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  • Writer's pictureTeresa Conway

American Samoa

Updated: Feb 29

Sāmoa, Muamua Le Atua

Two Truths and a Lie

The Recipe - Deluxe Macaroons

      American Samoa consists of volcanic islands and coral atolls in the South Pacific. The largest island, Tutuila, is home to most of the population, roughly 50,000 people. Tutuila contains the natural harbor and surrounding city of Pago Pago. Samoa lies 14 degrees below the equator, making it the southernmost U.S. territory. 

   Tuna canning and government jobs drive the economy. Despite the beautiful landscape, the islands are too remote for a thriving tourism sector. This remoteness meant limited interference from colonizers. Samoan culture is thriving and the extended family, or aiga, still forms the foundation of Samoan society. Most people on the islands are bilingual in Samoan and English. 

   Most Americans have heard of Samoa thanks to the popular Girl Scout Cookie. Introduced in the 1970s, “Samoas” are flower-shaped shortbreads, coated in caramel, sprinkled with toasted coconut, and drizzled with chocolate. According to, the cookies may have been named “Samoas” to evoke a tropical paradise where coconuts grow. Or maybe the name Samoa sounds like S’mores and they thought people would want “some more of” these caramelly delights. 

   Instead of copying the Girl Scouts, I made macaroons with lots of flaked coconut and candied ginger, two foods used in traditional Samoan cuisine. (Samoan cuisine sounds absolutely delightful, with lots of tropical fruits and vegetables cooked alongside fresh seafood.) I formed the macaroons like thumbprint cookies. After baking, I filled the centers with caramel and finished them with drizzles of dark chocolate.

   I had to make four batches of caramel because I suck at candy making. My first batch tasted divine but was far too thin and watery. The next two batches crystallized despite all my efforts and prayers. I didn’t have any corn syrup on hand so I made the fourth batch with a tablespoon of honey which prevented crystallization but overpowered the delicate coconut flavor of that first batch. I was running low on sugar so I used it anyway, but next time I hope to do better. Luckily the coconut part is scrumptious and the cookie as a whole is just as addictive as any Girl Scout cookie.

Time for the whole truth

CBS said, “It's estimated that a boy born to Samoan parents is 56 times more likely to get into the NFL than any other kid in America.”

(By the way, you can click on any of the 2 truths and a lie statements to visit the source of the trivia)

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