I love Eggs Benedict! Anywhere I go if Eggs Benedict is on the menu I will order it! The problem often is that many places don’t make authentic Eggs Benedict. Instead of making the hollandaise from egg yolks, butter, dried mustard, and fresh lemon juice, they make it from a powdered mix. Anyone who loves Eggs Benedict knows this deception the instant the sauce is on the tongue… too thin, too bland… a hollandaise that is not itself!
So on one trip from Kona to the City of Refuge I stopped for breakfast at a small place which was literally clinging to the side of a hill called The Coffee Shack. Without a doubt and with no equivocation I can say that the Coffee Shack serves the best Eggs Benedict in all of Hawaiʻi… well, at least the places in Hawaiʻi that I have been to! When I took my first bite I knew they had made the sauce from scratch but I asked the waitress to please find out for me if that was so. And it was! No wretched, fake hollandaise sauce served at the Coffee Shack, the home of authenticity!
Authenticity; I think we all yearn for it. One of my prime reasons for entering monastic life was to find out who I am and to find out how to authentically be me. I believe that the struggle for authenticity is a spiritual one, although this does not mean the struggle to do whatever the hell I please in life. Any truly spiritual effort is the struggle to be in harmony with others, with God, and with what God wants of me and my life in my relations with others.
Having seen on my five trips to Hawaiʻi so much evidence of Western culture’s contamination in Hawaiʻi. One need only walk down Kalākaua Avenue in Waikīkī and see the sheer number of stores pandering to high-end extravagance! I suspect the challenge that the Hawaiian people face in their struggle for the authenticity of being themselves is not so much one of money, jobs, or possessions but the possible loss of their spiritual orientation of Aloha, of other-centeredness. Western culture unabashedly preaches a gospel of Self, the pursuit of self, the gratification of self. And ironically the pursuit of self in such an all-out narcissistic way prevents one from discovering that self’s authenticity. The day that the Coffee Shack serves Eggs Benedict with a hollandaise made from that horrible powdered mix will be the day that I know Hawaiʻi is in danger of losing its soul!