Holding Hands

Nā Pono No Nā ‘Ohana’s IMU January 10, 2011

Nā Pono No Nā ‘Ohana’s IMU January 10, 2011

Nā Pono No Nā ‘Ohana (Family Education) – treated all their families and the homeless on Waimanalo Beach to a traditional holiday kalua Turkey. The staff built a contemporary Imu (underground oven) and cooked a kalua turkey for each family. The word kalua refers to the process of cooking in an earth oven (ka, the; lua, hole).

The staff dug a pit with sloping sides, into the earth keep the imu as compact as possible. Excavated dirt was placed next to the pit to be used later to cover the imu. Next, they gathered kindling material, like twigs, small branches, and any other combustible tinder and placed the kindling material in the bottom center of the pit. Larger wood was built around the kindling wood. Stones where positioned on top of the larger wood. The kindling wood was lighted and the blazing fire heated the pit and the stones
Since the cooking process requires steam and not dry heat, green plant materials were needed to create the steam for imu cooking. The staff used the traditional plants of banana stumps and banana leaves. The common term used today to describe the green vegetation material and its use is hali’i, which is used to mean “to spread like the mat covering the floor”.

The banana stumps were pounded with a rock to break up the fibers and to release the moisture in the stumps. Each family prepared a turkey to be cooked, the skin and the inside cavity area rubbed with a small amount of rock salt.

When the heated stones were ready, imu was layered with green vegetation, food, covering material, and dirt. The first layer of hali’i is laid directly over the hot rocks to prevent the food from being scorched and to create steam for cooking food covering material is then laid over the imu. The final layer is loose dirt, which is shoveled over the entire covering material to prevent any steam from escaping.

The next day the staff returned, brushed away any loose dirt from the edges of the covering material. Removed the dirt and carefully lifted off the covering material of the imu. The layers of hali’i were uncovered, the Turkey’s lifted out, and the families drove up to get their Holiday Kalua Turkey. Extra turkey’s were cooked were delivered to he homeless at Waimanalo Beach Park.

All that was left for the staff to do was clean up and celebrate spending time together serving our families and learning about the Hawaiian culture.