nvs. Life, health, well-being, living, livelihood, means of support, salvation; alive, living; curable, spared, recovered; healed; to live; to spare, save, heal, grant life, survive, thrive.

I ola nō ke kino i ka māʻona o ka ʻōpū – The body enjoys health when the stomach is well filled.

I went to an event last month. There was food. Delicious food. And it sat there for at least a couple hours, beckoning ever so silently, to those who had gathered. Some couldn’t even wait. At the first break, several took it upon themselves to at least make a plate for their keiki.

Now I am the first to admit that I am food obsessed. I live for an opportunity to work in my kitchen. I revel in a William Sonoma store and Kitchenaid attachments. So I realize that my obsession with food is a bit more intense than the normal human being. But in my upbringing and in gatherings that I frequent, if there is food, you feed the people. QUICKLY. Or they sit there. Wondering when the food line will open.


You go to a paʻina and more often than not, there is a pūpū line so you can be satisfied until lunch or dinner is served. Pololei? Correct?

Lots of ʻōlelo noʻeau speak to the power of food.

Aia ke ola i ka inu o ka lio – Life is where the horse’s nose points (The scent of food leads one toward sustenance.)

ʻAi manu Koʻolau – Eat of the birds of Koʻolau (Said of a feast where delicious foods are eaten.)

He māʻona ʻai a he māʻona iʻa ko ka noanoa – The commoner is satisfied with food and fish (The commoner has no greater ambition than success in farming and fishing.)

Here is the one that makes hits the ball home:

I kani ko ʻaka i ka leʻaleʻa; i puʻu ko nuku i ka huhū; i leʻa ka nohona i ka māʻona – One laughs when joyous; sulks when angry; lives a happy existence when the stomach is satisfied with food.

When you have an event where food will be served, serve it up first. Your guests will be at peace. And when that food is nutrient dense (think lots of greens, poi, limu-seaweed, ʻuala-sweet potato), you are being proactive in promoting OLA – well-being and good health.

What is your favorite meaʻai (food)?

How do you promote OLA through food?

Do you have a similar moʻolelo (story) about food at an event?

Copyright: 2017 – Liana Iaea Honda. All rights reserved. All versions of “He Momi e Lei ai”, in its entirety, past and present, is the property of L. K. I. Honda. Reproduction and use of any kind other than the sharing of this website is prohibited without written consent. Alteration to the original content in any form is prohibited in every and any instance, and use in any other variant is prohibited without written consent of the author. Adress inquiries to: hemomi [at] gmail.com. Definitions and wise sayings are from: Hawaiian Dictionary by Pukui and Elbert, 1986. ʻŌlelo Noʻeau – Hawaiian Proverbs & Poetical Sayings by Mary Kawena Pukui, 1983.

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