Labor Day: What is this holiday about?

I can never remember what Labor Day is about. Is it the celebration of Labor Unions? I always just think of it as the end of summer.

I can’t get behind a holiday that doesn’t have presents, or at least candy. For most people it is a bar b que sort of holiday. Like the Fourth of July without the fireworks and all the cute red, white and blue stuff.

I usually go for fresh corn and watermelon. I don’t know if this has anything to do with Labor Day or if the markets just want to get rid of their summer produce. I saw a good recipe in the paper yesterday for corn chowder. It requires eight ears of fresh corn, bacon and potatoes.

The recipe is for creamless corn chowder. It is made with chicken broth, which I happen to have plenty of. This will be my Labor Day cooking project.

Guess that means a trip to Safeway and maybe I will buy one of those gadgets that cuts the kernels off the corn without slicing your hand.

I did read that it you stand an ear of corn in the center tube of an angel food cake pan, and then cut the kernels off with a sharp knife, all the kernels will fall into the pan, instead of flying all over the counter.

As I have an angel food cake pan and a sharp knife, this may be the way to go.

Speaking of bacon, for the chowder, it is easier to cut up the bacon with a scissors before you cook it. Then you can just sort of stir it around in a big frying pan. Some people like the microwave method of cooking bacon, but to me it is too dry.

All I really know about Labor Day is that in the ‘olden’ days  you weren’t supposed to wear white after. I think that ‘rule’ has been relaxed now. People wear white all year long.

Of course now there is ‘Winter White’, which is sort of a very pale vanilla white. You can even buy a full length white cashmere coat, or a white mink jacket or vest. (Neither of which are good for Honolulu, or very practical for anywhere else for that matter.)

Speaking of white, did you know there are about one hundred different shades of white. Go to a paint store and look at the little white paint sample cards. You can change the color of white paint by just adding a drop or so of any color to it. The best white has a few drops of gold mixed in.

But there I go, off on a tangent. Back to Labor Day.

The most memorable Labor Day for me, was the one in 1955. It was the start of Rush Week at UCLA. This is when the freshmen girls try out for their sororities. It involves going to lots of tea parties at the various sorority houses that want to woo you.

UCLA was restricted in 1955, and there were only three Jewish sororities out of 23 all together. So luckily, I only had to go to three parties a day for a week. (Actually two, as I ‘dropped’ the third house on day two)

In 1955 there was a terrible heat wave on Labor Day. It was 104 degrees. The 100 plus temperatures lasted all week. The ‘required’ clothing for these various tea parties was a suit, hat, stockings, high heels and gloves. And you had to be charming and sweet.

Since all the ‘summer’ clothes were gone from the stores by August, the only choices were wool suits, leather gloves and velvet hats. I just about melted.

But I did get into the sorority of my first choice, AEPhi. (Alpha Epsilon Phi), the Numero Uno Jewish sorority in the United States.

Two reasons that really helped me get selected. One, I was from Hawaii and two, nobody knew me from high school, as I went to Punahou in Honolulu and most of the girls in the sorority had gone to Beverly High. So I hadn’t stolen anyone’s boyfriend.