Postcards

Victuals: An Appalachian Journey

Excerpted from “Victuals. Say it the way my people have for centuries: vidls. Maybe you’ve seen it spelled “vittles” in a cartoon balloon coming from the mouth of Mammy Yokum. Or heard it as the punch line delivered before Granny Clampett clogs off to “roast up a mess of possum.” Maybe you…

On Fusion Cooking

“The fires of fusion are coming.” —Norman Van Aken, On Fusion Cooking 1988 Thirty years ago I wrote the words above sitting in a small, unpainted wooden building in Key West, our southernmost of the contiguous forty-eight states. The building had most recently housed a woman’s hair parlor. It was a perfect…

Kitchen Cousins: Chefs Nurture Growing Careers

In 1987 a person who’d become so much more than a ‘young cook in my kitchen’ but who’d become my spiritual and culinary ‘brother’ opened up his own restaurant. It was named “Charlie Trotter’s”. He made history there over the next twenty years. This article is about the opening night party Charlie…

Star Chef Questions

What is American Cuisine? “Take a boy from the Midwest, Have him work in hash house to haute, with Frenchmen, Italian, Japanese, East Philadelphians, Latinos, other American kids and let him sweat for 15 years or so. …now pop him into the oven of your wildest imaginations and then cool with classical…

Student Interview

1. I know that you love to cook and create dishes from a lot of Latin and Caribbean countries, but have you traveled to most of the places that you are inspired by? And which places were the most inspiring? We haven’t been able to travel as much as we’d like to….

Chocolate Chip Cookies

To hell with history here! When it comes to things like Chocolate Chip Cookies there are memories that are much more indelible than the shifting and … floury in this case … ‘footprints’ of time. My first memories of chocolate chip cookies came within months of my first awakenings of …other things…

Mofongo

The first time I heard the word mofongo I knew I wanted to use it on one of my menus! I didn’t even know what the dish was and … I almost didn’t care. I simply loved the word and wanted to use it for our guests to enjoy too. When my…

Sausages

It was the best of time it was the wurst of times… That might be funny if you could read it… wurst being spelled w-u-r-s-t in this case. But I digress. The Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto reportedly had 13 pigs aboard when he arrived to the new world and docked near…

Barbecue Season Is Here!

In Chicago in 1956 one of the welders at Weber Brothers Metal Works named George Stephen, made a grill by cutting a metal buoy in half. The Weber folks were already making grills. They’d begun to do that in 1952. But George Stephen made his with said buoy and a giant shift…

An Interview with Norman Van Aken

Tell us about your formative years and how did you find your way into the culinary field to become widely known as ‘the founding father of New World Cuisine’. NVA: My ‘formative years’ eh? I first must tell you that I wrote a memoir on this which goes into some length on…

 
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