Caramelized Banana Rum Bread with Macadamia Crumb Topping and the White Supremacists.

by Irvin on August 29, 2011 · 20 comments

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Caramelized Banana Bread with Rum

Racists people will most likely never eat this Caramelized Banana Rum Bread.

I wasn’t expecting to see that sort of person on the beach, but as I turned over on my beach towel, the man and his girlfriend came into view and I could see his back tattoo. It was large, filling his entire back, with gothic looking letters. The top word, WHITE, then some menacing lightning bolts, then below it, PRIDE. Apparently he was a Neo-Nazi white supremacist, hanging out on the clothing optional gay part of the nude beach in Maui. The irony seemed lost on him, someone who professed to having pride in being white, that he was on a tropical island enjoying all that it had to offer, populated by non-white people, surrounded by nude gay men…and he was trying to get a little less white by getting a suntan.

Little Beach in Maui. Clothing Optional, full of hippies, gays and the occasional white supremist. jpg

Little Beach in Maui. Clothing optional, full of hippies, gays and the occasional white supremacist.

I’m lucky that I never had a personal encounter with a self-professed racist (at least as far as I am aware of). Sure, growing up in the Midwest as an Asian-American, I’ve had my fair share of ignorant incidents. I remember being asked on more than one occasion if I spoke English. I usually replied back “Probably better than you” with insouciant roll of the eyes. But this upclose encounter with an actual racist had me thinking, what sort of path of life leads you think that you must permanently ink your body to let the world know you dislike anyone that is not your skin color?

Xenophobia is defined as fear of foreigners, other cultures or strangers. But with all us being interconnected, doesn’t it seem weird for this sort of thing to still exist in contemporary society? Aren’t we suppose to celebrate different cultures, exploring them and learning from each other? To encounter it in Hawaii, was even more startling, a tropical island, part of the United States, but also rich in it’s own, decidedly non-white, Polynesian culture.

A hodge podge of people hangout at Little Beach at Sunset on Sundays.

A hodge podge of people hangout at Little Beach at Sunset on Sundays.

I watched the two neo-Nazis blow up their water rafts, and then proceed to run out in the ocean, blithely unaware of their surroundings and the effect they had on me. Secretly I wished that they would get caught by the ocean’s powerful undertow and have to be rescued by one of the local Hawaiian gays hanging out on the beach next to me. But I know that it was unlikely, especially as the tide wasn’t all that strong at the moment. So I rolled over and decided to take a nap, letting the warm sun and the crashing waves soothe my troubled mind. When I woke up half an hour later, they were gone, as was any evidence of them, as they had collected all their stuff and no one there seemed to even have noticed them other than me.

Little Beach in Maui.

Little Beach in Maui. A tranquil beach that even neo-nazis can appreciate.

AJ and I spent the rest of the day hanging out with friends we had met on the beach. Robert was from Los Angeles and his boyfriend Jorge was from Mexico City. They had been dating for over two years long distance, and yet it seemed to be working for them. They flew back and forth between their respective cities about once a month, and since both were in education, they could take extended vacations together during the summer and winter breaks.

This was their last day on this beach, as they were moving on to another part of the island, to meet up with some of Robert’s family that was coming out to vacation in Maui. This was the first time that Jorge would meet Robert’s family and I thought to myself, how is it that two people, from different cities, different cultures could find each other the way they did. Then I look at AJ and myself, a white boy from Indianapolis and an Asian boy from St. Louis and marvel at how we found each other. I wonder why anyone would want to cut themselves off from other cultures, the potential for falling in love with something or someone you didn’t even know exist, just around the corner. It’s pretty much like magic. Actually I take that back. It IS magic. There’s no other word for it.

Robert and Jorge Driving as we visit Up Country in Maui.

Robert and Jorge Driving as we visit Up Country in Maui.

Robert and Jorge gave us a few bananas before they left, because they hadn’t had a chance to eat them and they said it would just go to waste as they were moving to a hotel in West Maui from their cute little cottage house on our side of the island. They knew I baked a lot, as I had shared with them some of my pineapple galette on the beach. I told them I would make a banana bread out of them. Since I was in Hawaii, I decided I need to infuse the banana bread with some tropical flavors as well. I caramelized the bananas with rum, used coconut oil and added some locally grown fresh ginger. A macadamia nut crumb topping finished the bread, turning the banana bread to something a little more fitting for our holiday vacation in paradise.

Caramelized Banana Rum Bread

Caramelized Banana Rum Bread

I’m hoping Jorge and Robert will stay in touch with AJ and me after we all go back to our respective cities. In fact, we’re already Facebook friends. Perhaps one day we’ll visit Jorge in Mexico City. He told us that he would show us around Mexico City and then Oaxaca, which is such a culturally rich area of Mexico with amazing food. I’ve actually never been to Mexico before, a fact that made me realize that there are so many place that I want to go and experience, food I want to eat, people I want to meet. And I think back to the man with the White Pride tattoo on his back and his girlfriend and I feel sorry for them, so fearful and frightened of others that they have to tattoo on their bodies to let everyone know just how are proud of they are of their ignorance. They’re going to miss out on so much. But I guess that’s their journey to take, not mine.

Caramelized Banana Rum Bread

Caramelized Banana Rum Bread

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Lora August 29, 2011 at 5:52 am

The first paragraph and the last of this post says it all. Brilliantly! Love this gorgeous bread.


Laura August 29, 2011 at 6:48 am

I always think that people like that white supremacist are missing out by being so rigid and narrow minded, so instead of feeling anger, I tend to feel pity. By being liberal, accepting , and welcoming of other people and cultures we are enriching ourselves.

Thanks for posting this and the recipe.

Peace to all!


