A Word On Food: Foraging

A few years ago my wife, Janet and I were at the farmer’s market on Biscayne when a young woman walked up to me and asked if I was Norman Van Aken. I nodded yes. She said, ‘Good. Can you wait a minute? I want to give you a book…

A Word On Food: Chilies

The New World endowed the rest of the globe with one of the spices of life: chilies. The word comes from the Aztecs’ Náhuatl language. The Taino Indians called them ajíes, and in the Incan Quechua tongue they are known as uchu. The 1st of January is a festive occasion…

A Word On Food: Barbecue

Few food topics unites us and divides folks in the USA like barbecue. I am of the belief that it is because it touches us in a very passionate place. Our sense of hunger mixed with tradition. What we grow up with. The Chinese philosopher Lin Yutang wrote, “What is…

A Word On Food: Ventanitas

In 1971 when I … and three other wanderers .. crossed the short span named the ‘Cow Key Channel Bridge’ from Stock Island .. the island to the immediate north of Key West I passed forevermore through a magical window of life. What was unfolding all around me that Spring…

A Word On Food: School Lunches

When it came to going to school my sisters and I lived in a world that was routine. No home schooling existed. Many of you would add; mercifully. The only thing that prevented us from attending grade school every weekday from September until June would have been a white out…

A Word On Food: Tubers

Archeologists have discovered signs of potato cultivation as early as 9,000 years ago in the Andean valley. Researchers believe that people first domesticated the wild tuber on the shores of Lake Titicaca, along the borders of modern-day Peru and Bolivia. These early inhabitants bred yellow potatoes and white potatoes, fat…

A Word On Food: Pasta

We have been together on this program awhile you and I. We are getting close to A Word On Food show #400. Yet how have I not yet done a show on pasta? It is one of those things that is so common in our lives we can forget them….

A Word On Food: Medianoches

Saying medianoches might sound to some like I’m saying midnights as in a plural of them. But since is this is “A Word On Food” and we are in Southern Florida many of you knew I was and am… speaking of the sandwiches so named. The debates as to the…

A Word On Food: Mexican Breakfasts

Evidently we need to handle the fact that … though the virus we are beset with may ebb and flow … it is not likely to go altogether away anytime soon. It will take longer if folks don’t listen to the medical and science experts that I am sure of….

A Word On Food: B.L.T’s

Very few sandwiches have attained the notoriety that we know them by their initials alone. Take five. Think about that. After P.B.J’s it gets a little tougher to think of others that make it to that pedestal of comestibles we arrange between slices of bread or, if you prefer ……

A Word On Food: Preserves

I’m thinking maybe more than a few of you folks listening might have wondered what I meant by the word preserves. We don’t converse about preserves like we did in the faraway 1950’s. Nor the term canning. But preserving and canning were big in our childhood home. And it is…

A Word On Food: Biscotti

In these times of worry, confusion and even the sense of confinement it is good to look back with gratitude to the people who have made life marvelous as well. It is especially nice when it is a local hero who our community was so very proud. I was a…

A Word On Food: Gnocchi

In Uruguay and Argentina, where the cuisine is strongly influenced by Italy, there is a curious tradition of unknown origin. It is believed that if you eat gnocchi on the 29th of each month, you’ll have plenty of cash for the next 30 days. Some people even place wallets on…

A Word On Food: Elotes Asados

We had a restaurant in Los Angeles for awhile. “Norman’s On Sunset”. It was a wild ride for many reasons. One of the things that made it spectacular for a person who loves to cook is their magnificent bounty of produce out there. Oh. Don’t get me wrong. I think…

A Word On Food: Robert is Here

Joyce Carol Oates wrote, “In a time of social distancing writers find themselves, surprisingly, at an advantage.  Ever adaptable, we humans are also the storytelling species:  No matter the technology, no matter the grimness of our condition, we want to be told stories.  In November of 1959 a delicious story…

A Word On Food: French Fries

When folks get the food they have ordered at a restaurant .. and it accompanied by a side of french fries I’d lay heavy odds that the very first thing that is touched, tasted, sampled, eaten and enjoyed … will be the fries. It is a lock. I’ve seen it…

 
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