Proper Saloon Pilot Etiquette


Those few of my readers who do not regularly surf the internet looking for something to eat will not have noticed the rise in popularity of the saloon pilot. Although of Scottish origin, the saloon pilot is now an Hawaiian soda cracker, but one with a difference: the saloon pilot is round rather than square or rectangular and about 4 inches in diameter with a thickness of approximately inch. It is basically what amounts to a survival ration taken to an elegant extreme, i.e., you’re not so apt to break your teeth on them nowadays, i.e., not like they were 100 years ago. You can google on “saloon pilot” and find out all about them and their role as hardtack in the era when scurvy plagued traders plied the seas in dingy, dank schooners.

When first presented with a saloon pilot, one might be tempted to heat it up in the microwave and then butter it, but that is so lame and hardly worth commenting on except to say that this is more or less something a bachelor would regard as a major staple in his/her diet, or if not that, something, like the hamburger helper a desperate homemaker will resort to once the household budget has been exhausted but household members still need to eat. I’ve been told, but have never seen it myself, that some people eat their saloon pilots topped with peanut butter and grape jelly. Now while this treatment sort of has the right idea, it is nonetheless an obscenity and a corruption of the proper way to eat a saloon pilot.

No, the correct way to eat a saloon pilot is as follows: top your saloon pilot with a generous layer of gorgonzola cheese, and then over that add an equally generous layer of minced red onion. Then, once you’ve subjected the layer of minced onion to a liberal sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper, you’re in business. This combination is probably an acquired taste owing to the disagreeable stench of the gorgonzola which resembles (I’m told) the foul odor of a teenage boy’s gym socks badly in need of laundering, and may take some getting used to. I know that my Aunt Gladys and I who truly savored this ‘concoction’ would inevitably be banished by the rest of the family who did NOT to the kitchen whenever we sought to enjoy it as a late evening snack in front of the TV. My recollection is that we always ate our saloon pilot treats while standing, there being no dinette set handy in our kitchen, nor stools arranged in front of a dining counter, but this never deterred us.

There’s a trick to eating gorgonzola—as you open your mouth to take a bite of your decorated saloon pilot, don’t breathe.  And while you stand there enjoying, or waiting to enjoy, a mouthful of what for many of us is pure bliss, just ignore the fetid stink in the kitchen Your rewards for doing so will all be in the eating. And always be sure to store your left over gorgonzola in an air tight container in the fridge; this, not so much for the sake of the cheese, but more to prevent someone from throwing it out as they rummage about in there for something to eat.

Enjoy!

If you chance to live near a real Chinese market, you can usually find them there, but I have no idea why that should be.

But if you don’t, you can order a box of saloon pilots at this website

http://www.onlyfromhawaii.com/diamondbakerysaloonpilotlarge32oz.aspx

References:

http://www.bigislandchronicle.com/2010/05/20/dispatches-from-curt-%E2%80%94-history-of-hilos-saloon-pilot-cracker-and-anticipated-post-scripts/

 

http://www.rachellaudan.com/2009/03/the-island-plate.html

 

 

 

 

 

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