There once were potatoes from Maui
They had cheese and cream and were Yummy
-ancient Canadian Hymn
The Polynesian Islands are known for many things. Perfect weather, crystal clear water, an un-rivaled love of Spam, and vacationers sipping $19 drinks from pineapples.
There are things we just don’t associate with the Islands – the ‘real world’, wild Zebra grazing majestically, and potatoes.
It’s because of the latter that I question the authenticity of ‘Ohana’s Maui Scalloped Potatoes. However delicious they were.
Polynesian Natives lived from their land, simply preparing food that grew in the rich soil. It was a culture of uber-fresh fish, pork, and tropical fruits. For eons, there was no influence from the outside world. If ever the Polynesian people feasted on a cheese and potato dish, it would have been after French took ownership of a group of South Pacific Islands. Since the French are renowned for having invented food, it’s likely they introduced new techniques, including Gratin – what we know in North America as Scalloped Potato.
‘Ohana’s menu is notorious for changing. They could live by the ‘here today, gone tomorrow’ cliché. The Maui ‘taters are no exception. Suddenly appearing, and just as quickly being replaced by the Noodles that remain on the menu today.
It created quite a stir with the loyal ‘Ohana following, who had become enamored with the new side dish. A simple 5 ingredients had caused a uproar. Alas, the regulars soon came back. Drawn in by the abundance of meat on skewers.
A few reasons have been cited for the recall of the Maui Potatoes. Some say it was removed to focus on healthy options. Almost certainly, it was a money and labour-saving shift. The noodles are simply easier and less time-consuming to prep, especially in a all-you-care-to-enjoy restaurant.
As with so many lost Disney foods, recipes for the hearty side can be found on-line.
Now, we’re off to dinner at ‘Ohana (for real) – before they get rid of the meat skewers.