pears-880

Category Archive for 'history'

It must go down among the biggest porkies a man ever told a woman – right after Christopher Columbus telling his mother he wouldn’t be long; he and a few friends were just taking their boats out for a spin. And, never has the term “farm”* been used more euphemistically than when Felipe V of […]

Read Full Post »

In 1994, and after six playfully-humorous seasons of barbershop-based banter, fans of British-Caribbean sitcom “Desmond’s” were disappointed when the show was discontinued. This blow may have been softened when they learned that it was to be succeeded by spin-off show “Porkpie”, but, after two fairly insipid seasons, this too was consigned to the bin of […]

Read Full Post »

When the coughing and farting of the antique truck had rumbled away, between the rustlings of birds pecking grubs among the dry plane leaves, you could just make out the pop and thwack of rubber on concrete. Ascending a double flight of unusually steep stairs, past a stained glass window featuring farming folk, the squeak […]

Read Full Post »

“To have seen Italy without having seen Sicily is to not have seen Italy at all,for Sicily is the clue to everything.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Sicily sits apart from mainland Italy, like a rock ready to receive a swift kick from the instep of the Italian boot. Indeed, many Italians would tell you […]

Read Full Post »

A typical Sunday morning (or afternoon depending on what time they crawl out of bed) for a New Yorker involves brunch. And what, perhaps, characterizes brunch in New York more than anything else is bagels, cream cheese and lox. However, few, if any, New Yorkers, I would guess, think about lox very much, probably because […]

Read Full Post »

St. George, the patron saint of England, whose plucky, dragon-slaying derring-do is taken as emblematic of the English spirit, far from being a native of the British Isles, or for that matter, far from ever having come close to visiting them, was actually an adventurous squire of the modern-day country of Georgia who lived around […]

Read Full Post »

Named for the grandson of Puerto Rico’s first governor, the southern city of Ponce is blessed with appropriately distinguished architecture. The equal of few in the Americas, it is a delightful surprise for the visitor. That conquering Americans were responsible for the preservation of the city’s historic district is equally surprising.

Read Full Post »

Conventional wisdom dictates that one should never eat at an empty restaurant, especially early in the week, but if there is absolutely nowhere else open and you have no choice, do yourself a favor and avoid the seafood. Happily, Vieques, a 55-square mile island off the east end of Puerto Rico, and former bombing range […]

Read Full Post »

With wine there is probably more room for personal interpretation and opinion than in any other area of gastronomy. The sheer variety of wines available from across the globe encourages this, but the reputation of the wine connoisseur and his often ridiculous descriptions of the perfumes to be nosed out of the glass makes wine-tasting […]

Read Full Post »

Most Brits associate mincemeat with Christmas – its intoxicating mix of fruit, spices, booze, nuts and mixed peel provide Pavlovian stimuli, stirring memories of cherubic choirs a-caroling, roasted poultry, and the Queen’s speech – whereas I associate it with Easter, because it was always around then that we finally ran out of mince pies. I […]

Read Full Post »

I’m not very old, but for much of my youth in the north west of England, it was almost impossible to find fresh foods that weren’t local. Today such a statement seems like an echo of Victorian times, but, literally, that’s how it was until a supermarket was built behind the Knutsford courthouse in the […]

Read Full Post »

The largely unknown city of Compiegne, France, has the distinction of being the site of one of Louis XV’s most extravagant homes away from home. Under him, the Chateau de Compiegne became one of three distinctly opulent seats of government alongside Versailles and Fontainbleau. The latter French monarchs were hardly known for their desire to […]

Read Full Post »

Greeks, Romans, Moors, Normans, Spaniards, Garibaldi and his thousand, and finally hordes of tourists have visited Sicily over the milennia. Some stayed for centuries, some only for generations, but even those whose sojourn was comparatively brief played a role in the island’s blending of cultures and traditions. If this human concoction can be distilled into […]

Read Full Post »

When you think of old-style Italian-American restaurants does red sauce spring to mind? Red check wax table cloths, family-style servings, a free salad with your entree, rotund red-faced guys with their sleeves rolled-up, going “ey!” and slapping each other on the back? Sure, it’s a cliché, but it’s also close to the truth in a […]

Read Full Post »

Almost seven years ago I journeyed from Santillana del Mar to Santa Maria de Lebaña via San Vicente de la Barquera. So many saints, so much devotion, that it was little surprise to learn that beyond the monastery of Santo Toribio de Liébana and through the Picos de Europe lies the hallowed ground of Covadonga. […]

Read Full Post »

