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We’ll be on Classic Jawaii for this week’s hangout. The soundtrack of this week’s Tiki Tuesday is the excellent Stereoexotique by the neo Exotica band The Tikiyaki Orchestra.
Today I’ll be talking a little bit about Victor “Trader Vic” Bergeron jr. Along with his contemporary (and chief competitor Don the Beachcomber) his restaurants were key embassies for the faux-Polynesian food and drink known as Tiki. Though Don was the first to adopt the Tiki theme, Vic was quick to see the appeal in a South Seas chain and quickly re-branded his Oakland BBQ place into “Trader Vic’s”. He and Don fought for years over who had been the originator of the immortal Mai Ta’i cocktail, with historians siding with Vic. At the height of the Polynesian craze in the 1960s, Trader Vic had restaurants all over the world. Vic had a knack for promotion, and fortunately wrote several books on food and drink that can be found used today.
Trader Vic’s did not outlive it’s founder by long, eventually being bought up by an international concern that continues to run several locations today. The drinks are good but the food is sadly not up to snuff.
This week’s recipe comes from Trader Vic’s Pacific Island cookbook, a neat artifact from ’68 that has some very nice descriptions of his travels around the world and recipes from Tahiti to Texas. For the time, there is more of a nod to ethnic ingredient authenticity in the recipes than you’d expect.
His recipe for Baked Sweet Potatoes is probably quite similar to the one seen in the post about Bahooka.
BAKED SWEET POTATOES
“Another way to serve baked sweet potatoes is to split them, mash the contents with butter, crushed pineapple, rum and seasonings, then refill the shells.
3 large uniformly shaped sweet potatoes
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup well-drained, crushed pineapple
2 teaspoons grated orange peel
2 tablespoons rum
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Was potatoes and bake until tender. Test by squeezing. When done, cut in half lengthwise carefully. Scoop out the contents and mash thoroughly. Add butter, pineapple, orange peel, rum , brown sugar and season to taste with salt and pepper. Return to shells; swirl the tops and flick each with a dash of nutmeg. Return to oven to rehead and brown on top. Serves 6.