Monday, July 24, 2017

Hula Hana's Blue Banana Cocktail - Dirty Dancing #foodnflix

After a few months of playing with the Food n' Flix cooking challenge, I'm starting to regard them as a highlight of my month! It helps a lot that, as he came to understand what it was we were doing, my husband has been an enthusiastic participant, helping me catch food references while we watch the month's movie and making suggestions for how to interpret it in a dish.

This month's challenge, hosted by Chef Sarah Elizabeth, is based on the movie, "Dirty Dancing" - yay! An old favorite!

Other than the reference to a watermelon (the battlecry of awkward brave girls everywhere - "I carried a watermelon!"), I didn't have much notion of this movie as being particularly food rich before watching, but we did find a few:

- During the dance class at the front of the movie, Penny encourages everyone to 'Stomp those grapes!'

- While setting up the dining room, Johnny tells rich boy Robbie, "You just put your pickle on everybody's plate, college boy, and leave the hard stuff to me."

- Dinner table discussion of Baby sending her pot roast to Asia.

- "I carried a watermelon!"

- the song "Mashed Potato is playing where the staff is dirty dancing.

- raiding the kitchen, Baby is offered a variety of leftovers including a brownie, rice pudding, beets, sweet gherkins, cabbage roll, milk...

- Robbie rejects responsibility for Penny's pregnancy, saying "'I didn't spend the summer toasting bagels just to bail out some dumb chick that got knocked up!"

- The family is shown eating breakfast. The women are all having a half a grapefruit, while Dad has a plate of eggs, lox, bagels and schmear. There's orange juice.

- Lisa's entry into the Talent Show is a silly song about Hula Hana, who wants - among other things - a blue banana.

- Kellerman offers Dad a danish.

- at the Talent Show, the family is seen drinking what looks like a cola based cocktail - given the timeframe, this is likely a Cuba Libre.

Additionally, there were a few less direct points of inspiration: the early 60's timeframe made anything retro a good choice, the song the 'Twist' suggesting something twisted in some way, and most importantly, the key point that Kellerman's was a Catskills resort for Jewish vacationers, so the food itself would have been New York Jewish friendly.

I knew I wasn't going to do anything with the watermelon - my husband is not a fan of melons of any sort, and this is intended as a fun thing for us both.

After thinking through all the possibilities that this presented, the final choice had to do with my being mystified about just what on earth was Lisa singing about?  I went to look into the lyrics, and it turns out it is actually follows a pretty classic folk song motif about a woman demanding impossible gifts from her suitors:

Hula Hana of Kamana Whala Hula Bay

Who’s this hula hana, of Kamana Whala Hula Bay?
She will hula when you have a lovely gift she wants, you’ll hear her say,
Bring me a pineapple that doesn't sting 
a bird that swims 
a fish that sings,
I wanna, I really wanna,
Bring me a volcano that blows up all the molten jama and a blue banana,
I canna canna,
Bring me a pineapple that doesn't sting 
a bird that swims 
a fish that sings,
I wanna, I really wanna,
Bring me a volcano that blows up all the molten jama and a blue banana,
I canna canna,
And you can wackle all you wanna, while I hula all the day away....

Even more interestingly, I discovered Jane Brucker, the hilarious actor that plays Lisa in the movie, actually wrote the silly song she sang, while killing time on the set.  Additionally, Brucker was born in Falls Church, VA - the town where we live.

That settled it! We had to do something based on Lisa and her song. Pseudo-Hawaiian/Tiki themes were also very popular in the early 60s, so something retro and over-the-top cheesy would be perfect, but no ham or Spam or pork of any sort, because it should be something that would be at home in the Kellerman dining room.

Which led me back to a 'blue banana' and what made the most sense to me was a ridiculous Curacao-based tropical cocktail!  My lovely husband (who is teaching himself ukelele and gamely practiced playing "Hula Hana" for me) is also my live-in bartender, so I left it to him to figure this out, as long as I could provide a crazy garnish and some umbrella straws.

