labor (la'ber) n. all wage-earning workers
as a group (distinguished from MANAGEMENT)

Refuse collectors Denise Cabinatan, left, crew leader Gary Sagun, and Donald Lum, far right, with Gary Rodrigues, United Public Workers union leader, at Thomas Square grinding sweet and sour spareribs, a likely dish at the picnic Sunday.
Photos by Craig T. Kojima, Star-Bulletin

Labor Day flavors

Bountiful picnics, potlucks and barbecues
mark this end-of-the-summer long weekend

By Catherine Kekoa Enomoto

TAKE a break from the work-a-day grind and nosh some Labor Day grinds, courtesy of isle union members - spicy nori rolls from the Valley Isle, succulent sweet and sour spareribs UPW-style, and piquant black bean and corn salad HGEA-style.

The "HGEA/AFSCME Cooks III" cookbook features Lorraine Higa's Korean-style nori rolls, an appetizer combining ground beef, raw fishcake, water chestnuts and dried nori, or seaweed.

"Sometimes my son comes to my place, takes it out of the refrigerator and eats it like that - cold," said Higa, a medical records technician at Maui Memorial Hospital. "It's more like a finger food. Everybody likes it."

Gary Rodrigues, United Public Workers director, presents sweet and sour spareribs from a recipe that his mother, Gertrude Rodrigues of Kapaa, Kauai, taught him. The dish is a simple, two-step specialty that will make a hit at any Labor Day weekend gathering.

And, make ahead a salad of fiber-filled black beans, corn, Monterey jack cheese and green onions - contributed by Chester and Judy Kunitake. Chester Kunitake serves as public policy officer for HGEA/AFSCME and is chairing a cooking committee at this weekend's Labor Day Celebration from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday at Thomas Square and the Honolulu Academy of Arts' Linekona Art Center.

The event features a myriad activities with the following highlights:

Sunday's Labor Day Celebration salutes the 50th anniversary of the 1946 sugar strike by 21,000 Hawaii workers.

Lorraine Higa, center, holds spicy nori rolls at a Maui gathering of, from left, her sister-in-law Julie Higa, neighbor A.J. Kikugawa, nephew Jason Miyahira, sister-in-law Janet Miyahira, husband Steven Higa, and mother-in-law Sachiko Higa.
By Gary Kubota, Star-Bulletin

Today, labor unions represent almost one-fifth of America's nonagricultural work force - 16.4 million out of 103.7 million workers, according to World Book Encyclopedia.

The labor movement, along with economic progress, has given workers a better standard of living than ever before. These workers earn higher wages, work shorter hours, are better protected against accidents, and receive more fringe benefits than past laborers.

This weekend, salute labor - along with summer's end and the advent of fall and the new school year - with Labor Day delectables from the 240-page "HGEA/AFSCME Cooks III" cookbook ($10 at 543-0014):

Korean Style Nori Rolls

(Courtesy of Lorraine Higa, Maui Memorial Hospital)

1 package yaki sushi nori (dried seaweed sheets)
1 pound lean hamburger
12 ounces raw fish cake
3/4 to 1 cup chopped green onion
3/4 to 1 can water chestnuts, drained and minced
1 package Korean barbecue seasoning mix, such as Noh's brand
1/4 teaspoon red chile pepper flakes (optional)
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil (optional)
Vegetable oil for frying

Cut each nori sheet into 6 pieces; set aside.

In a bowl, mix remaining ingredients except oil. Place about 2 teaspoons of mixture on each piece of nori and roll into miniature logs. Heat oil in a frying pan and fry rolls until cooked.

Makes 60 pieces.

Approximate nutritional analysis per roll: 45 calories, 3.5 grams total fat, 1 gram saturated fat, 10 milligrams cholesterol, 60 milligrams sodium.*

Sweet and Sour Spareribs

(Courtesy of Gary W. Rodrigues, director, UPW - United Public Workers)

2 pounds spareribs, cut in pieces
2 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon vinegar

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon salt

In a large bowl, mix ribs, flour, soy sauce and vinegar together thoroughly. Set aside for 45 minutes.

Fry ribs in a little oil in a pot, stirring constantly.

In a bowl, mix together sauce ingredients and pour over fried ribs. Cook over low to medium heat until ribs are soft, about 30 minutes, stirring to keep ribs from burning. Serve with rice.

Makes 4 servings.

Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 660 calories, 32 grams total fat, 12 grams saturated fat, 130 milligrams cholesterol, at least 1,800 milligrams sodium.*

Spicy Black Bean and Corn Salad

(Courtesy of Chester and Judy Kunitake)

16-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
8-ounce can whole-kernel corn, drained
3/4 cup sliced green onions
3/4 cup thinly sliced celery
4 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, diced into 1/4-inch cubes
1 small red bell pepper, diced
3/4 cup picante sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 clove garlic, minced

Combine the first 6 ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, place remaining ingredients and mix well. Toss with bean mixture. Chill.

Approximate nutritional analysis per 1/2-cup: 135 calories, 6 grams total fat, 2 grams saturated fat, 10 milligrams cholesterol, 200 milligrams sodium.*

Labor Picnic

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