Towards the end of what is, in my opinion, his finest work, Homage to Catalonia, George Orwell tells of the bitter street fighting he witnessed in Barcelona during the Spanish Civil War when the delicate alliance between communist, socialist, and anarchist factions of the Republican army finally collapsed. While certainly not the bloodiest scene in […]

Read Full Post »

He’s certainly not the first to make such a remark, but when in a recent episode of his PBS show Mexico: One Plate at a Time, chef Rick Bayless commented that Mexican food may be the first “fusion cuisine” in the Americas, the concept resonated with me. The collision of cultures and culinary traditions that […]

Read Full Post »

Being the innate pessimist that I am, watching a small boat being knocked around like a dodgem car on the rollicking, blue-grey seas at the normally placid Jersey Shore this past weekend put me in mind of the Costa de Muerte, the coast of death, on Spain’s north-west coast, where Galician fisherman have taken their […]

Read Full Post »

There is so little information available about Burma (or Myanmar, depending on how you rock it) that after the inevitable Wikipedia entry, the CIA World Factbook is the second item that appears in Google’s search results. This anonymity is largely due to the military dictatorship that has kept the country under lock and key for […]

Read Full Post »

It is no coincidence that, in the 30 years since Franco’s death, Spanish creativity in the arts, architecture, business, and gastronomy has blossomed. It is also no coincidence that it has been, predominantly, though not exclusively, Spain’s sub-national and regional groups — who were repressed most viciously by the Fascist dictator — that have led […]

Read Full Post »

La Cupertina, at the corner of Cabrera and Godoy Cruz in the charming Buenos Aires neighborhood of Palermo Viejo, is reputed to have the best traditional Tucuman empanadas in the city. And, certainly, they are rather good. So tasty, in fact, that we bought a dozen for carry-out the day we left Argentina and nursed […]

Read Full Post »

Chicken and Waffles.  Two foods that many obsess over individually but wouldn’t even think to pair together.  Why, I wonder?  Have you ever dipped your crunchy piece of bacon into your pancake syrup, even if it’s accidental?  How about some fabulous thai sauces that have that sweet sticky flavor paired with some fried calamari?  What […]

Read Full Post »

“In Argentina, a vegetarian is someone who orders a salad with their steak…” –Unknown Those with even a basic understanding of food history probably know that the hamburger as we know it today is an American adaptation of the “Hamburger-style steak” which originated in the now-German city of Hamburg, and was brought to this country […]

Read Full Post »

Picture this, if you will: A warm, humid day in Argentina’s early autumn; the last rays of sun slanting sharply through the browning leaves of mature plane trees; myriad dog-walkers rustling quietly by in the litter of those already fallen. In the lee of a giant ficus planted for sidewalk shade, two travelers recline in […]

Read Full Post »

It’s fairly safe to say that no group, with the exception of the enigmatic gaucho, played as significant a role in defining Argentine national character as the Italians. Primarily (and principally, numerically-speaking) from Liguria (particularly Genoa), Piemonte and Tuscany, but latterly also from Naples and other areas of southern Italy, these Italian immigrants, literally by […]

Read Full Post »

These days, it seems something is always the new something else. You know, Thursday’s the new Friday, brown’s the new black, Palin’s the new devil, Obama’s the new Messiah, etc. But to me, for example, comparing the pain and anguish at dragging myself from bed on a Friday morning after a few drinks the night before, […]

Read Full Post »

Happy Hallowe’en, WANF readers! Instead of posting shots of us dressed up in costume as the tastiest parts of a pig’s anatomy, we’re celebrating All Soul’s Day and the arrival of a much-needed weekend with a classic Friday night dish from the British Isles (where in truth, Hallowe’en has never really caught on in the […]

Read Full Post »

I’ve talked about my sweet ‘ole grandmom, Anna, a few times on this blog. This was a woman who waited tables at the Golden Nugget (now Bally’s Grand) casino (R.I.P.) in Atlantic City until she retired at 76. This is the same woman who would wear winter gloves in the summer because her tiny hands […]

Read Full Post »

As I wrote in the title of this post, the Romans do it again… and again… and again. Roman cuisine is one of our favorites and Rome is one of our favorite cities to visit and eat in. This dish, gnocchi alla romana, is a dish that reminds me how versatile, creative and (I’ve said […]

Read Full Post »

Download WNF Podcast #2: Sandwich de Merguez A few summers ago we were very fortunate to spend a long vacation traveling through northern Spain and southwestern France. It was our first real vacation alone since Amy and I had met, and was especially well-deserved because we had spent the previous 12 months going through the […]

Read Full Post »

Next »