My partner and I went to Kauai and opted to avoid large hotels and instead stayed in a vacation rental. We arrived pretty late in the afternoon and didn’t know the secluded area very well. Our hosts were happy to point out a few of the local attractions and resources. But by the time we finished our fabulous romantic dinner out, we realized that the local grocery stores were already closed. At a loss for what to eat in the morning for breakfast (it was not included with the rental, but a kitchen was), we decided to play random cupboard cooking.
We stopped at the only open convenience mart. With a nervous eyes on several teenage boys on the verge of mischief, the clerk rang up our 12-pack of eggs and bottled water without a smile. We figured we could do make just about anything work with eggs, and since we hadn’t eaten them in a while they actually sounded good. Everything else in the store was loaded with sugar or high fructose corn syrup so we didn’t have so many choices. Sensing trouble from the teens who had begun to eye us, we grabbed our eggs and hopped into our rental car.
The next morning we woke up to the delightful sounds of tropical birds chirping and looking forward to a long day of hiking through Waimea Canyon. Breakfast is all the stood between us and the trail. So we pulled the eggs from the fridge and surveyed the cupboards. Hoping to find some edible and compatible ingredients, we scored big on a half-eaten bag of long-grain brown rice. Soy sauce in the fridge pointed to a very solid start.
We brewed a pot of tea and imagined bacon crisping in the pan alongside the eggs. Without any on hand, I went in search of something to round out the the meal and found a couple of canned items in the top cupboard above the fridge. I wondered about the vacationers who left them: How long ago were they here? Were they on their honeymoon or retirees finding a second wind? Where were they from? Did they usually eat canned food?
While my partner sauteed the eggs and kept a watchful eye on the rice, I stared at the canned food selection and finally chose the green beans and beets. Flashbacks of church socials during childhood, when all vegetables came from cans (an experience I hadn’t had in the years since I discovered farmer’s markets), reassured me that these combined well. I opened, drained, tossed them together with some dried Italian seasoning, and voila an appealing side dish.
We gobbled down the eggs, rice and canned veggie salad. Fueled and ready to hike, we drove to the top of Waimea Canyon and found our trailhead. We spent the rest of the day carelessly taking in the island’s stunning beauty, not worrying at all about what was for dinner.