The third time is indeed the charm.
I decided to try the Hawaiian Macaroni Salad again. The major differences - this time, I completely overcooked the pasta in heaps of water. I cooked it for a little more than double the time recommended (the package recommended 7-8 minutes, I went for a little over 16 minutes). I also didn't bother measuring the amount of mayonnaise that went in. I just estimated by looks, after having sought after pictures of macaroni salads on Hawaiian-style plate lunches. I also seasoned with both the salt and the pepper until the taste was just right. (It ended up being a little bland still, but considering that I was going to share it with friends who are watching their salt intake, it was just as well I was conservative on the salt.)
With those two changes, I think I managed to recreate the macaroni salad that had me salivating all throughout my Hawaiian trip.
Now all I need to do is try to make haupia, and I think I will be happy.
I shared this with my friends, the Dorns. They are a very sweet couple from what I term "here, there, and everywhere." I met them several years ago, when I was singing with St. Stephen's Episcopal Church Gallery Choir. They had just moved to Durham from New Jersey, when he had just first retired from active ministry, and they joined the choir at Grace Lutheran (LC/MS) Church. So our choirs were preparing for a Choral Evensong for the Feast of the Epiphany. I still remember this rather tall, thin man approaching me, and speaking to me in what at first I thought was French. I even asked him, "Répétez, s'il vous plaît." So he repeated what he said, and it was then that I realised he was speaking to me in Tagalog! It was accented Tagalog, but still recognisable as Tagalog. He was telling me that he and his wife had lived for ca. 21 years in the Philippines before moving back to the U.S., and that they had borne and raised their four children there. He was working as a Lutheran missionary at the time, but was also involved with a bible translation project as well. We were carrying on our conversation, he in Tagalog, and I in English. In the meantime, everyone else around us were staring, wondering how could it be that we were actually maintaining a conversation in the way we were doing so.
And the rest, as they say, was history. I consider Louis and Erna to be my closest friends here. They are always wanting opportunities to practice their Tagalog, and I've introduced them to some Filipinos in this area. So it was with them that I shared my macaroni salad, plus I brought over what I consider to be "real" rice (medium grain Calrose rice, cooked in a rice cooker, as opposed to what I call "fake" rice, which is the parboiled stuff you can find in the grocery stores). They were hosting an anesthesiologist from Belarus, so we enjoyed dinner and good conversation afterward.
One last thought - my friend, JunoMagic, has just completed what she terms to be her crack!fic-turned-virtual penny dreadful, The Apprentice and the Necromancer. If you're into the SS/HG ship, I highly recommend reading this. I'll miss looking forward to the reminders in my mbox that new chapters have been posted. It's quite an accomplishment - she wrote 250 chapters, plus a 250-word epilogue. Great work, Juno!