Norman Van Aken

Norman Van Aken's A Word On Food
9:13 am
Sat October 26, 2013

Salt Of The Earth

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

I held my grandchild Audrey in the saltwater of the Atlantic in the Florida Keys ‘Bahia Honda State Park.’

She kicked her ‘just-turned-one’-year-old legs in the shallow sea, churning the water and splashing her granddad joyously. I was a little concerned that the sting of the salty water might invade her incredibly blue eyes. She did not share my concern.

It was only a keening hunger she developed from this new exercise that drove her back to her mother and the cold watermelon to be savored under the stone pavilion our family was huddled under for this birthday celebration.

Read more
Norman Van Aken's A Word On Food
8:00 am
Sat October 19, 2013

Leg Man

I have a leg in my luggage and its coming home with me.

It's a short leg. It's a pink leg. It's a salt sweet leg. It's a leg I was not going to leave behind in Orlando—that’s for sure! This leg once belonged to Chef Sean Brock of "Husk" restaurant fame, up in Charleston. I hope he's not missing it and hopping mad.

But that can't be. He gave it to me. Sent it actually. The leg.

Read more
Norman Van Aken's A Word On Food
8:00 am
Sat October 12, 2013

Souse In The House!

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

I’ve been making Souse.

Right? Got that? Know what I’m talkin’ bout

You might be confused. You might stay that way. Let me unravel a bit.

Here's souse as defined by the Wikipedia geniuses:

Read more
Norman Van Aken's A Word On Food
11:03 am
Sat October 5, 2013

Tortillas: Hecho a Mano

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

A Mexican boy of 20 or so in long baggy shorts with a baseball hat is cooking my eggs while his mother rapidly peels potatoes with a curved blade flicking the peels away from her into a bowl, while she giggles at the conversation she’s having with him.

Read more
Norman Van Aken's A Word On Food
8:00 am
Sat September 28, 2013

Eau de Philly: Sweet Bacalao

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

The rising spring sun played tag with a retreating winter wind on the stony streets of a South Philadelphia morning. Our cab driver was taking us from the genteel hum of a Four Seasons Hotel to the airport for our return to Miami. He seemed to be taking a shortcut not many would know. We were meandering through the narrow streets of a residential section. I spoke up over the squawk of his radio, “Hey, my friend. What part of town is this?!” The cabbie, a smiling Haitian man said, “Yes. This is the Italian Market area.”

Read more
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

Pages