Hawaiian Chicken

Hawaiian Chicken

Okay, this is a funny story. Well, at least I find it funny, and more than mildly embarrassing.

Perhaps you remember junior high.

Of course you remember junior high!

If you are normal, you were probably scarred for life by it, and I’m not just talking about zits. I’m talking about those long ago uncomfortable memories which seem to pop up at the oddest times.

The Set Up

Recently I have been studying about the art of blogging. There are a staggering amount of things to learn. A few nights ago when I was doing some on-line reading and clicking on link after recommended link, I ended up on Pinterest. I had been instructed to observe the number of followers for a certain Pinner and the types of boards and pins that she has.

The Pinner has 139 boards and over 10,000 followers. I was in awe and found myself wanting to be like her. Then suddenly an old 7th grade memory popped into my head. I slumped a little lower into the couch and turned a faint pink color at the memory.

The Wanna Be

My family had just moved to Lewes, Delaware and once again I was the new kid in school.

It takes a new kid about five seconds to get the lay of the land, the proverbial hierarchy of who is popular…and who is not. I was always on the “not” list. That’s okay; it builds character. I didn’t know it then, but I do now.

Back in junior high almost everyone wants to be popular. The school which I attended was populated with kids who had known each other since kindergarten and, to their credit, they seemed to all get along very well. Still, there were the “in” kids. I wanted to be an “in” kid. I wanted it so badly. I mean, it was 7th grade, and if I didn’t make it as a popular kid in 7th grade then there was no hope for my future.

The seating arrangement in most of  my classes was such that I was often seated beside or near the number 1 most popular boy in the 7th grade. He had long blond hair and brown eyes and I thought he was amazing. He carried a Blue Horse three-ring binder, a standard binder of the early 70’s.

blue horse notebook

Down the spine of the binder, Popular Boy had penned an eight letter word. I would say that word over and over in my mind, wondering what it meant. Sometimes my classmates would say the word out loud in a sing-song way. Everyone would laugh, including Popular Boy. Clearly, the word had some secret meaning, but I was completely clueless about it.

I often thought about writing the same word down the spine of my notebook so that I would look cool, too. I thought about it a lot. It didn’t occur to me that Popular Boy was the only one sporting it openly.

The Femme Fatale 

One day I noticed that Popular Boy was with a very pretty girl, whom I had never seen. They were holding hands and talking quietly to each other in the classroom doorway before school started. I stared at Pretty Girl. I wanted to be her. She was confident and had beautiful long hair that went halfway down her back and she wore great clothes.

The bell rang and Popular Boy and Pretty Girl said good-bye. “I’ll see you this afternoon,” they said to each other. As a parting gesture, Pretty Girl kissed Popular Boy on the cheek and commanded him to work hard in class. And then she was off, long hair billowing around her head and shoulders as she turned.

Popular Boy sauntered into the classroom and some of my classmates started teasing him and saying that mystery word in that kind of  sing-songy “secret code” sort of way. Popular Boy just smiled and laughed and said the word right back at them.

The Death Scene

I couldn’t stand it any longer. I had to, had to, had to know what the word meant. Working up some courage, I turned to a girl I mostly trusted and quietly asked, “What does delphine mean?” The girl kind of laughed at me, but not in an overly mean way, then whispered, “She’s [Popular Boy’s] girlfriend. She’s in 8th grade. That’s her name…Delphine.”

I died. Turned bright red and absolutely died at the thought that I had almost written DELPHINE down the spine of my notebook. The possible social ramifications haunt me to this day.

The Awakening


How was it possible for a kid who had already lived in 5 states and was attending her 7th school in as many years, to never have encountered the name Delphine? Come to think of it, though, she is the only Delphine I have ever encountered. Ever.

You’d think that I would have learned a “forever” lesson from that incident. The lesson being, live your own life in your own way. Just live, for heaven’s sake! Be yourself.

