In 2007 I spent two weeks by myself on Kauaʻi. On two different evenings during my stay I went to Kilohana for dinner and on both occasions had the most perfect meal of my life! Seating was in an open-air lānai with a gentle breeze flowing through. The table linens were crisp, the service was excellent and the food was… wow!
I appreciate good food; I am, myself, a decent cook. I am amazed and revolted by the proliferation in our country of “fast food” and have been horrified to see it in Hawaiʻi as well! I know people who, because of a constant diet of fast food, do not know how to cook or who think that “cooking” is using the microwave to defrost and warm frozen meals!
And yet, being alive is about more than just feeding and growing our bodies. We are most alive, most ourselves, most human and most spiritual when the heart learns how to break out of the prison of its own self-centeredness and self-preoccupation. Kuleana, it seems to me, is the recognition of this.
At the heart of kuleana is the recognition that there is something greater than oneself, something to which one owes a certain relationship of respect and responsibility… to others, to the Hawaiian culture, to God. With that kind of mindset at the heart of Hawaiian culture it’s no wonder the food was so good at Kilohana… twice!