Local Flavors: St. Augustine, Florida - #113

Every town in the world has a local flavor.  A flavor that comes from its signature dishes, from a group of preferred ingredients, or a type of restaurant that is popular.  It is a flavor that comes from appreciating a particular piece of equipment or a cooking technique.  There are dozens of things that make up the local flavor, but the most important influences are always the result of history, geography and economics.

This is St. Augustine, Florida, the oldest continually occupied city in the eastern United States.  It has preserved much of its past in ways that make it easy to get a look at some of our nation's earliest history.  So please, join me, Burt Wolf, for a taste of the local flavors of St. Augustine, Florida.

In 1513, Juan Ponce De Leon sailed along the Atlantic coast of North America searching for a fountain.  A fountain whose waters could return a man's youthful vigor.  There were rumors that it produced headaches, blue vision and dizziness, but he was still determined to find it.  He never did.  But the Spanish continued their interest in the area, and for good reason.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: The primary occupation of the average conquistador consisted of taking gold and silver from the native populations and shipping it back to Spain in a treasure galleon. 

The ships would start in the Caribbean, pass between Miami and Cuba and head up the east coast of Florida.  Just as they got even with Cape Canaveral, they would make a quick right and head back to Spain.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Phillip the Second was the King of Spain at the time, and he disliked the idea of his treasure ships sailing along a coast controlled by the French or the English, both of whom were his enemies.  Not only were they interested in stealing his treasures, but if they ever took control of Spain, they would force him to eat heavy sauces and large pieces of roasted beef, both of which he disliked. And so he sent Pedro Menendez to secure the coast of Florida.  Menendez arrived on St. Augustine's feast day, and so he named his settlement accordingly. 

The most impressive structure from St. Augustine's Spanish period is the Castillo de San Marcos which was built in 1672.  It was constructed from a local shell rock called coquina, which appears to have made it invincible.

When enemy cannon balls would hit the coquina, it would just slide into the shells and stop without causing much damage.  In 1702, James Moore, the English Governor of South Carolina, arrived with his troops, and for 50 days, besieged the Castillo.  Fifteen hundred Spanish citizens from St. Augustine and the surrounding area rushed into the fort and refused to surrender.

They had a deep well in the court yard that supplied them with plenty of fresh water.  And instead of filling the moat with sea water, they filled it with cattle.  The British finally gave up the siege, declared the Castillo impregnable, and went home to South Carolina. 

The Castillo is surrounded by the old city.  And the best way to see it is in a horse drawn carriage.


BURT WOLF: Our guide was Michelle Gastineau from Tour St. Augustine.  All ahead one third.

MICHELLE GASTINEAU  ON CAMERA: My family's been here since 1777.  And I'm a descendant of an indentured servant named Andres Pacetti, who was part of a group brought from a small island in Minorca in 1768 to work on a plantation here in Florida.  Minorka's part of the Balearic island chain.  Most people are familiar with Majorca.  Then, there's Minorca.  The major and the minor in the island chain are off the coast of Spain.  We're here by the heart of the city, the city plaza.  The plaza itself is actually the oldest thing in the city of St. Augustine.  It was laid out in 1598.  The Spanish King had decreed that all of the businesses and all of the churches had to face the central plaza, and many of them do to this day.

This is our bay front.  And it's beautiful.  It was actually created by Henry Morrison Flagler.  This street, this strip of land didn't exist until Flagler had it filled in.  He wanted to create the Riviera of the Americas.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Flagler was a guy who came down and built all the railroads and did all the land development in Florida.

MICHELLE GASTINEAU  ON CAMERA:  He's known as the father of Florida tourism.  Had it not been for Flagler’s development of the Florida east coast railway and a series of huge hotels, it might have been years before saint -- St. Augustine and Florida in general, had become a tourist destination.

St. Augustine was literally a walled Catholic city.  There was a palm log wall that ran from the fort, the Castillo de San Marcos, west, and then turned and went back around to the south and to the bay. 

MICHELLE GASTINEAU  ON CAMERA:  Now, the city gates behind us are made of coquina, our native shell stone, and they were placed here in 1808.  They replaced a set of wooden gates that were there.  There was always a drawbridge.  And this was the only land entrance into the city.  The drawbridge was raised every evening and not lowered again until the next morning.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: So you had to get home early.


One of St. Augustine's more unusual couples is the St. Augustine love tree directly behind us.  It has a live palm growing right up out of the middle of an oak tree.  And they're locked in a permanent loving embrace.

MICHELLE GASTINEAU  ON CAMERA:  Well, St. Augustine's a very romantic city.  Now, legend has it that if you propose marriage underneath the love tree and if the young woman accepts, well then your marriage will be blessed forever.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: What if you're standing under the tree and she doesn't accept.