But, no. Apparently I didn’t learn it well enough because a few nights ago I sat on my own couch right here in my own home and momentarily felt like a Pinterest wanna be with 139 boards and 10,000+ followers. Gawh!!!!!!

My Cyber Manifesto

If you like something and want to Pin it, then Pin it! Don’t worry about whether it will get any repins and don’t act all dejected when apparently you are the only one in the whole world who likes that hot pink hand crocheted Care Bear doily with sequins. (It would be a shoe-in for a white elephant gift. 🙂 ) Disclaimer: I don’t know if such an item actually exists; I was just making something up. Okay?????

If you like something on someone’s blog, leave a nice comment in the comment section. (By the same token, if you don’t like it, then please keep your thoughts to yourself. Be nice. There’s no need to make fun of someone. They’ll know. Believe me, sooner or later they’ll know and it will probably hurt them when they see it.

Make some cyber friends. Be a cyber friend! Even if you only have one person or one place on the internet where you feel you belong, that’s okay. I honestly believe that it is important for us to reach out to each other even though we may never meet in person. I believe that we can impact each others’ lives in positive ways through on-line connections such as Facebook, Pinterest, and blogs.

And, finally, if you like Hawaiian Chicken, but no one else in the whole world looks at your pictures and your recipe and says, “Gee, I really want to make that outrageously, scrumptious looking dish”; it doesn’t matter! YOU like it. So make it and take pictures of it and put it on your blog and don’t be afraid or embarrassed about what other people might think. (Just make sure you know what all of the words mean on your blog post before you push the “publish” button.)

I’ll bet that you were waiting with baited breath to see how I was going to tie Hawaiian Chicken into a lengthy post on 7th grade angst and the mess I barely escaped. But I showed you; yes I did.

So, Hawaiian Chicken.

Hawaiian Chicken

Hawaiian Chicken

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

This excellent "sweet & sour" chicken dish is sweetened with honey instead of sugar. The tang of the apple cider vinegar melds perfectly with the flavors of honey, ginger, garlic, and sweet peppers.

Recipe adapted from "Hawaiian Chicken" in the 1981 edition of Lion House Recipes, p 44.


  • 6-8 pieces bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces (breast halves, thighs and legs recommended)
  • salt
  • all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cooking oil
  • 1 can (20 ounces) pineapple tidbits, drained--juice reserved
  • chicken broth, to add to reserved pineapple juice (see instructions)
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon well minced fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
  • 1 sweet bell pepper, color per choice, cut into 1/4-inch strips
  • 1 small onion, sliced into lengthwise strips (separate strips along ring lines)
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, optional


  1. Preheat oven to 350-degrees F. Lightly butter a 2-quart baking dish; set aside.
  2. Rinse chicken pieces under cool running water; pat dry with paper towels. Set aside.
  3. Sprinkle salt over all sides of chicken pieces. Lightly flour each piece.
  4. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Brown chicken pieces on both sides. Place chicken in prepared baking dish. Set aside.
  5. For the Sauce:
  6. Add enough chicken broth to the reserved pineapple juice to equal 1 1/2 cups of liquid. I was able to reserve a little over 1/2 cup pineapple juice from a 20 ounce can of pineapple tidbits. Pour liquids into a medium sauce pot. Whisk the cornstarch into the liquids until smooth.
  7. To the cornstarch and liquid mixture, add the vinegar, honey, ginger and garlic. Whisk together. Heat over medium heat, whisking continuously, until sauce thickens. Pour thickened sauce over the chicken.
  8. Bake chicken for 30 minutes, uncovered. Scatter the pineapple tidbits, bell pepper strips, onion strips and sesame seeds over the chicken. Return to oven and bake, uncovered, for an additional 15 minutes, or until thickest portions of chicken reach 160-degrees internally.
  9. Serve as desired. The sauce tastes great over cooked rice.

