$15,084
pledged of $9,999pledged of $9,999 goal
186
backers
36days to go

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Wed, October 23 2019 3:39 PM UTC +00:00.

Help Publish a Book of Chamoru Culture & Cuisine

Support a Pacific Islander couple preserve their traditions and cuisine in a book of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.

Help Publish a Book of Chamoru Culture & Cuisine

Support a Pacific Islander couple preserve their traditions and cuisine in a book of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.

$15,084
pledged of $9,999pledged of $9,999 goal
186
backers
36days to go

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Wed, October 23 2019 3:39 PM UTC +00:00.

About

[Special Note: If you want to support us and you live on Guam, the CNMI, or other U.S. territory, please choose any award with "United States" as the country for shipping. If our campaign reaches its goal, we will contact you in late October to obtain your address in Guam, the CNMI, the 50 states, or any U.S. military base where you would like us to send the award prizes.]

We lead out in faith and appreciate your kindness and generosity, and thank you in advance for any support you are able to provide.

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Draft back cover of book | Credit: Gerard Aflague Collection

Do you love spicy food, tasty barbecue, home style island fare, and cuisine with healthy ingredients like coconut? Do you find cuisine with Latin, Asian, and Western influences intriguing? These elements and more make up Chamoru cuisine in the tropical Pacific.

Sampling of exotic dishes on a typical fiesta style plate

Who Are We?

Hafa adai!  We are Gerard and Mary Aflague, Pacific Islanders who seek your financial support and help to fund and share our Kickstarter campaign for a first-ever hardcover Chamoru book of culture and cuisine of the Mariånas (essentially a cultural cookbook of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands).

Sample cover page of our book
Sample lifestyle photo for book

This book aims to preserve Chamoru culture for our children and future generations, to share our delicious home-style cuisine of the Marianas with the world, and tell stories about the life lessons we've witnessed growing up. 

Our project seeks to preserve a Pacific Island legacy of culture and cusine for future generations.

To support us, scroll up top and click the "Back This Project" button. When you pledge $35 or more, you'll get a copy of our book if we reach our goal and more. Keep in mind, when you support us, you'll be saving based on what you'll buy it for at retail. If you want to learn more about our project, read on.

We are entrepreneurs and home style cooks. We also happen to have a passion for designing cultural books and sharing it with the world.

Enjoying time in the kitchen for a photo shoot

Where are We From?

We are orginally from the beautiful and exotic tropical Mariana islands, the birthplace of the Chamoru people and heritage. Located in Micronesia, the inhabited islands include Guam, Rota, Tinian, and Saipan. Our home (Guam) is located closest to the deepest point on the planet, the Mariana Trench.

Where the Marianas is located in the world.

Today, there are over 75,000 Chamorus living on these islands, and over 80,000 in the continental United States. The Chamoru people speak English and Chamoru and are patriotic Americans. This is evidenced by the fact that more Guamanians sacrificed their lives in the Vietnam war at the higest rate per-capita than any other state in the union. Additionally, Guamanians have the highest per-capita enlistment in the United States military than any state in the union.

Why We Care

Like many Pacific Island communities in Polynesia and Melanesia, Micronesia needs books that capture Pacific Islander's stories and culture, as told by authors who are Pacific Islanders. Knowing this need, we have committed to write and design an educational resource that is relevant to our people, and to be made available for use in libraries, schools, and bookstores.

A Legacy of Chamoru Culture and Cuisine is Needed to Perpetuate Our Heritage
We wanted to create a beautiful Chamoru legacy publication, and bring awareness to others about our Chamoru way of life and cuisine, which is often overlooked. It is a book that islanders in the Marianas and Chamorus across the world will appreciate greatly, but currently don't have access to.

New Recipes of Chamoru Cuisine Will be Appreciated by a Worldwide Audience. While we plan to tell our stories of Chamoru culture, others across the world will enjoy learning about, and cooking our time-tested and tasty Chamoru home style recipes. With your support, we can create an excellent resource that the Chamoru people and the world can enjoy as they try their hand at making Pacific Island cuisine.

Americans and the World Will Enjoy Learning About an Ancient Culture that is Part of the United States, located in the Western Pacific. Our Chamoru culture hasn't had much worldwide support to elevate it globally. With your support, we hope to achieve this feat in our small way, by sharing our culture and cuisine and raising awareness among new readers.

