I was going through my files and found the archived articles I wrote years ago. I thought it would be fun to share them with a whole new generation of readers. For those who have been reading my work since I was first published back in 1983, in this new “From the Archives” series, you may come across some old favorites!
First up, a little something I wrote about one of our favorite local comfort foods. This story was so popular back in the day, that the illustration instigated a line of t-shirts!
If you are looking for a breakfast with a high sugar content and low nutritional value that is really bad for you, look no further than this traditional Hawaiian fare. Saloon Pilots and Coffee have been a mainstay of the Hawaiian breakfast since the days of the great whaling ships.
Hardtack, in Hawai`i known as Saloon Pilot Cracker and known in Alaska as Pilot Bread, and their varients are found in places where the tall sailing ships of yore off-loaded their wares. Hawai`i was one of those places. Local bakeries were created to supply the ships with hard tack. These easily stored, compact wafers of carbohydrate became popular with the locals and quickly extablished themselves as part of our island cuisine.
My favorite bakery for Saloon Pilot Crackers was the old Hilo Macaroni Factory. They also made a wonderful creme cracker, worthy of a future story. Alas, the company has closed, but the memories do live on!
In my, and many other local families, breakfast frequently consisted of two or three pilot crackers smashed into a bowl. Sugar was then scooped onto the crackers and hot coffee poured in. Then a little condensed milk was added. In lean times, a family might just have cracker with black coffee.
This was allowed to soften a bit and then eaten for breakfast. DELICIOUS!!! I still eat it when feeling a little “blue.” It is one of Hawai`i’s most beloved “comfort foods!”
When the mother of a dear friend passed away, the night before the funeral we stayed at the Waimea home of other friends who were close to the family. These gracious people were out of town that night, but turned their entire home over to us for as long as we needed it. Walking into the kitchen, laid out on the counter, we found a bag of Kona coffee, a box of pilot crackers, sugar, saimin bowls, spoons, and cans of condensed milk. A loving note said, “We thought you would enjoy some Hawaiian comfort food!”
Carbos and caffine – what a way to start your day! Who needs a box of cereal when there is Hardtack?!