During the 1950s, my wife, Ginger (Beralas) Soboleski, was a plantation kid growing up in Lihu‘e Camp A, yet she spent a great deal of her time at her grandma Rita Equirras’s house at Kapa‘a Stable Camp on Kaapuni Road.
Across Ka‘apuni Road from grandma’s house there was a Lihu‘e Plantation irrigation ditch, where she and her brothers and cousins often went to cool off on hot summer days, and near the ditch they also found hau and choke plum logs on which they’d float down the ditch for quite some distance.
Those plantation kids also caught a lot of crayfish in this ditch by hand that they’d take home to grandma’s house.
They’d clean them, put them on sharp sticks, roast them over a fire, dip them in shoyu and eat.
Not far from grandma’s house was a reservoir with irrigation ditches branching off to the sides, where Ginger went frogging with her cousins Warren and Donald, her brother, Allan, grandma, and her parents, Al and Julie Beralas.
Ginger’s dad would drive them to the frogging place by the reservoir in the early evening, and it would be dark when they arrived, for it was easy to spear frogs at night while the frogs slept.
The boys and Al strapped headlamps over their foreheads attached by wires to batteries harnessed onto their belts and carried homemade spears, each comprised of a three-pronged, metal point fastened to the tip of a bamboo pole.
Ginger was the “bag girl,” and grandma and Julie came along only to keep the others company.
When Al and the boys had speared about 40 to 50 frogs, Al would drive them all back to grandma’s and the fun would be over and the work would begin.
They would skin, gut and clean the frogs, after which the frogs were prepared for eating by browning the frog parts in a pot with garlic and pork butts.
After browning, water, salt and pepper would be added, along with a Puerto Rican spice called “achiote.”
Then all would be simmered for an hour and served with rice.
Hank Soboleski has been a resident of Kauai since the 1960s. Hank’s love of the island and its history has inspired him, in conjunction with The Garden Island Newspaper, to share the island’s history weekly. The collection of these articles can be found here: https://bit.ly/2IfbxL9 and here https://bit.ly/2STw9gi Hank can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org