The Authors' Professional Background

I am Gerard Aflague, born to Chamoru parents, and raised on Guam. I am a self-taught graphic designer, amateur photographer, writer, home style cook, and entrepreneur. I'm also an information technology (IT) geek auditing government programs that rely on IT systems across the federal sphere. I am a past member with the Denver Mayor's Asian-American Pacific Islander Commission assisting to support the needs of Asian American and Pacific Islander issues in Denver.

My wife, Mary Aflague, is a co-author of this book. She is a Guamanian, born and raised on Guam to Filipino parents that immigrated to the island in the 60s. She is a wonderful teacher and educator. Mary understands the value that a cultural resource like this can offer our islanders. Her love of the Marianas, its people, and its pristine ocean waters inspire her even more.  

We are parents to three beautiful children and a spanking new grand baby. 

Marley is our new granddaughter that keeps us driven to create a book that preserves her Chamoru legacy.

We relocated from Guam to the continental United States over a decade ago. In spite of this, we continue to keep in touch with islanders and involve ourselves in many cultural events and projects across the United States. We were educated on Guam as children into adulthood and completed advanced degrees both on Guam and in the continental United States.

About Our Publishing Experience

Over the years, we self-published many children's softcover titles in a variety of languages (e.g. Samoan, Tongan, Hawaiian, Tagalog, etc.), with over 20 children's books that aim to perpetuate the Chamoru culture and language. Thousands of our books have been sold on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and in bookstores across the islands.

We also publish over 50 educational classroom resources distributed to thousands of customers through various companies we license with including Art.com, Allposters.com, and Walmart.com.

----------------------------

About Our Book

Our goal is to publish a beautiful and artistic hardcover book with 350+ pages about the Chamoru culture and our tasty culinary fare. The book will measure about 7.5 x 9.5 inches and include a variety of features found in professionally designed cookbook titles.

Draft front cover of proposed book
Proposed back of book cover

How Is This Book Different?

Our book will include about 75 pages of narratives and imagery of the Chamoru culture, and the remaining 200+ pages will include recipes and imagery of finished island-themed dishes. Note: Respondents from focus group sessions expressed the frustration of owning cookbooks without photos to reference. Therefore, we have committed to having a photo for each recipe in our book.

We also include a variety of Chamoru words in our book that compliment culinary English terms and recipe titles to offer a cultural experience. These words are being edited and vetted by an academic linguist familiar with the Chamoru language and is standardizing the use of Chamoru words in our book.

Our book will include inspirational stories and a variety of illustrated culinary practices of our people, with breathtaking landscapes and vistas across the Marianas chain. In addition, it will offer recipes that are not only well-known across the islands, but it will include a few new Chamoru recipes we have created.

Below are two-page spreads of samples from our book, and they represent a small fraction of our book's content.

Unedited draft of book's content
Unedited draft of our cookbook
Unedited draft of our cookbook's content
Unedited draft of our book
Unedited draft of book
Unedited draft of book
Unedited draft of book
Unedited draft of book

How is the Recipe Section Structured?

Our cuisine will offer 100+ savory and sweet Chamoru recipes that are photographed from artistic perspectives and reflect our Pacific Islander and Marianas heritage. Each recipe will be partnered with an artistic photograph of the final dish to help reference the way it should look. We will craft pages that discuss culinary implements or ingredients for interesting reads.

Recipes we are tentatively including  as of this Kickstarter launch:

Breakfast - Bitter melon, Eggs and Bell Peppers  |  Chorizos Chamoru Fried Rice  |  Traditional Chamoru Fried Rice  |  Tropical Mariånas Pancakes  | Sausage, Eggs and Rice

Condiments and Marinades - Spicy-Vinegar Dipping Sauce  |  Eggplant Hot Pepper Mash  |  Spicy-Soy Mariånas Dipping Sauce   |  Mariånas Soy-Lemon Marinade  |  Soy-Vinegar Marinade

Appetizers - Shrimp Patties | Steamed Minced Chicken and Vegetables | Fresh Turmeric Chicken and Coconut Milk  |  Sweet Fried Plantains  |  Chicken Spring Rolls  |  Lemon Chopped Venison |  Lemon Chopped Beef  |  Spicy Sesame Tuna Crunch  | Pickled Papaya

Vegetables and Salads - Roasted Eggplant in Coconut Milk | Sweet and Savory Mariånas Salsas  | Taro Leaves in Coconut Milk  |  Broccoli Crab Salad  |  Chamoru Macaroni Salad  | Chamoru Potato Salad  |  Tropical Mariånas Salad  |  Pickled Bitter melon  |  Cucumber and Daigo Salad  |  Sesame Crusted Seared Tuna

