Have a luau! Here’s how to put on a real Hawaiian party (1961)
by Anne Mohr – Quad-City Times (Davenport, Iowa) July 23, 1961
Why not go native at your next party with a Hawaiian luau? It’s now officially as American as a New England clambake.
Complete with all the trimmings — roast pig, tropical fruit salads, a Hawaiian punch, watermelon and a strictly native decor — a luau makes for informal, offbeat summertime fun. It lends itself to a unique backyard barbecue or a fun-on-the-beach party.
Originally a traditional Hawaiian feast held on occasions such as the first birthday of a child or a wedding, the feast gets its name from the taro leaf. A luau is literally a taro leaf, but in island parlance, it has come to signify a native feast. The taro leaf is used to wrap much of the food in the Hawaiian feast.
Today, luaus have spread throughout the states, and blend ideally into America’s pattern of casual, outdoor entertaining.
The center of any luau feast is the roast pig. The uniqueness of roasting the pig yourself makes for much of the fun of the party and usually turns it into an all day affair. A 75-pound pig takes about 10 hours to roast, and should be done over a large barbecue or pit. However, pigs can be purchased especially prepared for luaus by commercial establishments and can also be pre-baked…
The rest of the menu can be varied, but should include tropical fruit salad with plenty of fresh pineapple, naturally, a Hawaiian or fruit punch, and watermelon, along with potato chips and dip.
Keep the scene tropical with an informal and colorful atmosphere that blends with the luau spirit. You can decorate your patio with colored lights and streamers, with accents of fresh flowers. Music will do much to keep the mood of the party, if you don’t have a friend who plays the ukelele or guitar, stack the record player with island music.
Keep service to a minimum by serving cafeteria-style from a table that can be decorated with a green cloth or paper tablecloth. Use colored paper plates, cups and napkins.
For a table centerpiece, fill a horn of plenty or a native hat (which can be purchased at a novelty or drug store) with coconuts, bananas, melons, pineapples and other fresh fruits, and dot with fern or palm leaves if possible.
Eat at low tables and sit on the ground. Make sure your guests come native too — with beachcombers, clam diggers, Bermudas, shorts, muumuus or “aloha” shirts, the costume of the day.
Leis are a must for your guests. You can make paper leis or use floral leis. The gift of a lei expresses joy, welcome or farewell, and when placed around the neck of a guest or friend, is customarily rewarded with a kiss on each cheek. Fresh leis from Hawaii can be obtained by local florists…
See more Hawaiian luau party tips and menu ideas from the ’50s, ’60s & ’70s
Hawaiian luau menu ideas from 1970
Say aloha to ho-hum parties… plan a luau! And when you’re making your plans, turn to Kraft. You can rely on Kraft’s good food ideas for an unusual and exciting menu.
1/2 cup Kraft Barbecue Sauce
1-1/2 lbs. large shrimp, cooked
1/4 cup Kraft Pure Apple Jelly
Pitted ripe olives
Fresh pineapple chunks
Gather ’round and whet your appetite on these tasty, zesty morsels. Combine Kraft Barbecue Sauce (simmers in real cookout flavor) and jelly; heat, stirring until well blended. Add shrimp; mix lightly. Cool; marinate overnight in refrigerator.
To serve, arrange shrimp, olives and pineapple on wooden picks. Makes approximately 3 dozen appetizers.
1 cup (8-1/2-oz. can) bamboo shoots, drained, sliced
3 hard-cooked eggs, cut in wedges
3/4 cup Kraft Oil and vinegar Dressing
2 cups (1-1b. can) bean sprouts, drained
4 cups (1/2 lb.) fresh spinach
1/2 cup sliced radishes
1 cup Kraft Mayonnaise
This salad tastes so special, you won’t want to wait for your next luau to serve it again. Combine bamboo shoots and 1/4 cup dressing; marinate several hours or overnight in the refrigerator.
Tear spinach in bite-size pieces into shallow salad bowl. Arrange bamboo shoots, eggs, bean sprouts and radishes on top. Chill. Combine Kraft Mayonnaise (smooth as velvet) and remaining dressing; mix until well blended. Serve with salad. 8 servings.
HILO HAM STEAK
One 1-1/2-lb. ham slice, 1-inch thick
2 tablespoons Parkay Margarine
1 1-1b. jar Fresh-Chilled Valencia Orange Sections
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon chopped candied ginger
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
2 tablespoons cornstarch
4 medium sweet potatoes cooked, peeled
Now serve up this magnificent ham, Hawaiian style. Score fat; brown meat in margarine on both sides. Drain Fresh-Chilled- Valencia Orange Sections; reserve juice. Combine juice, honey, onion, ginger, curry powder and cornstarch; mix well.
Pour over ham steak. Cover; simmer 30 minutes, basting occasionally. Add orange sections and sweet potatoes, cut in 1-inch slices; heat thoroughly. 6 servings.
1 10-oz. jar Kraft Pure Concord Grape Jelly
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 28-oz. bottle ginger ale
1 pint lime sherbet
Drink a fruit punch toast to your island evening. Combine jelly and lemon juice; mix until smooth and well blended. Stir in ginger ale. Serve in punch cups or glasses; top each with scoop of sherbet. 8 to 10 servings.
LANAI LIME PIE
4 cups Kraft Miniature Marshmallows
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
4 eggs, separated
Green food coloring
1 teaspoon lime rind
1/4 cup sugar
Here’s a pie with the real sunshine flavor of the islands. Melt Kraft Miniature Marshmallows (jet-puffed to stay soft) with lime juice in double boiler; stir until smooth. Beat in egg yolks; cook 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add few drops food coloring and lime rind; mix well. Chill.
Beat egg whites to soft peaks. Gradually add sugar, beating until stiff peaks form. Fold into lime mixture; spoon into Coconut Crust. Chill. Garnish with fresh lime slices and mint, if desired.
Coconut Crust: Combine 2 cups flaked coconut and 14 cup melted Parkay Margarine. Press into 9-inch pie plate. Bake at 300°, 25 to 30 minutes, or until evenly browned.
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Luau table is the children’s party version of traditional Hawaii outdoor feast.
For fruit… tantalizing Hawaiian dressing!
Luau party table setting
Luau table is a children’s party version of a traditional Hawaiian outdoor feast. Seated cross-legged on cushions (pin-covered in bright plastic) at low-table (3/4″ plywood 3′ x 6′ on 10″ legs), children have before then an eye-catching array of party favors: Japanese parasols, tops, yo-yos, fans, and, also to take home, their own sweetmeat tree.
Stylized fish table mats are cut from Pellon, table covering is a paper imitation of a Hawaiian stained tapa bark. Over all hangs a cluster of bright Japanese lanterns.
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