This is what he came up with:

Hula Hana's Blue Banana Cocktail

Equal Parts:
- DeKeyper Blue Curacao
- Vodka
- DeKeyper Creme de Banana
- Pineapple Juice

Seltzer water to taste

Fruit Kebabs:
- Pineapple Chunks
- Banana Chunks
- Maraschino Cherries

Orange Slices

For the drink, combine liquors and pineapple juice in a shaker with ice, and shake to blend.  Pour into ice filled glasses and top with seltzer water to taste.

Garnish each glass with a fruit kebab, an orange slice, and an umbrella straw.

To go along with our silly drinks, we ordered take out from a nearby New York-style deli, Celebrity Delli.  Michael chose the Celebrity Club, while I - still thinking about how the women all just had grapefruit for breakfast while Dad chowed down on lox and bagels - selected their optimistically named "One Scooper" from their Healthy selections - Watergate chicken salad with grapes, cranberries and almonds, with plenty of cucumbers, slices of tomato and hard boiled egg and cole slaw all on a bed of lettuce, with four wedges of fat pita bread to go with it.

It was quite tasty although there was enough mayonnaise that I question the sincerity of its being the healthier choice!

We brought out take out meals and Hula Hana cocktails onto the balcony and pretended we were vacationing in the Catskills pretending to vacation in Hawaii, until the humidity reminded us both that we were really in the DC region in July and not on vacation at all.  Back indoors to finish eating!

So one last word on this cocktail - it is a TrOpiCaL high octane, kick you in the face with its fruity sweetness drink.  I kind of forgot that I don't like tropical cocktails at all.  Michael liked it (but agreed that this is a very occasional bit of ridiculousness - the hangover caused by more than one would be enough to turn anyone off forever) but it took removing all but about a half a shot of the cocktail blend and filling the glass with seltzer before I could enjoy it enough to drink it.

Even then, it was pretty to look at - a clear pale blue alcoholic sweet punch soda.  A little off key, like Lisa, this drink tries hard to be the 'fun one'.

I did love the garnishes, though!

I can't wait until the end of the month to see how other bloggers are interpreting "Dirty Dancing" - what would you make to go along with it?  Stop in here to see what they did!

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  1. HAHAHA! The drink looks great but the story behind the song is great too! Gosh -- who doesn't love that movie?? Every single time it comes on, no matter what point in the movie we see it -- we can't help ourselves from watching it!

  2. wow this looks potent! Thanks for sharing with us at #overthemoon.

  3. Wow! This looks delicious. Also, love the movie! #fandayfriday

  4. I love how you pretended you were somewhere else as you enjoyed your drinks! Thanks for sharing with us at #BloggersPitStop and have a great weekend.

  5. Wow, those drinks sound like a powerhouse, but they LOOK very innocent there...just clear blue, y'know. Since I'm new here, I wasn't sure what was going on with the references to Dirty Dancing, but I sure do like that movie! And I certainly didn't know who "Jane Brucker" was at first (had to go look her up), but her character in the movie...well...I didn't like HER much, but I guess that was the whole idea. So these are my observations while I'm thanking you for sharing this at Sweet Inspiration this week!

  6. Sounds really good - Thanks for sharing at the What's for Dinner link up!

  7. I LOVE where you took your inspiration from! Pretty cool, too, about the trivia you found. This drink looks so fun and tasty.

  8. I love the movie dirty dancing such a great show. I was not allowed to watch the first one when I was young but now love both of them. The blue drink looks yummy and rather fun
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  9. I LOVE where you went with this. Hilarious! You caught so many food references that I missed. Glad you landed on this Hula Hana cocktail!!!!!

  10. This is such a fun cocktail, so perfect for summertime...but I won't get this song out of my head for days now (and, of course, it'll be in Lisa's awful sing-song)! ;)

  11. I love blue drinks! Thanks for sharing at Sew It Cook It Craft It. You're one of my features today.

  12. Fun summer drink to bring to the party. Loved that movie.

  13. You are, hands down, in my humble opinion, the winner of this month's food n flix. I love the write up, I love the inspiration and I LOVE the Blue Banana Cocktail!!!

  14. Too cute, I love it! I'm not a drinker, wonder if I could come up with a non alcoholic blue banana? :) Thanks for sharing with SYC.

  15. Ah! I LOVE our inspiration!! How fun! and the cocktail looks amazing!