Thanksgiving morning was spent with fellow volunteers in Utulei, whose host family created an umu (traditional oven) in which to cook their turkey. An umu takes about an hour to prepare and about 45 minutes to cook the turkey. Sure beats 4-5 hours slaving away in a kitchen, huh?
First, rocks are heated and placed on the ground. Then, the meat and other dishes are added. They, in turn, are covered by more rocks before adding several layers of leaves. Finally, old, wet leaves (or wet newspapers in this case) are added on top to trap the heat and smoke inside the cooking mound.
|Adding the food to the umu|
|Covering the umu with banana leaves|
|All done! Removing the hot leaves and steamed bananas (yum!)|
|Mackerel and coconut cream in coconut shells... delicious!|
|Removing the food - note the tongs (scroll down for picture)|
|A cooked turkey, and lamb shanks, and taro, and cooked green bananas|
|Doesn't it look amazing? The green are mango leaves added to enhance flavor.|
|With one of the cooks (Junior? - can't remember his name)... He was very drunk by 11am... Umu and beer go hand in hand.|