We are celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month all through May. We recognize and are thankful for the many contributions, achievements, and influence the AAPI community has and continues to have on American history and culture. Each week we will be posting two fun and educational ways to learn and celebrate members of the AAPI community. This week we are highlighting the Pacific Island region.

Hurricane Popcorn

For my first culinary adventure into the Pacific Islands, I decided to try one of the favorite snacks of the locals of Hawai’i. The new book by Chef Sheldon Simeon caught my eye. It is called Cook Real Hawai’i. What I found myself loving about this book is the personal tone he took in writing it. He gives the reader/cook personal touches in each recipe allowing you to make them while also making you feel a part of the food history.

For this recipe, he described sneaking in movie theaters that didn’t provide Hurricane popcorn and bringing furikake and arare (rice crackers) and making it themselves! He described it as the hot buttery kernels we know and love but with roasted sesame seeds, crispy roasted seaweed and a savory sweetness. Click the link below for detailed instructions.

Tapa cloth

There are various local names for the word tapa, but it originates from Tahiti, and it refers to bark cloth. The making of bark cloth can be found throughout the Pacific Islands. The Tapa cloth is used for an assortment of home (i.e. clothing or floor mats) and ceremonial purposes. The process of making tapa involves soaking and beating tree bark. Mulberry and Fig trees are what is used most often. Then designs are applied using stencils, paints, and dyes. Tapa cloth making is usually done in groups as it can be labor intensive. Traditional tapa cloths are still made and can even be purchased. Try your hand at creating a replica of a tapa cloth by clicking the link below. These instructions are brought to us courtesy of the Rotorua Library TE AKA MAURI of New Zealand.

Please feel free to share if you make one or both the Hurricane popcorn or the Tapa cloth. We would love to know how they turned out. You can share with us by commenting below, on our social media using #kckpl, or you can email us directly at cmcgee@kckpl.org or mwolford@kckpl.org. We look forward to sharing many more ways to celebrate AAPI Month with you all!

–Chantel & Maddie from Main Library