Between juggling yoga school, work, and doing laundry I haven’t had much time to write for Cozy lately. But the Comfort Food Diary of the month is one thing I will absolutely not miss – or so help me because these nostalgic pieces are the absolute core of Cozy’s existence.
With that said, as February whisked by, I grew worried about my March feature but the universe responded with the perfect answer. My cousin, Courtney, reached out to me with impeccable timing, prepared and eager to share her deliciously nostalgic story – so vivid and playful it brings chills to my spine.
A fellow blogger and yogi, a bad-ass volleyball player with legs for days, lover of photography, travel, and style – Courtney runs her own eclectic lifestyle blog called Coconuts in the Bay. For as long as I can remember, my cousin was the life of the party. She can tell stories that will make you laugh so hard you cry and she cracks witty jokes like their second nature.
Just a year apart, we grew up together as the youngest siblings in our families. We were always running around together hiding under tables playing some made up game, or more likely looking for sweets to sneak before dinner. And if anyone in our family had a sweet-tooth it was Courtney, which is why her Comfort Food Diary is so becoming of the carefree days we all spent together as kids.
“While this dish is cold to the touch, it is still very much cozy. So, what are you waiting for? Grab a seat and dig in.”
– Courtney C.
I want to start this Cozy entry by saying that Food has been the cornerstone of my childhood. Food was the anchor of our entire existence as a family. We bonded over a shared love for savory flavors and argued over who perfected Grandma’s Ozoni Soup. Food drew us into the common area in our house-the kitchen. There, I learned the perfect rice-to-water ratio, sampled Mom’s shoyu (soy-sauce) chicken, and learned to properly cut veggies with the perfect “claw” technique, keeping my thumbs tucked in and knuckles parallel to the blade to avoid losing any fingers. While Food was and still is nourishment, it is also an experience to be shared. To partake in a dish is to experience the company of others, to digest culture and joy, and relive memories that are awakened by smell, sound, and taste.
Let me tell you about a sweet, cold, and delicious treat called Guri-Guri (pronounced goodie-goodie). If you’re from Maui, you know what I’m talking about. I am born and raised in O’ahu, but I spent a significant amount of my childhood visiting my cousins in Maui, and ‘til this day, those are the memories that continue to jump out at me with vivid colors and delectable aromas.
If ice cream and sorbet decided to get together and have a baby, it would be Guri-Guri.
Guri- Guri is a sweet, tangy, creamy yet crystalized dessert that can be found in simple flavors such as, Pineapple, Vanilla, and Strawberry (my favorite). I love the texture of Guri-Guri especially out of a cup. As a kid, I remember the nice man behind the counter generously scooping frozen mounds of crystalized goodness into a paper cup while my eyes widen with pure joy and excitement. My miniature wooden spoon would glide across the smooth ice crystals like figure skates and collect a bite-sized, bright pink ball of strawberry goodness. The treat was beautiful to look at as much as it was yummy to eat. We all had different eating preferences. My cousin Kaitlin would sometimes stir up a swirl of strawberry and vanilla flavored Guri-Guri until it melted down to a purple, milky consistency. My sister would savor hers. She’d offer the grownups small bites and glide her spoon across the cup meticulously as if to make every bite consistent. As for me, I ate my Guri-Guri the moment I received it. There was no time for small talk.
The best part about Guri-Guri is the experience I associate it with. Cold treats like this usually meant warm summer afternoons in Maui with my cousins, which meant long hours at the community pool under the sun while Uncle taught us how to tread water. We’d play Marco Polo, Shark, and pretend to be Mermaids. We’d have contests about who can hold their breath the longest, and on occasion, who swam the fastest. Hint: it was never me.
I also think of my Grandpa Yukio coming home to greet my sister and me with a carton filled with strawberry Guri-Guri. In my mind’s eye, I can still see my grandpa’s grin when he saw the look on our faces as glimpses of pink peeked through the white carton in his hand. On more than one occasion, he would sneak us a few small scoops before dinner, trying to avoid getting caught by Mom or Grandma. I laugh as I write this. You see? Just like that, at a moment’s notice, I am taken back to my childhood and you are experiencing it with me. I’ve decided to keep this entry short and sweet- much like the eating experience.
– – Written by Courtney C. – –