100 years ago today, January 16, 1916 a new tradition started at Punahou School: the school lunch.
While a noontime meal has been a daily practice since the first Punahou students hung their dinner pails in a closet adjoining the schoolroom, it was not until January 16, 1916 that boarding and day students could enjoy a hot lunch together.
The school’s cafeteria fare was originally offered to wean students from the peanut and soda wagons that had been an institution at Punahou’s lower gate for years. And, with the exception of the perennially beloved Alexander Grocery (more commonly known as the “Chink Store”), the plan worked.
Students would soon flock across Middle Field to Dole Hall at “seemingly Olympic speeds” with cafeteria tickets and cards in hand to purchase food as comforting as caramel cuts, as tasty as rice and gravy, and as sweet as the honey from the Punahou Farm. The Snack Bar and breakfast service would follow in 1947.
Today more than 3,700 cafeteria servings are issued each day under the watchful eye of Marcia Barrett ’74 Wright, Punahou’s 13th and longest-serving director of food service.
To read the full story of the history of Punahou’s school lunch program please click here.