Starches - Savory Striped Spicy Tamales  |  Breadfruit in Coconut Milk  |  Chamoru Red Rice  |  Corn Tortillas | Dinner Rolls |  Island Sweet Potatoes in Coconut Milk  | Deep-Fried Wrapped Red Rice Chicken  |  Flour Tortillas  | Plantains in Coconut Milk  | Roasted Purple Sweet Potato  |  Roasted Yellow Sweet Potato  |  White Rice  | Young Coconut Tortillas

Soups - Beef and Pumpkin Tips in Coconut Milk | Beef Shank and Young Papaya in Coconut Milk | Beef Bok Choy Coconut Soup | Fish in Coconut Milk  | Chicken with Fresh Turmeric  | Chicken in Coconut Milk  | Sweet Corn Soup with Coconut Milk  | White Rice Soup with Coconut Milk  |  Rice Soup with Minced Chicken or Beef  | Glass Noodles, Beef, and Vegetables | Mung Beans with Chicken | Venison, Pumpkin Tips, and Taro

Meats and Seafood - Chamoru Potato Stuffing | Lemon-Coconut Chopped-Chicken | Hearty Beef Stew | Pan-Fried Egg Noodles and Vegetables | Toasted Red Rice Chicken | Stir-Fried Chicken, Rice-Noodles and Vegetables | Tenderized Beef in Coconut Milk | Barbecued Pork Spare-Ribs | Barbecued Short Ribs  | Garlic-Soy Chicken  | Mariånas Barbecue Chicken  | Soy-Vinegar Beef Sauté | Spicy-Stewed Soy-Chicken | Fish in Coconut Milk | Crab in Coconut Milk | Fried Fish and Vegetables in Turmeric Sauce | Spicy-Lemon Chopped Shrimp | Salmon Croquette  |  Shrimp in Coconut Milk | Sweet and Sour Fish  | Deep Fried Parrot Fish

Desserts - Baked Pumpkin Turnover | Fried Pumpkin Turnover | Banana Doughnuts  |  Caramelized Coconut Candy |  Chocolate Rice Porridge  |  Cinnamon Custard Cake  | Coconut Cassava Cake  | Crumbly Cookies |  Custard Pie |  Custard Pudding  |  Chamoru Sugar Doughnuts  | Crispy Rosettes |  Flaky Young Coconut Pie | Fresh Mariånas Fruit Salad | Fried Bananas | Glazed Twirly Cookies |  Lemon Meringue Pie  | Mariånas Sweet Potato Pie | Pink Corn Pudding | Coconut Pumpkin Pie | Roasted Cassava and Coconut | Rota Sweet Potato Pie | Sweet Rice Puff | Chamoru Bread Pudding  |  Tropical Energy Mix | Caramelized Papaya | Tropical Fruits Acai Bowl | Yellow Sponge Cake | Steamed Tapioca | Young Coconut Soup

Sample Recipes

Unedited draft of book
Unedited draft of book
Unedited draft of book
Unedited draft of book
Unedited draft of book
Unedited draft of book

How We Got this Idea

My wife and I have always had a passion for promoting the Chamoru culture in a variety of ways. As part of sharing our Pacific island cooking stateside, we frequently create delicious Chamoru dishes in our home, and share it with friends and family in Colorado who rave about how tasty our recipes are.

My parents, Lorenzo and Julia, also lived this passion beautifully. For decades, they highlighted the importance of embracing the Chamoru culture and language, and taught others to cook and enjoy our Chamoru cuisine. I even saw how my mother used home style cooking to reach out and visit friends and family. In Guam, this hospitality is called in'Ayuda - helping another unselfishly. Through her practice of in'Ayuda, my mom's acts of sharing her Chamoru dishes fed the bodies, and more importantly, fed the souls of her loved ones.

Madoya is a deep-fried plantain with a coconut coating enjoyed and cooked by Gerard’s mom Julia

This same beautiful and contagious practice continues through the next generation, through my sister-in-law, and my nephews and nieces. Today, I even find myself making Chamoru dishes and sharing them with my neighbors in Colorado where I now live.

As I realized how beautiful my Chamoru culture is and how our culinary fare has been embraced by many and touched others’ lives, I was convinced we needed to tell our story and share Chamoru recipes in this book.

