Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Road to Hell Is Paved With Sticky Buns

This may have come to your attention already, but I am spoiled. I prefer to think of it as deeply indulged, but, really, that’s a polite way of saying spoiled.

In a couple of weeks, we’re going to Kauai. It’s a house on the north shore my parents have rented for several years, a short walk from a serene, turquoise lagoon. And usually when they rent it, they ask me “do you want to come stay with us?” It’s not a trick question. They really are asking if I want to grab my kids and go stay in the house they’ve rented in Hawaii (No. I am not loaning my parents out.). They don’t seem to have fully caught on to the fact that I am only waiting to say yes before they finish speaking because I am trying not to be rude. The answer is always: (with me barely managing not to jump up and down) yesyesyesyesyes. YES.
Kauai’s north shore gets a good deal more rain than the south end, but really, rain in Kauai is better than watery sunshine and forty degrees in Seattle, and in any case, the surpassing, transcendent beauty of the north shore makes it absurd to complain that it’s not sunbathing weather (I don't really have the patience to sunbathe, anyway.). Also- unless the water is all murky, in which case I have to admit that, like a complete wuss, I get all shark creeped out- you can surf in the rain and Hanalei Bay may well be the most scenic surf spot, ever. You can walk on the beach in the rain. You can snorkel in the rain. All might involve a hot drink and change of clothes after, but unless you’re wearing some dry-clean only resort-wear (unlikely in Hanalei), it’s no big deal. And, you can go to the Kilauea bakery in the rain.

The Kilauea bakery is in Kilauea. Not the Kilauea crater, which is on the Big Island, but Kilauea, Kauai. They have bialys, which I find endearing. One kind has bacon, if I remember correctly, so they’re not the most kosher bialys ever, but still. Bialys. It’s hard not to like a place that serves them. And they have these wonderful, wonderful sticky buns. I never really got into the sticky bun thing when my folks moved us to Pennsylvania. I don’t know why, exactly. Maybe (quite reasonably) I was suspicious because my previous regional delicacies had been scrapple and shoo fly pie. Shoo fly pie, if you've never had it (word of warning: DON'T), is a pie that besmirches the good name of pies everywhere. It makes my teeth ache, even now, thinking of the revoltingly sticky-sweet bite I had. I’m willing to go on record (again) saying that scrapple sucks. Regional, traditional foods: scrapple and shoo fly pie. And I loathe both of them. I am a failure as a food lover, but I’ve come to terms with that. As long as I continue to not have to eat scrapple.

So when I tried the Kilauea bakery’s sticky bun, I was extremely surprised to find myself devouring it, and then rummaging around in the bag to see if there were more. It’s a good thing that I often surf (okay, mostly I paddle and wipe out) when we go to Kauai, because otherwise I am fairly sure that I would gain 5 pounds in the space of a week from vacuuming up as many sticky buns as I can.

There is, however, a catch (I still get to go to Hawaii, so the catch is not exactly huge, but it is on the life-threatening side).

They’re macadamia nut sticky buns.

We found out last year, while in this same place, that Curly was violently, deathly allergic to macadamia nuts. One of my sisters innocently* bought chocolate covered macadamia nuts as a special treat (I think I may be getting aversion therapy to regional, local foods) for the kids, and Curly excitedly gobbled several up. And thus, we discovered that macadamia nuts are malicious, treacherous kernels of dooooooooom, wickedly determined to harm my little girl. Little fuckers (Sorry, Mom. But I’m pretty sure you feel the same way about them).

It took me about three days of Curly being fine to start to come out of my anxiety tree. Actually, I have no idea how many days it took. I don’t really remember. I was in a worry haze.

Recently, however, the kids and I were talking about what we were looking forward to in Kauai. And Curly mentioned the bakery. And I thought about what I like at the bakery.

I don’t think I can do it, though. Those are some delicious damn buns, but… even if I washed my mouth out with bleach (fun!), I don’t think I can bring myself to eat those things with Curly in the same state as me.
*I should come clean. My sister and her husband, who have two fantastic sons, both covet having Curly in their house, with her deranged ways and nice shoes. My sister hatched a diabolical plot to make me look like an unfit mother by feeding Curly The Pernicious Nut (child in ER! On Easter! Baaaaad mommy!), hoping for an opportunity to spirit Curly and her very cute clothes away from me for a short time. Okay, I'm lying. But she was indignant that I mentioned the whole incident (again), so I thought I would take the opportunity to slander her further. The family that slanders together... meanders together?


cook eat FRET said...

raw macadamia's and raw almonds make me sneeze, make my lips blow up and give me hives. that and raw apples and peaches - but fresh papaya is what will kill me. oh well.

any of the above cooked is fine. must be an enzyme thing. i dunno...

Meg said...

Papaya? That must have been a very, very unfortunate discovery. Is papaya okay for you to eat when cooked (although it isn't usually served cooked)?

There is an allergen in apples (and peaches. and pears) that can cause an allergic reaction when the fruit is eaten raw, but it perishes when it's cooked.

Philly Sis said...

Curly ate the entire little bag of dark chocolate covered nuts-o-doom. If she had a good mother (instead of a highly negligent and spoiled one), she would have had her candy intake monitored and this clearly wouldn't have happened. The fact that my kids were allowed to eat enough candy to kill the entire population of China has no bearing on anything. And, for the record, turning my precious niece into a balloon is NOT my idea of fun. Geez....
As for Hawaii, I now have an entire line of friends waiting for our parents to adopt them. When we arrived last year and our suitcase did not (although it did show up a few days later), the airline rep was very pleasantly surprised that I wasn't particularly upset. One, I was in Hawaii not Philly. Two, my kids' clothes arrived - and they are now large enough that their t-shirts and shorts fit me. Three, I always put a change of clothes, sandals and a bathing suit in my carry-on. Last, my husband - who is 6'3" - did NOT listen to me and pack anything in his carry-on, giving me a lovely "I told you so" moment.

Finally, as for scrapple, I couldn't agree more. I am married to a Philly native who loves the stuff. I didn't like it at first, and then I read the label. Scrapple is made from what is left over AFTER the sausage is made. The final ingredient (I kid you not) is "and other pig parts". When snout and ears are already listed, you really have to wonder why people eat the stuff. I only rarely even allow the stuff in the house now.

Meg said...

You know about the time that one of our parents brought a can of scrapple into the house? Toad and I read the label to find out what, exactly, was in it, and then he took a marker and blacked out the "s" and then the "ple."

Curly knows you wouldn't have brought the things within a mile of her if any of us had even a hint of a clue about her allergy. But you ARE very gratifying to tease.

Cote de Texas said...

Can I go with you? I've never been there before and I've always wanted to go How lucky to be able to stay in a house and not a hotel!

And thanks for your sweet comments on my blog!

Cote de Texas

bleeding espresso said...

OK I'm with you on the Scrapple, but Shoo Fly Pie? If it's made right, I absolutely love it (love sticky buns too)! Of course I think that's my Pennsylvania Dutch blood talking...but nope, didn't get the Scrapple gene. And I'm not sad.

Meg said...

Joni- Sadly, we'll be filling up the spare bedrooms there. I love staying in a house instead of a hotel, even if it does mean a few extra chores. Kauai is my favorite Hawaiian island. Not that I would turn down a trip to any.

Sognatrice- I don't want to slander shoo fly pie too much, but I'm more of a midwest girl, a place where people routinely have their not-too-sweet apple pie with a slice of (Wisconsin, of course) cheddar. The sweetness of shoo fly pie, compared to the sorts of pies I grew up with, was overwhelming. I took to cheesesteaks like a fish to water, though.