Thursday, March 12, 2009
The Carolina Conspiracy welcomes guest blogger Neil Plakcy
The Mahu Frittata
I have a Google alert set to let me know whenever my last name appears on the web. Since it’s a pretty distinctive name, shared only by an uncle and a handful of cousins, almost every alert I receive is about me, though I did learn when cousin Larry made a donation to a political cause in his hometown.
Not so the Google alert I set up for the word mahu. Since it appears in the titles of each of my books, I thought this was a clever way to catch any mention of the books that didn’t happen to include my name, or that somehow misspelled that name.
Instead, what I’ve learned is that this word, which I first heard as a negative epithet for ‘gay’ in the Hawaiian language, means so much more.
In most dialects of the Maori language, it means ‘gentle,’ and it’s the name of a natural skin care product for pregnant women in New Zealand. It’s a last name in Malaysia as well as in Canada; a girl named Kaitlyn Mahu plays basketball and always seems to be winning awards. Mahu was the chief of police of the pharaoh Aketaten, and his tomb can be found among the South Tombs at El-Amarna. He is shown “worshipping the Aten with a text of the 'Hymn to the Aten' in front of him.”
Since I still consider ‘mahu’ to mean a gay man, I thought it was pretty funny to find an online recipe for a Philippine treat called the mahu frittata—and no, it’s not a gay guy covered in egg and baked.
Apparently, there’s a Chinese delicacy in the Philippines called mahu, which means shredded dried crispy pork or chicken. The recipe included: “Mahu is delicious when eaten alone or as toppings for rice porridge. Kids love it when sprinkled on arroz caldo. Mahu is available at Chinese groceries and food shops in Chinatown.”
So there you have it. Not just a mystery novel, but a delightful, tasty treat!
Author of Mahu, Mahu Surfer, Mahu Fire, and Mahu Vice (August, 2009), mystery novels set in Hawaii.
Nominated for the 2009 Left Coast Crime/Hawaii Five-O Award (best police procedural)