Caleigh August 29, 2011 at 11:22 am

This post resonates with me, I’m Scottish, my husband is from a Sri Lankan family and I truly believe that it adds richness to our relationship as our different cultures merge. Thank you for this post.

The banana bread recipe sounds delicous, I shall be trying that soon!


Matt August 29, 2011 at 11:24 am

My friend Ian has a “White Pride” tattoo that he got when he was 17. Needless to say his views have changed over the years while the tattoo didn’t. You never know. But a lovely reformed individual, this guy. Just food for thought.


Irvin August 29, 2011 at 9:30 pm

Matt, you have a good point. I guess I’m as guilty of judging someone for their appearance as a racist might possibly be of me, for what I look like.

Though I will say an elaborate white pride tattoo that took up the entire back of the man (and he was not a small man) made quite a statement. It would have been interesting to engage him in a conversation to learn what his story (and the tattoo’s story) was. Sadly it never happened. I can only hope that the tattoo was a youthful indiscretion and that he has outgrown it like your friend.


Xai Losito August 29, 2011 at 4:23 pm

the presence of a neo-nazi in that part of the island was quite interesting to say the least. what matt said might be possible, since i could not quite understand why he would be there. but then he could’ve worn a shirt or wetsuit to cover up his ridiculous tattoo. hmm, this is quite intriguing.

anyway, i love the use of coconut oil instead of butter in your banana bread. i couldn’t wait to try this out. looks and reads delicious. 🙂


Belinda @zomppa August 29, 2011 at 6:55 pm

Thank goodness for magical folks like you and macadamia crumb toppings. It is also disconcerting especially when you least expect it. DO YOU EVEN SPEAK ENGLISH??? Ah, yes. I’m not sure I’ll ever stop hearing that one.


Cheryl Stoy August 30, 2011 at 12:01 am

I’m black and my husband’s white and we have 7 kids (two from his first marriage, one from my first marriage and the other 4 we had together because we got bored…just kidding about the bored part) and after 28 years of marriage and family life, this post subs up the problems our family (and others like us) still face because folks can’t get past skin color or their somewhat questionable and fanatical religious beliefs…but you addressed it beautifully and to serve it up with a dish that features macadamia crumb toppings and rum, shows you not only have wisdom, class and incredible culinary skills but you also know how to make even something so damn ugly in the beginning have a happy ending.

P.S. I hope your friends from Mexico City stay in touch too.


Laura Levy August 30, 2011 at 7:38 pm

How is it I’m just discovering your fantastic website????!!! I’m thankful to Food News Journal (Food52) for featuring this. . . you have a new fan!

Love this post for so many reasons…. can’t wait to try this recipe and hope the ignorant man on the beach grows up someday and adds an “ex…” to the beginning of that tattoo.



Quay Po Cooks August 31, 2011 at 9:29 am

I love the look of this banana bread. I am very sure it taste divine!


chef_d August 31, 2011 at 11:09 pm

I love banana bread and your version with rum sounds and looks wonderful! I’ve been reading all your posts about your vacation…nice pics!


Anna and Liz Recipes September 1, 2011 at 5:33 am

I love this post, for many reasons…. nice photos too!
I love anything with Bananas and this recipe sounds amazing! I will try this and get back to you what my friends think! Also, my daughter and her husband just went to Maui last week and got stuck in San Francisco because of Hurricane Irene. They loved both the Island and the city.


Culinary School: Three Semesters of Life, Learning, and Loss of Blood September 1, 2011 at 8:34 pm

At culinary school (I wrote about it here, if you’re interested: “Culinary School: Three Semesters of Life, Learning, and Loss of Blood,” on Amazon Kindle – we had plenty of racists, but no banana bread. I’m out now and have long since said good bye to the racists and I think it is time to say hello to the banana bread!


The Frosting on the Cake September 3, 2011 at 12:23 am

The banana bread looks delicious!


Dianna September 8, 2011 at 5:31 am

I have spent many years working in prisons and seeing past tattoos is an art. He may not be as ignorant as you think. There he was in Hawaii on a gay male nude beach, no gun in hand. He may be saving up for laser surgery. And then again, maybe not.

Go to Mexico! Oaxaca is GREAT.

Thanks for the lovely post.


Lori September 8, 2011 at 8:23 am

Beautiful post and a beautiful recipe. If one knows who he is, he is not threatened by those who don’t know who they are. Cheers!


Crystal September 18, 2011 at 8:19 am

This was delicious. However, there’s a typo – the butter quantity listed is 30g , which equals 1/4 stick of butter, not 1/4 cup. I used 30g, but I think you did mean 1/4 cup, which would be 1/2 a stick or about 57g.



Irvin September 18, 2011 at 10:49 pm

Goodness! My apologizes, I went back and looked at my notes that I took for the original recipe and I realized that yes, I did mean 1/4 cup not 1/4 stick. I have changed my recipe to 57g and 1/2 stick of butter. Thank you so much for pointing that out and I’m sorry about that!


Brooke B. July 21, 2012 at 12:05 pm

This sounds & looks to die for. Can’t wait to try! Thanks for sharing this recipe!


cat December 17, 2012 at 1:25 pm

A question to ponder…would a black guy with a tatoo that read “black pride” or a gay guy with a tatoo that read “gay pride” be considered racist just like the white guy with the “white pride” tatoo? Are “gay parades” racists parades?
BTW…just returned from two weeks in Waliea yesterday. Went nearly everyday to the naturalist beach next to Big Beach. Unfortunately it’s changing…the sign that read “nudist beach” has been removed and more people are textiled….what a shame….:-( However, I didn’t see any white supremists, just a few mid-westerns whom were very friendly and after a day or two became naturalists.
PS…I?m an American of mixed ethinicity and I’m married to a foreigner and live in a foreign country now.


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