Pau Hana



Phoebe Wyoming | Illustration by Guy Junker

pau hanaAloha, my darlings! It’s been ages since I appeared in these pages. I offer my deepest apology for seeming to blow you off. But winds of loli, or change, have been gusting through my life, and I’ve been a bit blown away myself.

You may remember my indispensable man-in-waiting, Giles, from earlier misadventures. You may also remember Giles’s prowess in the kitchen (and other rooms, I dare say). Well, during one breathtaking picnic out in Kaupo, my seared-ahi-and-sweet-chile-cream-on-a-crisp-wonton and I caught a blast of wind and tumbled, tuna over teakettle, down a ravine! After dislodging lumps of lava from my nooks and crevices, I looked up at Giles and said, without an ounce of oopsy-daisy, “We should start a catering company.”

Phoebe, you no doubt are thinking, didn’t you consider that the fall might have clouded your judgment? (No.) Why would anyone give up a life of whirlwind social engagements to embark upon a manually labor-intensive business? (Please. I am not just anyone.) What became of your pupu? (I wrested it away from a petrel as Giles helped me clamber back up the crevasse, flicked a bit of sea schmutz from it and ate it.)

Giles and I debuted professionally as Phoebe’s Phinest Phood, and our success was, of course, phenomenal. Folks couldn’t resist our combination of gustable goodies and impeccable service. But pendulous clouds soon gathered upon the proverbial horizon. I may have been overheard asking things like, “The bride wants what?” or “The party is in the crater?” or even “How does one artfully describe squid lu‘au?” Mainland clients thought nothing of calling me at  3 a.m. to consult on parties planned for their return. Delicacies that had debuted at one event had to be topped at the next.  Meanwhile, instead of gently rousing me in the morning with my customary Bloody Maui, Giles sweated over intricate dinner menus from long before the sun rose over our manse in Ha‘iku, leaving me to flounder from beneath the flannels on my own.

In short, what had begun as a blow to the bean became a pain in the posterior. The work was unceasing, stifling. After a year of gale-force galas, I came up for air to find “Ph3,” which I had charmingly dubbed our venture, surrounded by an anxious economy. Our business, like so many on Maui and elsewhere, blew hot and cold, hiccupping only at the last moment to spare us delinquency on the bills.

As things changed, I looked back upon those days I had spent dutifully writing to my worshipful public and began to fear that I had forsaken my most important duty in the service of my famous Haupia Delights. Poised at the precipice once more, I caught a breath of sweet Maui air. A representative of this very same magazine approached me while I was up to my creamy shoulders in a lilikoi sauce (a delicious visual, I know). This particular personage phoned and asked if I would return to have, as they say, the final word. After the briefest of pauses, and a good belt of an expensive (and leftover) brut, I leapt at the opportunity.

Our company continues to rise and fall with the tides of commerce and the everyday squalls we all face, but I know we’ll get through it together. The storms have already begun to become trades, gently carrying me into your embrace. Loli is in the air.

And you know, darlings . . . I have a lot cooking.


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