Dessert First: A Tradition that Needs to Be Spread

When I first met George Kahumoku he was leading a school tour group that I was a part of to learn the culture of Hawaii. Whenever we stopped to eat (which happened quite frequently because George loves food as much as music and gardening) George would always say “in Hawaii we have a tradition: we eat dessert first.”  He would then proceed to order ice cream or chocolate cake before the main course, and the entire school tour would follow his lead.


Years later this tradition of eating dessert first is still being followed by anyone who has ever eaten a meal with George.  Last week we went to IHOP together after a concert at the MACC with George and Sean Na’auao.

Before George even looks at the menu he orders a banana split for the entire table proclaiming, “when I was young I lived with 26 cousins and we never had dessert at all.  So I always said when I’m older I’m having dessert first.”  And now he does.  That proclamation makes me think that eating dessert first is not so much a Hawaiian tradition as it is something that George made up as an excuse to have dessert first, but even so if it’s not an official tradition maybe it should be.  After all, traditions have to start somewhere and who wouldn’t want to eat this before their meal.