The Bottom Line
If you're looking for a cookbook, this is not the book for you. If, however, you are looking for an excellent historical perspective on the foods of Hawaii and their ethnic origins, buy this book.
- Excellent history of Hawaiian food.
- Narrative style makes for easy reading.
- Fine glossary of Hawaiian food terms.
- Somewhat lacking in actual recipes.
- Could have used more illustrations.
- Paperback: 304 pages; Dimensions (in inches): 0.84 x 8.29 x 9.27
- Publisher: University of Hawaii Press; ISBN: 0824817788; (August 1996)
- More than 150 recipes, photographs, a bibliography of Hawaii's cookbooks, and an extensive glossary.
- Winner of the 1997 Jane Grigson Prize for Distinguished Scholarship, Julia Child Cookbook Awards.
- Part personal memoir, part historical narrative, and part cookbook.
Guide Review - "The Food of Paradise" by Rachel Laudan
More than just a cookbook, The Food of Paradise is a well-researched historical account of how the various foods found in Hawaii are derived from the foods of the various ethnic groups that have settled in the islands and then often developed into something uniquely Hawaiian.
For Hawaiians-by-birth and Hawaiians-at-heart, this book provides an excellent insight into such unique island favorites such as crack seed, mochi, the plate lunch, shave ice and Spam.
If there is any downside to the book, it is that the actual recipes presented are often not as good as found elsewhere. Recipes, however, are not the main focus of this book. While recipes can be found elsewhere, not so the excellent background information provided by Ms. Laudan.