALWAYS TREATING ME LIKE A SON AND EVEN WAS THE 1ST PERSON TO CALL MY ROOM IN NJ HOSPITAL WHEN I GOT IN THAT CAR WRECK IN 04 AND DESPITE ALMOST LOSING MY LIFE, I WAS MORE WORRIED ABOUT ME MISSING THE RING...THAT TRULY MEANT THE WORLD TO ME AND WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN!!

Usos Foundation can not survive without the continued support and generosity of our supporters. Donations and sponsorships for the banquet and Aloha Festival are greatly needed and appreciated.

Thank you all again!


Friday, January 30, 2015

Mind Your Manners - Local Style!

For those who grew up in the Islands, there's a certain etiquette that we proscribe to.  Remove your shoes before entering a house, hugs not handshakes, and how we greet each other.  Over the next few months, let's explore some of those customs - let's start off with - visiting someone's house!

E Komo Mai - Come Inside!

The House Visit

First and most important - never show up ahead of time!  In Hawai'i, when the invitation states, "5:00 p.m." - that means "show up at 6:00 p.m." This is known as "Hawaiian time."  It allows the host/hostess to finish hiding the dirty dishes and get a head start on the drinks!

When you arrive at the hale (house)  - never take the choice parking space unless you need assistance.  If you have heavy things to bring in, recruit a few people to kokua (help), then move your car.  Announce yourself, then remove your shoes and leave them at the front door.  When leaving, do not upscale your footwear!  Greet the host/hostess with a hug and a hearty "Howzit!"

Traditional New Years Day Party with kodamatsu and mochi!
Never visit someone empty-handed - even if the invite says, "No gifts," you should bring something. This is a Japanese custom known as omiyage and has been adopted by most locals. Food and drink are always good, but be creative - if you know the host/hostess love music, consider bringing a CD, sheet music or perhaps a custom mix. 
Try a little of everything - clean plate club is da rule!
During the course of the event, no be shy - if you don't know someone, introduce yourself!  If you're bad remembering names, you can refer to someone near your age as Braddah, "Sistah, or Cuz. Those older than you - "Uncle," or "Aunty." Children - keiki-lani.  As far as the age thing - never ask someone their age - just guesstimate!

Unless it's a kanikapila, where you stay all night to sing and play music, don't overstay your welcome - your host/hostess will need time to clean-up.  Offer your assistance in cleaning up, but don't be overly pushy - some folks have a specific clean-up system and you'll just be in the way.  If the host/hostess invites you to take some leftovers, comply.   They may not have enough room for all the food. Make sure you thank your host/hostess for the event and all their hard work!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Customs, Traditions and Celebrations - Local Style!

Customs, Traditions and Celebrations - Local Style!
Char Siu - some ono!

If you grew up Island style, your spring social calendar probably included:  New Years Day, Chinese New Years, Valentines Day, Mardi Gras, Shrove Tuesday, Girls Day, St. Patricks Day, Easter, Boys Day, May Day and so on.

While many of these dates have a cultural or religious significance, they also represent an opportunity to eat special foods and celebrate.  And no matter what your background is - if there's anything that brings us together - it's good food and kanikapila! 

Kalua Pig!

Baby Kaiona and Tutu Judy with her smash cake!

Chicken Long Rice
Recently, I had the honor to attend a baby luau for Kaiona Smith, the youngest of the Smith ohana of Jacksonville.  Proud parents Benjamin and Keawe hosted more than 100 guests to this very special event.  As a recap - in traditional Hawaiian times, infant mortality rate was quite high.  So for a child to reach their first year was quite an accomplishment and thus - the baby luau AKA, 'Aha Aina Piha Makahiki - Feast of the Fullness of the Year.

Spam Musubi
Lomi Salmon

Guava Chiffon and Chantilly Chocolate Cupcakes
In grand fashion, the food symbolized our melting pot culture - tossed and macaroni salad, spam musubi, assorted sushi, baked sweet potato, chicken long rice, lumpia, several kine baked chicken, paniolo smoked pork and ribs, char siu, poi, lomi salmon and kalua pig!  Of course we didn't forget dessert - can you say guava chiffon and Chantilly chocolate cupcakes just like the ones from Liliha Bakery?  How 'bout chocolate macadamia shortbread just like the ones from Big Island chocolates?  Suffice to say, elastic waistband pants were in order!  Mahalo to everyone who contributed - for the food, the decorations, the entertainment and mana'o (knowledge and wisdom). Check out the recipe tab for Tutu Judy Olmo's lomi salmon - she uses fresh salmon which she salts - brok' da mout! 

