Postcards

Father’s Day

Grampa Van Aken I have read stories of negligent fathers in the past and one again this morning. Its heart-wrenching. I’ve read about the love sons and daughters sought but did not find. I had known of the hurt of a father’s lack of…well let’s just call it constancy. My dad was…

Of Country Hams, Husk And Earl

When I was about 19 years old I started hitchhiking around America with a couple of buddies. It seems reckless to me now, but we were sheathed in the armor of youth and thusly protected. One of the routes I came to know was the one between my hometown in Northern Illinois…

Southland Cooking Report

We worked our asses off last night in South Carolina doing a “black tie dinner”. (See the previous posts on Kiawah). But we had a good time and made our food pretty darn close to the way I hoped it would be. The Ocean Room team led by Chef Nate Thurston did…

Celebrating Corn on Kiawah Island

The day has arrived…or actually the day and night. We are cooking on the Island known as Kiawah to raise money for cancer research at the Hollings Center of Charleston. It is one of the great things to be able to help in our way by cooking for appreciative folks who not…

Sauce Sketching

Part of the bounty from a recent trip up to Homestead was a large box of plum tomatoes. I went to work preserving them in a variety of ways. Since we have a new smoker I went in that direction with many of them. For the majority of the tomatoes I kept…

If You Want To Get To Heaven…

I arrived in Key West near Easter a long time ago. It was long before ‘Margaritaville’, (the song, the place, the conglomerate) and the year-round festivals that keep Duval Street packed with revelers. It might be hard to imagine for some what Key West was like back then. But if you go…

Easter Awaits Us Again

Falling in love with Key West was one of the most natural events of my life. I was freezing in the so called Spring of 1971 and I had arrived after hitchhiking from near the Wisconsin-Illinois border to a party my friends were having in Champaign, Illinois and then taking a ride…

Bollitos Go To Kiawah Island

I’m happy to be going to the beautiful Kiawah Resort about 30 mile south of Charleston to cook with the team there to raise money for the Hollings Cancer Center at the Medical University of South Carolina. Kiawah is located along 10 miles of pristine beach and their golf resort is rated…

Charlie Trotter Walks His Own Road

In 1985 my wife, Janet and our son, Justin were living in a rented home in Key West. I had recently taken over as Chef of Louie’s Backyard. The setting of that restaurant was heavenly to me. The hours inside that kitchen were some of the most physically punishing of my life….

Boat of Hope

A few times a week we head past the boat you see and into the ‘indoor-outdoor’ building behind it called “Fishbusterz”. It is a commercial and retail fish house on Stock Island. The folks who own it are having a tough time, as many are in this economy, that is doing better…

 
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