Monday, February 18, 2008

Pumplini Picnic

My dad was usually charged with cooking breakfast on Sunday's before church. I don't exactly know how this came about but for as long as my memory stretches, if there were a hot meal on Sunday it was produced by my dad. These meals usually consisted of onions, green peppers and some sort of meat wrapped in egg omelet's slathered in salsa; mile high stacks of pancakes bathed in butter and topped with fruit jams—guava, lilikoi, or passion fruit—with sides of portuguese sausage; and on some Sundays when we were lucky enough to find ourselves in a particularly poor state he'd fry up pumplini's.

Pumplini's are apparently one of those poor foods that grew into tradition and live on in a culture as a favored food by those lucky enough to have lived through hard times and yet were young enough in those times that a families love and a warm meal, no matter how meager, were enough to make bright those times of stress and hardship. As far as I know, my grandma brought with her the pumplini from hardships of Puerto Rico to Hawaii where an independent farmers life allowed her to pass the pumplini to my father. My father was able to pass it to me during some difficult financial stages of our family. By then though, it had already transcended the food of the poor to the food of a family. And so I'm able to pass the spirit of the pumplini on to my daughters.

Pumplini's, my dad says, is spanish for 'small bread' or 'pan bread'. It's the most basic of breads that you can fry or cook over an open flame. It can be made from just a couple of cups of flour, baking soda, salt and water. Mixed into a dough you fry it in shallow oil. If you're feeling rich you can add an egg, half a cup of sugar, milk instead of water and even a touch of vanilla to round out the flavor.

1 comment:

jen said...

Lemme tell you, those Pumplinis were awesome! You eat them split open like a biscuit with butter and jelly and they are absolutely delicious!