Who has room for dessert?
Noh forget on Saturday, Feb. 7 - the upcoming Ho'olaule'a in Fleming Island to benefit the Clay County Foodbank, being coordinated by Jet and Kristen Belleza and their extended ohana - bring some canned goods and a covered dish to share!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Ho'olaule'a to Support the Green Cove Springs Food Pantry!

Hauoli Makahiki Hou - Here's to the New Year and Starting it Off Right by Attending the Ho'olaule'a to Support the Green Cove Springs Food Pantry!

Mahalo to Jet, Kristin Belleza and their ohana (immediate and extended) for coordinating this!
Aloha Kakou! Come show your Aloha spirit & give back to the community!
We're hosting another Ho'olaule'a and show that will benefit The Food Pantry of Green Cove Springs for a great cause as we have done in the past. It will take place at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church Sullivan Hall, 7190 Highway 17 in Fleming Island on Saturday, Feb. 7 from 11:00 a.m - 5:00 p.m.
The Food Pantry is a cooperative ministry supported by our church. Our goal is to provide emergency food for those in need in our area.

We welcome and honor musicians/singers and dancers to contribute and participate in our show. To sign up for the event, please visit their Facebook page: Ho'olaule'a (Gathering Celebration) for The Food Pantry.

 Please bring a potluck dish to share.

The cause is to benefit the food pantry by people bringing non-perishable goods/canned as a ticket for admission.

What To Collect:
The list of most needed items include the following:
Canned meats (Spam, beef stew, tuna, chicke
Canned vegetables
Canned fruits
All boxed pastas
Peanut butter
powdered milk
bulk rice and sugar

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Okazuya Night!

It's countdown to Turkey Day and who wants to make a complicated mid-week meal?  With the overcast skies, nothing says comfort like Japanese okazuya style kaukau!  Whereever you grew up in Hawai'i  Nei - chances are there was a local Okazuya - or Japanese style take-out place nearby. The Okazuya grew out of the need to have freshly prepared food field workers could pick up first thing in the morning that could stay fresh and safe without refrigeration. Since many Japanese men came to Hawai'i without wives initially, some enterprising folks would wake up hours before dawn to prepare the meats, rice and vegetables for their obento (lunch box).

Salmon Tofu Patties w/lemon dill sauce
Tonight, I took a slight twist to some old faves - first salmon tofu patties - traditionally prepared with canned salmon, tofu, green onions and egg. I added some capers, dill and a touch of Dijon mustard.  On the side, I created a lemon dill dipping sauce made with a greek yogurt base.

Furikake Fried Tofu
Next - fried furikake tofu.  I first coated the tofu with mochiko (rice flour), dipped them in an egg/shoyu mixture, then tossed them in panko furikake crumbs and quickly pan fried them - ono!

Cook up some rice, add some pickled or stir-fried  veggies and you are all set! You can find these recipes on the recipes page - brok' da mout!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Netane Poly Pride - Performing for Polamalu Benefit Luau in Pittsburgh Tonight!

Several of our prolific FB ohana have been posting about a trip up to Pittsburgh for the Troy Polamalu Benefit Luau.  They're braving the cold, a plane ride with out food or beverage service and long practice hours - for no pay!  But according to Musician Extraordinaire Elika Kaiwi - it's all worth it - see his post below:
Aloha sis, no pilikea. I work for Netane Polynesian Production out of Orlando. We call ourselves the Hawaiian Rhythm. Fiji is performing as well as Spawn Breeze. This is our second performance for Troy Polamalu. The last time was in 2012. This is a benefit to support the children in Samoa to get supplies for sports and education. We are not getting paid for our performance or practice. We get travel room and board and meals. Honestly it's more of an honor to help support his cause, but meeting him in person and getting to jam again with him and Fiji after the event is awesome. Love and hugs, Elika
Here are a couple of links if you would like to kokua - mahalo to the Netane Ohana for supporting such a great cause! Polamalu Benefit Luau Make A Donation