To kick-off our week into the Pacific Autumn, I have to say – I love the idea of Hawaiian Tuna Steaks. When you think about it – It draws in ideas of tropical foods: Tuna that been marinaded in pineapple juice, with a side of avocado slices. Sounds like an island dream?
Well, that is in fact, a dream. It may be a running joke with this site; but every “traditional” recipe we think of is full of ingredients that could not have existed where they are without either colonization or migration. In the case of Hawaii; the avocado and pineapple are part of that bundle.
Origins of the (not) Ingredients
The pineapple comes from South America. It’s not certain when it arrived in Hawaii, but it’s believed to have arrived in 1770, with the first documented case of it being 1820 by missionaries. They wouldn’t be known for commercially producing pineapples until 1899 with the Dole company. From there, pineapples became linked to Hawaiian culture, but it isn’t Hawaiian in origin.
Avocados came to Hawaii in 1855, with trees from Guatemala. Because of Hawaii’s weather and temperatures, the avocado thrived. Multiple species emerged, along with a massive industry which fed the remainder of North America, due to the larger sized avocados.
What we could have used
We could have used Bananas in this dish, which would have been a nice addition (Fried bananas anyone?). We’ve talked about bananas before. We love Bananas in this house, for the most part. But unlike the two formers, bananas weren’t originally from the Islands – BUT, they were brought over much earlier on, specifically, 300-500 c.e. This means, by the time of colonialism, it was an established crop, which makes it a naturalized, migrated food good.
Then of course, Coconuts. Coconuts follow no laws, and have origin stories anywhere there is water. They can be what they want and where.
Finally, we could have used pig, which was brought to Hawaii by the Polynesians also, however, we decided to use Tuna, which is a staple of pacific dishes.
4 out of 5 stars
Here is the moment where you all learn I’m a bit of a finicky eater. I’m rarely not, but there is a thing about fish that I don’t always like. It’s not that I don’t like fish; I just don’t like eating thick fish. I constantly feel like it’s raw and it will kill me. Call it the midwestern gal in me. However, I feel confident that I cooked this all the way and I really enjoyed it. I would have liked the more modern aspects with avocado; but it was great without it.
4 out of 5 stars
Tonight’s meal was amazing! We had quite a bit of trouble figuring out a recipe with it being a very remote island and all. We had discussed doing pork, but we have done so many land-based meats and we decided that it is an island, thus surround by water and fish. And I am happy that we went with the tuna. It pairs very well with the sweet potatoes. The only issue that I really had with the meal was the sweet potatoes, and I think that is because they weren’t covered in olive oil. But I still very much enjoyed it.