What We've Done and Next Steps

We have completed our initial design and concept of this book. 

Our first full draft sample we are working through and iterating.

We began writing our cultural content, and have started drafting over 100 recipes that have been tested and photographed. From time to time we conduct additional recipe tests to ensure our ingredients and methods are reproducible and instructions are logical.

Gerard test bakes a coconut cassava dessert against the draft recipe for potential enhancements.

The draft mock images you see above are just a sampling of material we are working to finalize. Much of what you see can and will change, and all for the better.

We still need to edit our material, complete all 100+ recipes and refine them, retake photos, and license necessary images. We also need to coordinate the printing of this book and manage the logistics of launching it.

How Funds Will Be Used

Your contributions will go toward the book's production, including paying for associated material to develop content, paying for services provided by editors, fees for licensing of images, and for printing of books with freight handling charges from Asia to the United States, among other things. We also will use the funds to purchase gifts that accompany different levels of funding tiers on Kickstarter.

How This Book Will Be Distributed

This book is to be offered to schools, libraries, and other educational institutions across the Pacific Islands within Polynesia, Micronesia, and Melanesia. It will also be available online and eventually, it will be made available for sale in select bookstores, in specialty gift shops, and other retail locations across the United States, among other places.

Are We Offering an E-Book?

Yes. We plan to make our book available electronically via Kindle and Apple platforms in the future. However it may be an abridged version. But for the near-term, we will only offer it as a physical book.

Where is this Book Being Designed and Edited

This book is being designed in Highlands Ranch, Colorado (where we currently live) and in Sinajana, Guam (where we visit from time to time). It is being edited in the United States.

How You Can Support Us

Help us make this project a reality by choosing to donate to our Kickstarter effort.

Acknowledging Our Helpers

  • Lorenzo and Julia Aflague  | Guam: Nurtured us over the decades about our Pacific island Chamoru      culture, heritage, language, and culinary fare.
  • Bertha F. Aflague | Guam:  Shared her home style Chamoru cooking insight and techniques, and      collaborated on a number of recipes.
  • Eva Ong | Florida: Championed      our cause to test recipes ensuring the tastiest outcomes.
  • Victoria Leon Guerrero |  Guam: Offered her editing skills to make our book clear and concise.
  • Joey Franquez | Guam:  Offered his Chamoru cultural and linguistic services to ensure Chamoru  language standards, usage, and spelling are accurate.
  • Candace Sims Photography | Chicago: Offered to capture beautiful shots of our Chamoru  culinary fare and to take lifestyle photos of our family.

Community funded

Your effort to assist us to launch this book will not go unnoticed. We will acknowledge your help in support of our inaugural version of this book by featuring your name in the pages of our inaugural and subsequent book editions.

Thank you

We leave you with these three words Si Yu'os ma'ase, which means thank you in the Chamoru language.

Enjoying time in the kitchen

Planned Milestones (Will Be Updated as Dates Change)

Finalize draft by November 15, 2019

Send draft book to printer by November 30, 2019

Receive books in the United States by February 2020

Risks and challenges

Risks and challenges
Identified risks and realities

The risks involved with this project may include:

1. Changing timelines

While notional timelines have been established, we expect to make adjustments to activities as a result of unforeseen emergencies or unexpected challenges that may occur. These emergencies and challenges may extend the planned publishing date of our book. However, we will do our best to keep an updated timeline, which you can see below, with associated target dates and actual dates relative to each activity area. Additionally, where individual activities may be affected, we will also reflect any delays to significant milestones and our final publishing date.

2. Unsuccessful Kickstarter Campaign

If we do not raise the funds for which we budgeted, then we will not receive any of the funds collected. The next steps will be for us to reconstitute this campaign under different funding goals, and possibly change our incentives and offers.

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    Receive one (1) early release of our hardcover book personally signed by co-authors Gerard and Mary Aflague, together with a matching canvas tote bag. You will receive a personal thank you note from us, and your name will be included as a Kickstarter supporter in our first-edition book.

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    Receive two (2) early releases of our hardcover book personally signed by co-authors Gerard and Mary Aflague, together with a matching canvas tote bag. You will receive a personal thank you note from us, and your name will be included as a Kickstarter supporter in our first-edition book.

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    Receive three (3) early releases of our hardcover book personally signed by co-authors Gerard and Mary Aflague, together with a matching canvas tote bag. You will receive a personal thank you note from us, and your name will be included as a Kickstarter supporter in our first-edition book.

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