Working at the cannery and other bad summer jobs

Working at the cannery and other bad summer jobs

When my mom was a kid, she went on a tour with her school to the Dole Cannery, where workers packed and shipped pineapple.

She vowed never to work there.

And she never did — though many of her friends and classmates spent their summers in the cannery, working long hours for little pay.

Working at the cannery is undoubtedly a generation thing. (Cannery operations closed in 1991.) But everyone, regardless of age, has had to work tough, grueling or just plain boring summer jobs to make some money and avoid summer school.

I know students who spend summers bussing tables, bagging groceries, cleaning fish tanks, washing dishes and doing telephone surveys. Even scooping ice cream for a five-hour shift can be tiring.

I’ve been lucky: though I’ve worked continuously since I was 14, I never had an absolutely intolerable summer job. I’ve worked at a summer fun, an answering service, a flower shop, in many offices and in retail — all of which weren’t terrible. I didn’t come home smelling like pineapple or without feeling in my feet.

Anyone got memories of working a bad summer job — or better, working at the cannery?

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Your school lunch memories

Your school lunch memories

Lunchtime was my favorite part of the school day.

And not just because it signaled the end of trigonometry class.

I actually enjoyed the lunch part of the lunch break. Those square-shaped pizzas, baked spaghetti, kalua pig and cabbage, roast turkey with gravy, even the mystery burrito — I sincerely looked forward to these meals.

The best part, however, was the freshly baked bread that accompanied almost every lunch. I remember trading other items on my tray just to get an extra roll.

It’s funny how we all — no matter which school we attended or how long ago that was — have fairly fond memories of school lunch.

Maybe it was the cost — in my days school lunch cost just 75 cents, not the $2.35 students in public schools pay now. Or maybe it was the convenience. It’s not like we all have fully stocked cafeterias just steps from our office.

Or maybe it’s that everything seemed to taste a lot better in white paper trays in a cafeteria filled with our friends and crushes.

The Old Guys I surf with talk about their memories of school lunches more often than they’d like to admit. They were in high school in the ’60s and remember foods like Spanish rice, baked macaroni, chili and beef stew.

So I thought it would be fun to relive these school lunch memories here!

I want to know 1) where you went to school, 2) what year this was and 3) what your favorite school lunches were.

Who knows — this may end up on a throwback menu somewhere…!

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Weekend Dish: Oatcakes

Weekend Dish: Oatcakes

Derek eats a bowl of oatmeal a day.

So I thought a 10-pound box of Quaker Oats from Costco was a thoughtful — and financially responsible — buy.

I didn’t realize — maybe because I don’t eat oatmeal — just how long that box was going to last.

So I needed to do something about it.

I’ve never been a big fan of oatcakes. The only ones I don’t mind are Akamai Breakfast Oatcakes and the ones from Starbucks.

And since neither company was going to divulge its secret to me, I figured I could find something similar online.

And I did.

It’s called “Sandra’s Oatcakes,” a recipe I found in a 2005 article in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin.

Sandra Stenen, owner of Serenity and Massage in Hawaii Kai, developed a recipe that comes close to the oatcakes sold at the popular chain coffee shop.

So I had to try it.

It didn’t take long to make — but it did take a bunch of ingredients I didn’t have readily available. The end result: a great-tasting, low-fat alternative to oatmeal in the morning. Maybe this will make me a believer!

Here’s the step-by-step, with the recipe below:


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This recipe required a trip to the supermarket for items like toasted wheat germ ($8) and a sugar substitute. But don't think this is a fat-free oatcake! There's sugar, vegetable oil, applesauce, honey and eggs. No butter, though.

Sandra’s Oatcakes
slightly modified


4 cups rolled oats
2 cups flour
1 cup toasted wheat germ
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup brown Sugar Twin (though I used 1/2 cup Splenda)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup applesauce
1 cup honey
2 eggs
4 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup nuts (I used cashews and almonds)
1-1/2 cups raisins (I used dried apricots)
1 cup dried cranberries


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9-1/2-by-13-inch pan with foil and lightly spray with cooking spray (such as Pam).

Combine oats, flour, sugars, salt, cinnamon and wheat germ.

Combine oil, applesauce, honey, eggs and nuts in a blender. Blend until nuts are finely chopped. Add to dry ingredients and mix well. Fold in dried fruit. Spread in baking pan and press lightly to even top.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes. Cool, then cut.

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Today’s happy shot

Simply Ono lunch wagon won first place in the pork challenge at yesterday’s Eat The Street in Kakaako. The reason: succulent Okinawan shoyu pork and two strips of dark chocolate-covered bacon that took the dish over the top.


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Today’s happy shot

Hiking trails — like Mariner’s Ridge in Hawaii Kai — that are great for dogs and humans make me happy!


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