From the October 21, 2009 Pacific Daily News:

Guam’s food history: Learn about the island’s shifting food traditions at ‘Transitional Table’
By Amritha Alladi • Southern Weekly • October 21, 2009

Spam wasn’t always a staple of the Chamorro diet. It was introduced to the island after World War II.

Guam residents can follow the island’s dietary changes through the second leg of the Guam tour of the Smithsonian Institution’s “Key Ingredients: America by Food,” exhibition.

“Transitional Table,” which explores how food traditions changed on the island during and after the Second World War, is now on display at the War in the Pacific National Historical Park in Asan.

The exhibition will consist of 70 historical photos depicting daily life and food traditions pre-war, during Japanese occupation and post-war, according to Monaeka Flores, coordinator of administration, marketing and programs for the Guam Humanities Council.

She says many of the native food traditions were revived because there were no imports coming in at that time.

“A lot of the older methods were revived. Farming and fishing became more important during the occupation,” she says.

However, immediately following the war, Guam was introduced to C- and K-rations including spam, which has become a huge part of the local diet today, she says. Thus, a presentation on Nov. 18 by University of Guam’s nutrition professor, Rachel Leon Guerrero, will address health issues caused by those dietary changes.

A collection of tools made by Chamorro blacksmith Jack Lujan on Oct. 24 will showcase the old tools used for farming at that time, of which the machete and fosiños gardening hoe were the most commonly used, according to Lujan’s grandson, Michael Lujan Bevacqua.

“Most Chamorros were forced to work on municipal farms,” Bevacqua says. “They were pushed to continue to make tools that were needed by the Japanese.”

Other presentations scheduled for Nov. 7 and Nov. 14 will include former military chefs and stewards who will share their stories of how they started off as mess hall attendees and worked their way to cook for former presidents and secretaries of defense. They include the late Adrian Sanchez, who cooked for Presidents Dwight Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy, and Emanuel Diaz who was a surviving Chamorro steward on one of the ships during the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Flores says.

“He (Diaz) came home and brought back the skills for huge fiesta planning and shared a lot of his skills with the community,” Flores says. “These gentlemen faced a regular system of discrimination, overcame a lot of the obstacles doing jobs they really didn’t want to do, and a lot of them really exceeded expectations.” It was similar to the discrimination African-Americans faced in the mainland, she says.

“Key Ingredients” explores the evolution of American food and how eating habits and celebrations have become a veritable melting pot to incorporate the flavors and traditions of the country’s many inhabitants.
The traveling exhibition is designed to serve rural, under-privileged communities by setting up at local venues and partnering with community organizations.

The Smithsonian Traveling exhibition will next be stationed at the Guam Community College after Nov. 21.

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On October 24th from 1 – 3 pm, Tun Jack Lujan will be giving a talk about his experiences during World War II and the Chamorro blacksmithing traditions that he has helped preserved as part of the exhibit Transitional Table: Guam’s Shifting Food Traditions During and After World War II. The exhibit opened on October 13th at the T. Stell Newman Museum outside the enterance to Big Navy, and will continue to be open until the 21st of November.

Three tools which were made by Tun Jack’s father Tun Marianao Leon Guerrero Lujan before World War II, and one tool made by both of them during the war, are on display as part of the exhibit. As part of his presentation on the 24th, Tun Jack will present and explain the complete set of Chamorro survival tools and discuss their historical and contemporary importance.

For more information on the exhibit you can check out the Guam Humanities Council website or click on this short article I wrote for the website Guamology titled “Nenkanno’ Gi Tiempon Chapones.”

GVB GMIF HORIZONTALMaster Blacksmith Tun Jack Lujan will be displaying at the upcoming Guam Micronesia Island Fair.  See more information below.

Guam Micronesia Island Fair

EVENT INFORMATION

Event Information

The Guam Micronesia Island Fair is an annual international event coordinated by the Guam Visitors Bureau that showcases the cultures of Guam and Micronesia, bringing together entrepreneurs, manufacturers, traditional artists, cultural performers, the national tourism offices of each Island Nation, island residents and visitors to Guam. This year is the 22nd anniversary of the event with a central theme of ‘Celebrating Our Building Traditions’.

Venue

The event will be held at Governor Joseph Flores Memorial Park (Ypao Beach Park) which is located on Pale San Vitores in Tumon, Guam.

Date and Time

The Fair will open on Friday, October 16, 2009 at 5PM (until 9PM) with an official Opening Ceremony at 6PM and will continue on Saturday, October 17 and Sunday, October 18 from Noon till 9PM.

Admission

Entry to attend the Fair is FREE.

Experience the sights, aroma and sounds of Guam and Micronesia through this interactive event as the islands showcase their wealth of culture, history and arts in this festive celebration of the region and the island communities.

Stage Schedule

A performance schedule for the main stage will be posted here at a later date.

Booths

Exhibits, local cuisine, beverages, handicrafts, plants, art, jewelry and a lot more will be available for sale at the Fair. A listing of booths will be posted here at a later date.

For more information, please email gmif@visitguam.org

Rules & Regulations

NO pets are allowed on Fair grounds. NO outside food or beverages (coolers) will be permitted onto the grounds.

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