culture

Tails And Tales
8:00 am
Sat January 25, 2014

A Word On Food: Oxtails

Please click the play button above to hear the radio version of this post by Norman Van Aken.

The majority of times I have enjoyed oxtails has been in the classic Cuban dish named, “Rabo Encendido.” The translation is literally “Lit Tail.”

This is supposedly due to the spice level in the dish, but unless I make it myself or have it in the home of another chile-loving person, the spice is mild, while the flavor is great. I love the tomato-ey rich stew that I have eaten since venturing into places like “El Siboney” in Key West years ago. I had it there again recently. 

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Big Bird
8:00 am
Sat January 11, 2014

A Word On Food: Turkey

Click the play button above to the hear the radio version of this post by Norman Van Aken.

The first time we rolled down Highway 1 in the Florida Keys was 1971. Sometimes you would not see an oncoming car for 10 to 15 minutes. The darkness on those narrow bridges we crossed was nearly overwhelming.

But above us the constellations came through. The starlight was an explosion of skyward imagery that guided us forth. Now we drive across these islands on the same highway and struggle to find a gap where you hope to find the darkness once again and the attendant miracle of the stars. Returning here, I am reminded of the words of ancient Heraclitus, “No man ever steps in the same river twice for its not the same river and hes not the same man.

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Electric Lard
8:00 am
Sat January 4, 2014

A Word On Food: Mojos

Click the play button above to hear the radio version of this post by Norman Van Aken.

Many North Americans would look at the word "mojo" in its printed form and pronounce it “mo-joe." In Spanish of course, it's pronounced "mo-ho" because the letter “j” is pronounced as an "h," as in jalapeño.

The word mojo comes from the word “mojar,” which means, "to wetten” so the usage of mojo can actually be pretty broad in that there are many ways to ‘wetten’ food. Years ago, I took a rather radical departure from the traditions of mojo and made tropical fruit mojos! If mojo meant a thing that would get something wet, I wanted to demonstrate that food that I’d added spices to, especially fish, would be happy swimming in a puree of mango and another dimensional ingredient or so.

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Sailor Stews
8:00 am
Sat December 28, 2013

A Word On Food: Chilau

Click the play button above to hear the radio version of this post by Norman Van Aken.

A play of light mesmerized me as I lay in bed, savoring the last moments of an unmoored  consciousness. I allowed my mind to wander as I simply enjoyed the light show and worked on understanding where it was coming from and how it was working.

The process of cooking is nearly identical for me. The analyst in me came to realize that the fluttering sequences of light and shadow dancing on the unadorned wall placed me in the room that once was my son’s. The light of the early morning sun punctuated by the rhythm of the ceiling fan sought to keep me lulled and sleeping longer.

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The King's Meat
8:00 am
Sat December 21, 2013

A Word On Food: Roast Beef

Click the play button above to hear the radio version of this post by Norman Van Aken.

The very words themselves call up ancient things. I imagine it on the menu that day in the year 1215 when King John was forced to sign the Magna Carta at Runnymede or something Shakespeare’s own mother would have served.

When I fantasize about the words being read in a perfect movie, I hear a voice like Sir Alec Guinness intoning them.

“Roast Beef.”

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Airs On WLRN CH 17 Sun, Dec. 22 @ 9p
12:01 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

Gay Men's Chorus: Heaven And Nature Sing

Credit Adrienne Kennedy

WLRN-TV presents the sensational holiday special Gay Men's Chorus: Heaven and Nature Sing performed by the Fort Lauderdale-based Gay Men's Chorus of South Florida.

Under the skillful baton of Julliard-graduate, arranger and composer Gordon Roberts, the 150-voice chorus produces a rich, blended sound from Baroque and classical scores to popular standards that will be sure to put South Floridians in the holiday spirit.

Gay Men's Chorus: Heaven and Nature Sing was taped at the Sunshine Cathedral MCC in Fort Lauderdale on Friday, December 13.

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Tongue Ho!
8:00 am
Sat December 14, 2013

A Word On Food: Taco Lingo

Click the play button above to hear the radio version of this post by Norman Van Aken.

I learn words in many ways, but the best may be in eating. The words on the menus and in the cookbooks I have from around the world have helped me conquer at least ‘parts’ of foreign languages.

I have a good knowledge of French, Italian and even some Japanese, if you allow that food is the central most important aspect of understanding a people’s tongue. My vocabulary was broadened by at least seven new words in Little Havana just the other day at a place blandly named, “Viva Mexico.”

