A Word On Food: Sardines

This year I am doing something different with my diary. It is my quotidian  record of where life is with me. 17th century diarist Londoner Samuel Pepys has a lot to do with my habit. Having read his work during that special period of time when I was no longer attending school … but still trying to read like I was. 

In seeing last year’s entry it is almost embarrassing how little I understood  how long the pandemic would be with us … nor the carnage it would inflict. I’d have a sentence in there from one year ago, “It has been more than two weeks since we have been practically confined to our home”   … Perspective is … everything.

My wife, Janet and I got to know the contents of our food pantry in this past year better than ever. One of the new found passions, for me at least were sardines. I always love doing research on foods so I became a bit more of an aesthete on the subject than in times previous. But I kept those notions to myself! In our home I’m the only one that will eat sardines of any stripe. Me and the ghost of my late father that is. I found a happy ‘harbor’ in primarily Spanish varieties harvested off the coast of Galicia. Sardines are both a soulful food and a convenience one. Sardines are not a single variety of fish, but of a group that number near 300 species! They are found all around the world. When I think of our father and food the first image that often comes to mind is of him standing in his swim trunks on our cement patio with a towel draped over his strong shoulders eating something out of can. Tuna fish smothered in Miracle Whip and slapped between two slices of Wonder Bread were the limit to my canned seafood forays up until that time. He offered his snack…. I demurred. 


Now it’s time to hit the ‘Listen on WLRN’ button at the top to hear the remainder of my show. ‘A Word On Food’ airs on WLRN every Saturday around 8:30 a.m. at 91.3 and also 91.5 on the radio. I want to thank so many of you who tell me in person how much you are enjoying the show! Please check out my Instagram photos and my new IG TV cooking videos @normanvanaken 

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