While your travel plans may be on hold, you can pretend youâre somewhere new for the night. Around the World at Home invites you to channel the spirit of a new place each week with recommendations on how to explore the culture, all from the comfort of your home.
Beyond the palm trees and mai tais is the Hawaii many tourists never come to know: islands with enduring traditions of myth and storytelling, home to endangered species, taro fields, and beaches where surfing doesnât require a board and the smoky scent of kalua pig wafts through the night.
Yet with a few easy-to-find items you can discover Hawaiiâs breathtaking biodiversity wherever you are, savor the flavors and music of the archipelago, make fragrant flower lei and virtually gather friends and family for an island-inspired Thanksgiving around your own table.
Grab some liquid smoke and roast kalua pig
âThe best way to conjure Hawaii is to whip out the liquid smoke to kalua some pig, set Spotify to search Ledward Kaapanaâs slack-key guitar, call on your old friends to talk story and keep your hands busy,â said Melanie Ide, the president and chief executive of the Bishop Museum, the natural and cultural history museum in Honolulu.
But first, the pig. âThereâs really nothing easier or better to go alongside your turkey for a long Thanksgiving eating weekend,â said Ms. Ide. Her ingredients: Pork butt or shoulder with skin and fat, rock salt (ideally, alaea salt) and liquid smoke, which she said was available in grocery stores. âPierce the meat with a fork, drizzle with liquid smoke, rub with salt, wrap in foil and roast,â she said. Use banana leaves instead of foil if possible (or put the skin of a green banana in the roasting pan), and cook at 300 degrees for several hours. Shred when done. (If you canât get liquid smoke, a New York Times Cooking recipe uses smoked paprika.)
Kalua pig can be enjoyed any time of day. For breakfast, Ms. Ide recommends kalua pig benedict garnished with scallions. For lunch, a pulled pork burrito. And dinner? âEat it straight up with an extra sprinkle of Hawaiian salt, raw onion and poi, or fresh hot rice,â she said.
Island hop, page by page
Hawaii âemerges as a damaged paradise â a place of violent, magical beauty,â wrote the critic Michiko Kakutani about Susanna Mooreâs early novels (âMy Old Sweetheart,â âThe Whiteness of Bonesâ). For a history of the archipelago where Ms. Moore grew up, consider âParadise of the Pacific.â
Speaking of childhoods in Hawaii, Mr. Obamaâs âDreams From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritanceâ takes readers to the islands of his youth and beyond. (An essay in The Times, âWant to Be Less Racist? Move to Hawaiiâ and a follow-up piece, âIs Hawaiiâs Racial Harmony a Myth?,â explore the islands and racial identity.) âA Promised Land,â another memoir by Mr. Obama, was published this month.
The islands have inspired generations of writers (Mark Twain among them), though âone of the best ways to learn and think Hawaiian is to read a proverb a dayâ from âÊ»Ålelo NoÊ»eau: Hawaiian Proverbs & Poetical Sayings,â said Ms. Ide. The book is also on Honolulu magazineâs thoughtful list, â50 Essential Hawaiâi Books You Should Read in Your Lifetime.â
Become an armchair volcanologist
Peer (safely) into the calderas of volcanoes with webcams, curriculum materials and science podcasts on the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park website. Along the way, meet locals like the Hawaiian hawksbill turtle and the wild nÄnÄ (goose), and listen to the dawn chorus.
Make a flower lei
Few things can lift your spirits while stuck at home better than fresh flowers and creating something by hand. In Hawaii, flower lei are often given at celebrations and, as the Hawaii Tourism Authority puts it, âare considered symbols of status when used in traditional ceremonies.â And, of course, they are also used to welcome people to Hawaii and say farewell when they go. To learn how to make your own, check out âHawaiian Lei Making: A Step-by-Step Guideâ by Laurie Shimizu Ide, (no relation to Ms. Ide at the Bishop Museum) or try Maui NÅ Ka Ê»Oi Magazineâs online instructions. On YouTube, Kuana Torres Kahele, a musician and hula practitioner, will teach you how to make a haku-style lei.
Stream a family getaway
Transport yourself to the shores of Hawaii with feel-good films. For families with young children, Walt Disney Picturesâ âLilo and Stitch,ââ a Times Criticâs Pick, in which a creature from another planet lands in Hawaii, is an ode to family, or ohana, and a fun introduction to the islands, especially when paired with National Geographicâs docuseries âWild Hawaiiâ (both on Disney Plus). Follow a descendant of Hawaiian royalty as he comes to grips with his land and grief in âThe Descendants,â an Academy Award winner and another Times Criticâs Pick. Or go back in time to 1918 with the acclaimed âPicture Bride,â about a teenager from Japan who travels to Hawaii for an arranged marriage, directed by Honolulu-born Kayo Hatta and co-written with her sister, Mari Hatta.
How are you going to channel the spirit of Hawaii in your home? Share your ideas in the comments.
Stephanie Rosenbloom, the author of âAlone Time: Four Seasons, Four Cities, and the Pleasures of Solitudeâ (Viking), has been writing travel, business and styles features for The Times for nearly two decades. Twitter: @Stephronyt. Instagram: @StephanieRosenbloom
Originally posted on https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/24/travel/hawaii-vacation-at-home.html