This tradition is alive and well in Hawaii today, and we have been fortunate enough to have been invited to a few of these mega-parties. Usually Baby Luaus are held at beach parks and involve copious amounts of Hawaiian food, games and bounce houses for the keiki (the Hawaiian word for children,) and plenty of beer for the grownups.
For a quick refresher on the basics of Hawaiian cuisine, I invite you to visit “A Hawaiian Afternoon Tea” in the World of Tea Parties section of myteaplanner.com. Here you will find an introduction to Spam Musubi, Poke, Kalua Pig, Edamame and Haupia, perennial favorites at every Hawaiian gathering. There are also suggestions for expanding the Hawaiian Tea Menu into a larger group event such as an Easter Brunch or a Graduation Party. These suggestions, of course, can also be applied to a Baby Luau.
Pretzels and Chips with Cheese Dip
Fresh Fruit Salad (Pineapple, Cantaloupe, Strawberries, Grapes and Bananas)
Potato and Crab Salad
Irish Soda Bread with Cream Cheese and Apple Butter
Barbecue Baked Beans
Hamburgers and Hotdogs with Buns
Grilled Marinated Chicken Legs
Grilled Marinated Steak
Marinated Vegetable Kabobs, some with Shrimp, some with Steak Cubes
After plenty of feasting with many visits back to the food tables for seconds and thirds, the guests were delighted by the arrival of the Shave Ice and Ice Cream truck. This welcome husband and wife team parked at the gate and dispensed bowls of ice cream topped with shave ice in any flavor or combination the recipient might fancy. I noticed that the adults were just as thrilled with the Shave Ice truck as the children were, but they did wait politely until all the children were served.
Birthday Cake followed quickly after the Shave Ice. With my passion for baking cakes, I was eager to volunteer for this task, and I couldn’t stop at just one Birthday Cake. I offered three choices: Three-Layer Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake with Fudge Icing, Lemon Pound Cake with Lemon Glaze and Blueberries and Hummingbird Cake with Cream Cheese Icing. I was pleased that several of the guests sampled all three. We served the cake, lighted the birthday candle and sang “Happy Birthday” indoors to avoid melted icing in the sunshine, a peril of baking layer cakes in Hawaii.
For those of you unfamiliar with Hummingbird Cake, it is a lightly spiced cake made with chopped rather than mashed bananas, crushed pineapple and chopped nuts. In the American South, Hummingbird Cake is made with toasted pecans, but I chose chopped toasted macadamia nuts for our Hawaiian Baby Luau. And I used Hawaiian Apple Bananas grown in my neighbors’ back yard. You can find a discussion and recipe for Hummingbird Cake in the Afternoon Tea for a Large Group section of myteaplanner.com.
This delicious party favorite includes only a small number of ingredients and can be made a day early and refrigerated. Also, the proportions of the ingredients can be adjusted according to your own preferences. If your family loves mayonnaise, feel free to double the amount listed in this recipe. The same goes for the olives, peas and all of the other items included in this potato salad. This recipe will feed about twenty as a side dish, but you can double it for an even larger group.
- 5 pounds of russet potatoes, peeled, cut into chunks and boiled until tender (about 20 minutes)
- 12 large eggs, boiled, peeled and chopped
- 1 pound of imitation crab (or fresh crab, boiled, shelled and picked over)
- 1 (one pound) package frozen petit peas, thawed
- 1 (fifteen ounce) can pitted black olives, drained and sliced
- 1-2 cups mayonnaise
- salt and pepper to taste
- chopped flat leaf parsley
Makes: about 20 servings
Special equipment: 2 large pots for boiling the potatoes and eggs, paring knife, large spoon for mixing, extra large mixing bowl, large attractive serving bowl
- Boil the eggs and refrigerate them in an ice bath. Peel, chop and boil the potatoes until tender. Drain and set aside to cool. While the potatoes cool, peel and chop the eggs, thaw the peas and slice the olives.
- Assemble all of the prepared ingredients in an extra large mixing bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the imitation crab and mayonnaise. Start with 1 cup of mayonnaise, stir and add more if you want a creamier texture.
- Arrange the salad in a large attractive serving bowl. Sprinkle the top with paprika. Then sprinkle chopped flat leaf parsley decoratively around the outside edge of the salad. Serve immediately, or refrigerate until ready to serve.