By Request

By Betty Shimabukuro

Wednesday, February 17, 1999

By Craig T. Kojima, Star-Bulletin
Playmate School students, from left, Mansfield Lam, Andrea
Kim and Paul Roh, display copies of "Garden of Flowers.".
Behind them is the screened box for drying pipikaula..

Secret’s in the wind

Playmate School's fund-raising project is proving to be a real easy sell.

The school has published a cookbook, "Garden of Flowers," to celebrate it's 50th anniversary.

Half the 500 copies sold by word of mouth, kindergarten teacher Maureen Ko said; the rest are going so fast a second printing is already planned. And the book just came out in January.

One woman sold 50 copies -- at a funeral, Ko said. "All she did was sit there quietly in the back of the service hall and read it and people walked by and said, 'Get me one of those.' "

Recipes came from the staff, families and celebrity donors. Gov. Ben Cayetano contributed a vegetarian chili, Mayor Jeremy Harris provided a low-fat pepper and broccoli dish, U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka and Rep. Patsy Mink gave dessert recipes.

By Craig T. Kojima, Star-Bulletin
Miyo Hee Ko strings strips of salted meat for air drying.

"It surprises us how many people want it just for the diversity of the recipes," Ko said.

Playmate School is a kindergarten, day-care center and grade school headquartered in a 100-year-old tudor house tucked in among the highrises on the mauka end of Keeaumoku Street. It was founded by Ko's mother, Miyo Hee Ko, "as a place to put her seven children," Ko said.

Five of the children still work for the school, as does Miyo Ko. "She comes to work before me and leaves after I do," her daughter said.

The cookbook project was chosen to mark the anniversary because it allowed everyone in the school to participate. "We did it because the teachers especially thought it would be so much fun to do. The children really enjoyed it. We told them it would make them famous." Among the many recipes is Miyo Ko's pipikaula, in time to grant the separate requests of T. Tremaine Fase and Kathy King, who yearn to dry up a couple batches.

Pipikaula is traditionally dried outdoors, in a screened box to keep out flies. "A lot of people think the sun is the important thing to dry the meat, but actually it's not, it's the wind," Maureen Ko says. So you can put meat out on a cloudy day -- just not in the rain.

It can also be dried in a dehydrator or an oven at low heat. "Favorite Island Cookery," the Hongpa Hongwanji Hawaii Betsuin's venerable cookbook series, recommends baking in a 200 degree oven for five hours, turning once.



1-1/2 pounds beef tenderloin
2 tablespoons coarse salt

Pound meat to tenderize, then cut into strips about 2 inches wide. Mix in salt and let stand 30 minutes. Hang in a screened box, outdoors, for 1-2 days. Pinch to test for doneness: Should be dry and leathery outside, still moist inside. Slice and fry in butter before eating.

Or, use an electric dehydrator on highest setting, overnight or until done.

Bullet Variation: Rub meat with crushed garlic. Discard garlic. Combine 1/2 cup soy sauce, scant 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1 tablespoon lemon juice and rub into the meat. Follow the remaining directions above.

Bullet Nutritional information unavailable.


Garden of Flowers

Cookbook marking Playmate School's 50th anniversary
Bullet Cost: $13
Bullet Call: 536-6442

Send queries along with name and phone number to:
By Request, Honolulu Star-Bulletin Food Section,
P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu 96802.
Or send e-mail to

Asterisk (*) after nutritional analyses in the
Body & Soul section indicates calculations by
Joannie Dobbs of Exploring New Concepts,
a nutritional consulting firm.

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