E Hoomau Maua Kealoha in Hawaii means ‘may our love last forever’ and this old Hawaiian proverb is one Shannon Wiggins is seeking after for her family.
Shannon, a native of Hawaii, is currently a resident of Auburn, along with her husband of 20 years, Jeremy, and their three daughters — Nicole (18), Katelyn (16) and Aubrey (10).
“I married my high school sweetheart after graduating from college. Jeremy commissioned in the active-duty Air Force, and we began our family life moving all over the nation and world,” Shannon said. “Jeremy is a commercial pilot for Delta Airlines and an F-16 pilot in the Alabama Air National Guard. These two jobs brought us to Auburn in 2016. Having been in active duty Air Force since 2004, we lived wherever the Air Force sent us. The first time we got to choose where to live, we chose Auburn and we love it!”
Sharing her family’s heritage with others means so much to Shannon. Her grandmother is almost 92 years old and recently she has been making it a priority to get her grandmother’s recipes out of memory and onto paper, so her legacy of love can live on.\
“Everything I learned about cooking and kitchen operations came from my grandma,” she shared. “She is an amazing cook, and I had the fortune of watching her prepare all her specialty dishes while growing up. She is Filipino, and my grandpa was Hispanic. She uniquely and tastefully blended these flavors in her cooking. Our entire family raves about her meals, and her potluck contribution is usually the first gone at any family event. Grandma told me that she expresses her love through food and that her secret to a delicious meal is a little sprinkle of TLC.”
For Shannon, one of the ways she honors her grandmother’s legacy of love is by having family dinners as often as possible, around the kitchen table. It is important for the Wiggins family to share their day together — the highs and lows. It is also a time where phones are put away so that we can truly focus on one another.
We hope you enjoy Shannon’s recipe of Kalua pork, which is the main entree served at a Hawaiian luau. She shared that the pork is traditionally cooked in an underground oven called an “imu,” but since it’s rare to have an imu here in Auburn, this dish is made in a slow cooker!
Anita’s Kalua Pork & Cabbage
Ingredients for Kalua Pork:
- 5-6 lbs pork butt
- 2 tbsp Hawaiian rock salt
- 2 tbsp liquid smoke
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
Ingredients for cabbage mixture:
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 head of cabbage, sliced
- 1 sweet onion, sliced
- 2 Tbsp minced garlic
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp white sugar
Pierce all sides of the pork butt. Rub the Hawaiian salt onto all sides of the pork.Rub the liquid smoke onto all sides of the pork. Place the pork in the slow cooker with fat on the top. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours or until the pork is easy to shred with a fork. Once cooked, remove the pork from the slow cooker, shred, and put to the side. Save the broth from the slow cooker to later add back to pork and cabbage.
Slice the cabbage and sweet onion. In a large skillet, add the olive oil and sauté the onions until lightly browned. Add garlic, salt and pepper to taste. Add in half the broth from the slow cooker, apple cider vinegar and sugar. Stir and bring to a simmer.
Add the shredded pork and mix throughly. Add the remainder of the broth from the slow cooker. Add the cabbage and spread evenly on top of the pork. Cover the skillet and allow the cabbage to steam for 5-10 minutes depending on how you prefer the texture of the cabbage.
If desired, mix the cabbage into the pork or remove it from atop the pork and place it in a separate dish. Serve with “sticky” rice and it’s also yummy to add skinned, quartered sweet potatoes to slow cooker.