Māʻona Community Garden does a community imu three times a year: Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter. Reservations for turkey spaces are made online. One drops off their turkey in a covered roasting pan the afternoon before the holiday; Māʻona handles all the imu prep and loading and unloading; then the kālua turkeys are ready for pick up the next morning. All they ask for is a donation. I had seen flyers and announcements in the past but never considered it until talking to Chantal while at the garden this year. One of the things we talked about was the amount of single use aluminum pans and foil. Very frustrating: Uncleanable and unrecyclable... Not. Sustainable. At. All. They were experimenting with different covered roasting pans and attributes: reusable, durable, affordable, need to be able to wire shut, easy to handle/carry (especially when hot), and then trying to encourage people to invest in one. I offered to make a pāpale to give as a lucky drawing prize for the people who bring their turkeys in reusable pans as a sort of reward for doing the right thing. Chantal thought keeping it a surprise until turkey pick-up time would be fun. There ended up being two prizes. A pāpale made of lauhala from Māʻona and a young ʻulu tree.
We planned to just have one pāpale and if it didn't fit the winner they could give it as a gift. I like options. I try to give options. I ended up having a couple pāpale of different size and style and intended to let the winner choose. The winner picked the largest head sized pāpale. I told them I would donate the other one if they do a lucky drawing for the reusable pan people again for the Christmas imu. Hopefully that will get people excited about reusable roasting pans. I found my stainless steel roaster EUC (Excellent Used Condition) on eBay for $63 shipping included. The lid is also a pan. I can use it as a covered roaster or two open pans. I lucked out. I've seen similar ones online for $90 and up.
We had a lovely dinner with my parents. I have mixed feelings about the origins of "Thanksgiving Day" though. We seem to completely overlook the white washing and minimizing of the genocide of Native Americans. I like the concept of giving thanks and dining with loved ones. I'm saddened by the attrition of native populations and their cultures. I do what I can to respect and preserve. On this day, and most others, I choose to focus on gratitude and using my powers for good. Hope you and yours have a Happy Thanksgiving and Holiday Season.
UPDATE: Una of Kuaiwi Farm (organic since 1977) won but decided on the other pāpale so the Killian golf cap in the pic above will be a prize for another "reusable pan lucky drawing" at the next Māʻona Community Garden imu.