I have a giant question for you. What was one of your embarrassing stories from junior high or middle school? Come on…let’s share in the comment section!


You may also like:
Garlic-Ginger Chicken and Vegetables Stir Fry
Garlic-Ginger Chicken and Vegetables Stir Fry
Teriyaki Beef and Rice Bowls
Teriyaki Beef and Rice Bowls
Hawaiian Haystacks {Thai-style}
Hawaiian Haystacks {Thai-style}


  1. Sarah says

    Mmmmm…that sounds tasty!
    Oh, and having gone through so many baby names recently, I can honestly say that I have never heard the name Delphine before! Not sure I’m a fan either 🙂

  2. says

    I’ve never had hawaiian chicken and I’ve never met anyone named Delphine, but boy does your story hit home with me. We moved sooooo many times when I was a kid. Sigh…. so hard to be the new kid. Each and every time I wanted to crawl in a hole and die. Oh, loved your disclaimer!

  3. Dalila G. says

    This is another recipe that I will be adding to my collection, looks yummy!
    We happen to enjoy chicken any way that I make it.
    Always nice to try new ways of surprising hubby with chicken.
    I have heard of Delphine before, not a popular name with the girls.
    I was in the ‘middle’ of the groups at school.
    Not the popular one, but not a no-body, had my group of friends, boys & girls.
    Wasn’t the brain in class, but did have some smarts.
    Wasn’t always picked first for sport teams, but I never was the last one picked.
    Have a nice weekend!

  4. says

    Oh Terri, I so enjoyed reading your story from Junior High. I have some of those painful memories myself. I was also not part of the “cool crowd”. I was mostly a nerdy outsider for the most part. LOL! Like you said… it builds character. 🙂 I also blog for myself… I don’t think so much of who it will please. If it pleases me… then I’m doing it. This online cookbook is for me and my kids/family. I just enjoy meeting new people that also love my food. 🙂 I love your Hawaiian chicken… I can tell it was delicious from the photos and the listed ingredients. We may not be the “cooler food bloggers” around… but like who we are. 🙂

    • says

      Oh yeah, babe. Being comfortable in your own skin is a blessing, right? I agree with you about food blogging as being a way to develop an on-line family cookbook. It makes me so amazingly happy when one of my daughters’ say, “Mom, did you put that recipe for [whatever] on your blog? I need it.” Sometimes I’ll look back on some of my older posts which include events and pictures from my personal life. I get such a sense of happiness that I captured a moment that might otherwise have been forgotten or remembered differently than it really happened. And yes, I have met some wonderful people along the way. Those relationships make me happy, too. It’s like having a pen pal without having to wait for a letter to arrive through snail mail. 🙂 ~Terri

  5. says

    Yep, that cinnamon roll cake is definitely a “go to heaven” dessert. I really wish that you hadn’t reminded about it…I’m having a gloomy Monday and that cinnamon roll cake would fix a whole lot of Monday blues. But I would eat most of it all by myself. BUT WAIT! I could divide the recipe between two pans and give one of them away. Excellent idea! ~Terri

  6. Carol says

    What a fantastic looking plate of delicious that is! I can’t wait to try the chicken. It’s so cold here in the North East-I’ll serve this Hawaiian Chicken and think warm tropical breezes…..yup, that’s the ticket!

    Oh boy-those blue binders and popular boys…….yes indeed I remember junior high and wanting to be part of the popular crowd-and not fitting in. I look back now and wonder why? but, back then……at that age, in my mind, that was what mattered the most. What was I thinking?

    Thank you SO much for the “reality check”, Terri-your words of wisdom started my week off on a high note. You ROCK!


  7. Julia says

    Just wanted to say, today I discovered your wonderful website. I came looking for recipes and found myself loving your stories! You’re so sincere and genuine in your writing, and it made me feel really good.

    I loved this post particularly! I think everyone needs to be reminded to just be themselves and live their life! So thank you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *