Norman Van Aken

Norman Van Aken's A Word On Food
8:00 am
Sat September 14, 2013

Ceviches: A Raw Deal, But So Good

Click the play button above to hear the radio version of this post.

Controversies over the birthplace of certain dishes are part of the spice of life and landscape of any cuisine. A spirited discussion revolves around the origin of ceviches. This seafood favorite, made of raw fish and/or barely blanched shellfish marinated in citrus juices and laced with various adornments, many maintain, was bestowed upon the world at large via ancient Peru.

Or not.

Read more
Norman Van Aken's A Word On Food
8:00 am
Sat September 7, 2013

Welcome To Ham Country

Click the play button above to hear the radio version of this post.

We were in Atlanta for the annual Atlanta Food & Wine Festival not long ago. The folks who started this up have hit the sweet spot on all manner of Southern cooking and drinking with this fest.

My son Justin and I were busy as bees over the 3 days and nights with various events---a dinner at the “Optimist’s Club,” a “nose-to-tail” demo on whole fish grilling at The Loews Hotel and finally a farewell party Sunday evening called “A Chorus of Greens” hosted by Atlanta star chefs, Annie Quatrano and Linton Hopkins. We did attend a few classes as well. One was on making Country Hams.

Read more
Norman Van Aken's A Word On Food
8:00 am
Sat August 31, 2013

Huevos Rancheros And A Time Machine

Click the play button above to hear the radio version of this post.

The movie “Back to the Future” loops through my head more and more as I grow older. The notion of time moving in a ‘ever new’ way and only going forward is simply unreal or so it seems.

There are times and especially settings when it strikes me that life is more of a ‘paint over’ from previous events. The past and future collide in these moments and miss the intermediary avenue of a span of years. It isn’t just deja vu all over again. Or is it? Ask Yogi Berra. His gentle, whacky wit is a comfort throughout time’s ‘jumps.’

So far my story might not be making you hungry but we will get there. It’s only a matter of yes, time.

Read more
Norman Van Aken's A Word On Food
8:00 am
Sat August 24, 2013

Peanut Butter, I'm Nuts For The Stuff

Click the play button above to hear the radio version of this post.

If you’re like most people, you can be transported to a dream state when eating peanut butter.

If you’re like me, the dream is a long one and involves various forms, stages of life, battles with a sibling over who got the last spoonful, issues of textures and the divination of the knife’s scrapings on the clawed bottom of an empty jar.

Read more
Norman Van Aken's A Word On Food
8:00 am
Sat August 17, 2013

Ropa Vieja: Old Clothes, Big Flavor!

Click the play button above to hear the radio version of this post.

Facebook, I think most listeners know, has a larger population than, well, possibly Earth. It is too big to contemplate or—probably-- trust.

But there is one small colony on Facebook I have come to find haven and even sense in. It is a sub-community called, “I remember Key West when.” I go there to remember, savor and taste the roots of my cooking all over again. Other memory treasure salvers who still live full time down there, (or at least seem to) post pictures of the places I wandered into as I came to know my adopted home town.

Read more
Norman Van Aken's A Word On Food
8:00 am
Sat August 10, 2013

Gee Whiz! Philly Cheese Steak Sandwiches

Click the play button above to hear the radio version of this post.

When I go to a city as a guest chef, our hosts usually take great care of us and routinely offer to take us to one of the fancy or “Four Star!” restaurants in town.

Read more
Norman Van Aken's A Word On Food
8:00 am
Sat August 3, 2013

Strike Gold With The Heavenly Taste Of Avocados

Click the play button above to hear the radio version of this post.

I was out walking Bounder, the little dog our son Justin brought home from a shelter a few years ago, and was almost back home when I spotted a McArthur Dairy milk crate brimming over with a harvest of 20 or more backyard grown avocados on the edge a neighbor’s lawn.

Read more
Norman Van Aken's A Word On Food
8:00 am
Sat July 27, 2013

Roux The Day!

Credit wikipedia.org

One of the more dominant techniques that began to show up in the kitchens of the 17th Century was roux. Seldom has a technique undergone such a transformation in opinion amongst chefs and dedicated home cooks.

Read more
Norman Van Aken's A Word On Food
1:31 pm
Sat July 20, 2013

Three Kings And Arepa Love

A high-pitched voice called out, “Arepa, Arepa, Arepa de Maiz!”

The ‘Parade of the Three Kings’ was heading our way and our son was marching with his South Miami High School band. Justin normally played the viola back in those days, but he surprised me as he hefted a huge drum and beat on it with energy and precision while he and his bandmates proceeded in musical celebration past us while tears of pride fell on my chest.

Read more
South Florida Arts Beat
1:00 pm
Fri May 24, 2013

Jazz Roots Series, The Lowe Art Museum, Chef Norman Van Aken and Florida Keys Calendar

Jazz Roots
http://www.arshtcenter.org/jazzroots1314/

05/24/13 - Next time on South Florida Arts Beat, Jazz producer extraordinaire, Larry Rosen, brings us the details about his Jazz Roots Series opening at The Arsht Center in the fall. Contributor Judith Bishop speaks with the Lowe Art Museum’s Executive Director, Brian Dursum, about upcoming exhibitions.

Read more
Norman Van Aken's A Word On Food
8:00 am
Sat May 4, 2013

A Brief Taste Of The Latin American Tamale

We love to pack a little carry on of food before getting on a plane. It’s a fine way to pass the time and avoid the bland, predictable and unhealthy!

Read more
Norman Van Aken's Word On Food
1:00 pm
Fri April 12, 2013

'Taco of Shepherds' Highlights Cooking Trip To El Paso

Credit Norman Van Aken

We were invited to El Paso, Texas to cook at a gathering of ‘Oldways Preservation’, a non-profit organization based in Boston, Massachussetts. ‘Oldways’ is one of the premier educational forums for focusing on healthy, culturally diverse and historically respectful eating. They put on conferences around the world and invite scientists, farmers, professors, chefs and food/wine media to promote positive lifestyles.

Read more
Norman Van Aken's Word On Food
3:43 pm
Wed April 10, 2013

Caldo Gallego: White Bean Soup From Spain Is A Taste Of Key West

Caldo Gallego is a white bean soup made with pork, potatoes, collard greens, boniato and garlic.

It may surprise some of you but I used to be quite shy when it came to going into restaurants and trying dishes and ingredients I had not known growing up, (as I had) in a small town in Northern Illinois. Now I am known for being “all in” when it comes to that… but we all have our ‘earlier selves’...don’t we?

Read more
Miami Book Fair International
1:00 pm
Fri November 16, 2012

Excerpt From My Key West Kitchen By Norman Van Aken And Justin Van Aken

Credit Kyle Books

In My Key West Kitchen: Recipes and Stories, father-and-son chefs Norman Van Aken and Justin Van Aken present recipes inspired by Key West foods their family has relished throughout the decades, including Captain Tony's Sunday Fish Fry, Dennis Pharmacy Navy Bean Soup and The Midget's Brunswick Stew.

The Midget was one of the first places Norman Van Aken cooked in Key West after arriving from Illinois. 

Read more

Pages