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Italian Interludes
8:00 am
Sat December 7, 2013

A Word On Food: Sandwiches

Click the play button above to hear the radio version of this post by Norman Van Aken.

I was near a small sandwich stand in an open-air market.

It was like many you would see almost anywhere in the world. A radio was playing a vaguely familiar tune. Soft drink cans and cigarette packs lined the windows inside the stand where a lady was stuffing soft buns with meats. There was a paper napkin dispenser advertising Coca-Cola.

This sandwich stand happened to be in Florence, Italy.

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Perez Art Museum
11:26 am
Thu December 5, 2013

WLRN TV At PAMM's Opening Day

The Perez Art Museum Miami is a public-private partnership, part of a $220 million overall project funded by community donors and $100 million in voter-approved bonds.
Credit Daniel Hicks

It's been a race against time to open the new Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) in time for South Florida's annual Art Basel extravaganza.

PAMM is the latest cultural landmark to appear on the shores of Biscayne Bay, and it replaces the old Center for Fine Arts just a few blocks away in downtown Miami.

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Cowpoke Songs
1:04 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

A Word on Food: Menudo

Click the play button above to hear the audio version of this post by Norman Van Aken.

Long before any Hispanic boy bands tormented or tantalized the radio air waves, the soup/stew Menudo was a siren song sung to me for the first time back in my younger days in a little grocería named ‘La Bodega’ in Diamond Lake, Illinois. 

Maybe it was the alleged attributes of Menudo being able to cure a hangover that first led me to its pleasures. It must've been something strong to convince me Menudo is not made with things I normally consumed in my boyhood.

No hangover is required at all anymore for me to long for some of that homemade, restorative soup. And I had a hunch I’d find some of that in Homestead where one can find the best concentration of Mexican food to be found in either the counties of Miami-Dade or Monroe.

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Birthday Bird
8:00 am
Sat November 23, 2013

A Word On Food: Chicken Fricassee

Click the play button above to hear the radio version of this post by Norman Van Aken.

A dramatic rainstorm was rolling through the lower Florida Keys as we tried to decide what to make for breakfast the day after our granddaughter Audrey’s first birthday.

My daughter-in-law Lourdes wisely poured some freshly squeezed orange juice and put some of her homemade banana bread in the toaster to stave off the equally volatile storms of unquenched thirsts or insatiable appetites propelled and honestly worsened by our practice of morning café con leches.

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Miami Book Fair International
11:25 am
Mon November 18, 2013

Here's A Peek At MBFI's 30th Year Of Events

Credit Claudia H. Munoz

The Miami Book Fair International, celebrating its 30th Anniversary this year, will not only host a ton of books both new and used, major and underground – there’s also extensive programming that will likely cause bibliophiles to salivate.

Throughout the week of the fair, a slew of notable authors (more than 400) will be speaking about their work, and panels will be held on a wide range of literary subjects.

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Language
11:35 am
Tue October 29, 2013

Talk To The Head Honcho; He Speaks Japanese

The Japanese army presses forward in the Pacific theater during World War II.
Keystone Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 29, 2013 12:47 pm

Picture the "head honcho" of an organization and what comes to mind are boardrooms, power and wealth, an individual at the top of his or her game.

But where did the word "honcho" originate? While the word is often mistakenly believed to have Spanish origins, it actually traces its roots to American soldiers who fought in the Pacific during World War II.

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People
12:26 pm
Mon October 28, 2013

Lou Reed, Beloved Contrarian, Dies

Lou Reed onstage in London in 1975 playing a transparent, Plexiglass guitar. Reed died Sunday. He was 71.
Denis O'Regan Getty Images

Originally published on Sun October 27, 2013 5:59 pm

One of rock's most beloved and contrarian figures has died. Lou Reed epitomized New York City's artistic underbelly in the 1970s, with his songs about hookers and junkies. He was 71.

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Books
5:50 pm
Fri October 25, 2013

Little 'Libraires' That Could: French Law Would Keep Amazon At Bay

France's government has taken legal steps to protect the country's independent booksellers from behemoths like Amazon. It already prohibits discounts of more than 5 percent on books. Now it's considering a law that would not allow online retailers like Amazon to offer both a 5 percent discount and free shipping.
Christine Zenino Flickr

Originally published on Fri October 25, 2013 7:55 pm

Last year, the U.S. government took Apple to court, charging that the company illegally drove up the price of e-books. This summer, Apple lost the case.

In France, just the opposite is happening. The French government has accused Amazon of trying to push the price of physical books too low.

Limiting discounts on books is one of the ways that France is trying to ensure the survival of its independent booksellers.

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