Cooking With Myra: Hawaiian meal easy to make
By Myra Starkey
June 12, 2012 at 1:12 a.m.
When I was growing up, we spent our summer vacations in Florida. Some of my relatives lived there, and we combined time at the beach with seeing extended family near Pensacola.
My parents rented a beach house on Santa Rosa Island, which is across the bridge from Pensacola. We usually stayed a week, or if we were really lucky, maybe two weeks, but no matter how long we stayed, it was never enough time for me. Even to this day, when I think of going on a summer vacation, I hope it involves the beach.
I have always loved the water and the sand. I love to walk along the beach as the waves come in looking for shells and squishing my toes in the creamy white sand. As a little girl, I loved it when my Dad would take me out in the deep water for a swim.
The definition of deep water was that my dad could touch the bottom, but as a 6-year-old, I could not. I would bob up and down with the waves and he would toss me up high just in time to body surf for a few feet.
I could swim like a fish and so he was not worried I would drown, but I am quite sure my mom was probably alarmed. Since I was the oldest of the three daughters and fearless in the water, I got to spend a lot of time "in the deep."
As my sisters and I grew older, each of us was allowed to invite one friend to go on the vacation. My parents had probably discovered that if we were entertained with friends we would not complain and so the extra three girls on family vacations were a small price to pay.
As we developed into teenagers, the six of us on the beach tended to draw some attention from the local boys, particularly since we all wore bikinis from sun up to sundown every day.
Some of the guys from town were surfer-types and gave me a few lessons. To clarify what I mean by a surfer-type, that is a person who is very tan, always wears beach clothes, generally has longer sun-bleached hair and seems very laid back and never in a rush to do anything.
Anyway, the waves were never very big, so I just had fun sitting on my board out "in the deep" waiting for the big one. I seem to remember a lot of sitting and talking to the boys and not much surfing, so I must have never mastered the sport. Or perhaps it was that Pensacola was not really a good place to surf, but only a good place to pretend that you were a surfer-type.
Last fall, I attended a Habitat for Humanity meeting with a few friends. Our goal was to come up with a fundraiser. Habitat is an organization that provides affordable housing for those who are in need. They have built about 70 houses in our town so far.
The families have to work on the house with the other volunteers while it is being built and then pay Habitat back for their house. The house loans are interest free. Habitat then takes that money and uses it to build more houses for other families. And the money Habitat makes from donations and fundraisers allows that many more houses to be built.
Most of us probably don't think home ownership is such a big deal, but I have really seen it transform the lives of these families who never thought owning their own home was a possibility.
At the meeting, we were sitting around the table at Cindy's house (the executive director) and throwing out ideas. Dances, dinner, raffles, live auctions . all these ideas had been used over and over again. So, we decided we needed something different.
I had just seen the inspiring movie "Soul Surfer" on DVD and said, "Hey, let's get that girl from the movie . the one from Hawaii who survived the shark attack and went on to compete in all sorts of surfing championships."
I think most everyone thought it was a good idea, but probably not achievable for our small city.
A few days later Cindy called me with good news. Bethany Hamilton had agreed to come to Victoria, and we set a date. The underwriting was easy because almost anyone we asked wanted to be part of the event. My friend, Sharon, starting working on the details along with a committee and before I knew it, the event was planned.
Bethany will be here at 7 p.m. Thursday. The event is at Faith Family Church and there are still a few tickets available. Chris Cobler, editor of the Advocate, and I will be emcees. I think that her talk will be truly awesome.
Bethany grew up in Hawaii surfing, and she was very competitive in the sport. If you haven't seen the movie and don't know the story already, a shark bit off her left arm when she was 13. She nearly bled to death.
Once she recovered, she had to learn how to do everything with one arm, including cooking and all the usual things around the house. She refused to give up on surfing because she had such a love for it.
She also did not lose her passion to compete, and she went on to win the women's national championship in 2005. In 2007, she turned pro and has excelled at that level in surfing contests all around the world. What a testimony she is for overcoming adversity.
I found out that Bethany likes to cook, and she sent a recipe for macadamia nut pesto made with basil, nuts, garlic and olive oil.
I prepared the recipe and used it as a spread for corn on the cob and it was delicious.
To complete my Hawaiian meal, I also prepared a grilled pork tenderloin and pineapple served with a cilantro-mango salsa. I know that if I only eat like she does, I could be wearing a bikini and surfing in no time.
Myra Starkey lives in Victoria. Write her in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77901, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.