MICHELLE GASTINEAU ON CAMERA: Well, then you don't have a problem. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Thanks a lot, Dee.



DEE ON CAMERA: Enjoy the rest of your stay.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: I'm sure we will.

During the 1500s, the Spanish built the first St. Augustine lighthouse so their ships could get a fix on their position.  Unfortunately, Sir Francis Drake also got a fix on it, and in 1586, sailed in and sacked the city.  Sacking was Sir Francis' favorite thing, and he did it as often as he could.  And of course, the Spanish built lighthouses as often as they could.  It was a complex and emotional relationship, but they seemed to need it.  Eventually, this became the site of Florida's first lighthouse.  It's 165 feet high with a spiral staircase running up the center.  If you are in excellent shape, have recently completed the advanced Stairmaster class, and have a note from your cardiologist, you might want to climb up to the top and get a great view of the city.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: You guys want anything else before I come back up?

In 1763, the French and Indian war came to an end and the Spanish gave Florida to the English.  At that point, a Captain Peavett of the British militia arrived in town and bought himself a house right here on St. Francis Street. 

His wife suggested that they turn the downstairs into a tavern so that they could feed the officers who lived in the barracks across the street.  Today, the property is known as the oldest house, and archaeologists believe that it has been continuously occupied since the early 1600s. 

You can tour the property and visit the detached kitchen.  Kitchens were built away from the house because people feared setting the main house on fire.  And the distance between the kitchen and the house helped keep the main structure cooler.  

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: The Spanish, like most governments, had a rather bizarre approach to taxation and placed a levy on all cupboards and shelves attached to walls.

In order to avoid the payment, people put their food on planks that hung from the ceiling, thereby creating America's first tax shelter.

A few blocks away is the Pena-Peck House, which takes its name from two of its previous owners.  A royal treasurer of Spain, Juan Esteban de Pena and Seth Peck, who was a local doctor in the mid 1800s.  These days, it's the home of the women’s exchange shop.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: The women’s exchanges were started in the middle of the 1800s for women who had fallen on difficult times, wanted to earn some extra money and didn't want to anybody to know about it.  They'd make something in their home.  Something of quality.  Food, a sweater, a quilt.  And the store would sell it. When the store got the money, it would deliver it to the women at home, and no one was the wiser.  Today, there are still 27 women’s exchanges operating in the United States.

The one here in St. Augustine also earns funds by renting out their garden for parties.  Particularly those parties where a woman exchanges vows.  

Perhaps I should keep my day job. 

Tourism in St. Augustine goes back to the 1820s. Because there were no hotels visitors stayed in rooming houses. Running a rooming house was one of the few socially acceptable businesses for a proper lady.

One of the oldest rooming houses is the Ximenez-Fatio house which was opened by Miss Louisa Fatio in 1855.Guy Tillis took me on a tour of the building.   

GUY TILLIS ON CAMERA: The most important room in a boarding house was the dining room.  The reason being, your reputation was made or broken by how good the food was.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: My life story

GUY TILLIS ON CAMERA: Three meals were laid out a day.  The large meal was a midday meal.  Leftovers made into the evening meal.  The landlady charged $20 a week to stay here.  And that included three meals a day.  You know, her china was so valuable to her, she never even let it leave the dining room. It was washed in a dry skin.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: And then it went right back on the table.

GUY TILLIS ON CAMERA: Right back on the table.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Amazing.  What's that?

GUY TILLIS ON CAMERA: Well, that's a spittoon.


GUY TILLIS ON CAMERA: After the evening meal, the gentlemen stayed in here smoking and drinking.  The side board doubled up as a bar.  And chewing tobacco.  You'll notice that spittoon on the floor.  A piece of oil cloth underneath for those guys with bad aim. And that ... that's a punkah.  A small slave child will pull these cords, causing the punkah or poonka to sway back and forth.  This kept the flies off the food. Hopefully

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA:  Boy if that didn't give you a headache, nothing will.

GUY TILLIS ON CAMERA: This house was purchased in 1939 by the National Society of Colonial Dames of America and the State of Florida.  In fact, this is their State House for the Florida Society.  They stress the importance of lifestyle.  Consequently, it looks like people have just checked in and gone for a stroll.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: And left their mattress out here.

GUY TILLIS ON CAMERA: Well, just like today, you prepare a room for a new guest.  Weather permitting, airing the feather mattress out on the railing.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Feathers in here?

GUY TILLIS ON CAMERA: Well, you'd better believe it.  If it was moss, that's where you'd get bed bugs bite.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Don't let the bed bugs bite.


BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Don't put moss in your bed.

GUY TILLIS ON CAMERA: No, not at all.  This was a good time to tighten the ropes up on the rope bed.  Back then, they called that process straining the cords. It was a job for a nine or ten year old boy.  Rope beds are pretty basic in principle, and to tie the ropes up, you use a device called a turn key or the rope wrench. Not every household had one of these.  In fact, if you wanted to use yours, you had to go from neighbor to neighbor to locate it, because you were constantly loaning it out.  But it was very easy to operate.  You just went down to the first loop from the knot, sliding the rope into the slot and turning it as tight as you could. And then, to get it even tighter, you put it behind your leg, and then insert a peg in that hole along with the rope.  And that makes it good and tight.  You do the same thing at the opposite end using another peg.  And once you get this peg in, you can take that peg out, and just repeating the process till you got to the last hole.  And then you just re-knot the rope.  And that's where we get the old expression ...


GUY TILLIS ON CAMERA: That's right. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: And don't let the bedbugs bite.


BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: You learn something new every day.

GUY TILLIS ON CAMERA: And then they put the mattress right back on the bed.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: I would hope so. 

In 1821, the very same year that the United States took over St. Augustine, a ship arrived from Cuba.  And along with the passengers came a yellow fever epidemic.  But it was a strangely selective epidemic which spared most of the locals.

Word spread that St. Augustine had a particularly healthful climate. By the end of the 1800s, families were coming down from the north to spend the winter in St. Augustine.  They would stay for months hoping to avoid the illnesses associated with cold weather and regain the strength of their youth.  Three hundred years after Juan Ponce De Leon came to St. Augustine and ended up discountin' the fountain, it was going on all over again.

While I was in St. Augustine, I stayed at the Casa Monica Hotel, which has been listed on the National Registry of Historic Places.  The building is in the Moorish revival style, and it feels like Lawrence of Arabia might check in at any moment.  Those towers contain magnificent two and three story suites.  There's also a nice pool, a great bar, excellent restaurant and a feeling of late 19th century elegance. They even have a period automobile to take guests around town.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA:  The Casa Monica was originally opened in 1888 by Franklin Smith, who was the founder of the YMCA.  St. Augustine was known as the Newport of the south, and the rich and infamous were coming down by the car load.  The Rockefellers, the Carnegies, the Dupont’s, all that pre-dot.com money. Well, Henry, Andrew and John D. are no longer around, and the dots are looking a little blurry.  But it's still a great place to hang out, and quite classy. 

Tonight, the local Chaines des Rotisseurs is holding in a dinner in the hotel's restaurant.  It's a great honor for the restaurants and its chefs. The Chaines began in the 1200s as a guild of roasters.  Today, it's more like a social club interested in getting together and eating and drinking the best food in the neighborhood.  Chef Nyfeler prepared a nine course tasting menu using Florida’s gastronomic history for his inspiration. 

When the Spanish explorers arrived in the new world, they discovered dozens of foods that were completely new to them, one of which was the tomato. Tomatoes were originally cultivated by the ancient Aztecs and Incas, and they'd been around for at least a thousand years before the European explorers began eating them.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: When tomatoes first arrived in Europe, they were known as love apples, because they looked a little like an apple and had a reputation as an aphrodisiac. The Italians, the Spanish and the Portuguese got 'em right into their cooking.  But the English, who had a kind of an iffy reputation as lovers, decided that they were poisonous and used them only as ornamental plants.  And that was true here in the colonies until the early 1800s, when the Creoles in Louisiana began to put tomatoes into their gumbos and jambalayas.  And at the same time, the sailors in Maine began to put tomatoes into their fish stews. 

Today, the most popular tomatoes in the United States come fresh from Florida.  Each year, Florida dedicates almost 35,000 acres of prime land to growing them. 

About one and a half billion pounds of tomatoes are produced and then shipped throughout the country.  Florida tomatoes grew up in a warm and sunny climate, and they like that kind of environment.  So, don't put them in your refrigerator.  Once a tomato is brought below 55 degrees Fahrenheit, it permanently loses the enzymes that create the flavor. The water inside begins to expand.  The cell walls burst, and the texture becomes mealy.  And store them stem side up.  That's the way they grew.  And like most of us, they don't enjoy standing on their heads.  I asked Rene Nyfeler, who is the executive chef at the Casa Monica, to whip up a few of his favorite dishes that use fresh Florida tomatoes.

His first dish was based on a stack of sliced tomatoes.  When you're cutting a tomato, the best tool is a serrated knife with a scalloped edge and a two pronged tip.  Serrated knives are used to cut things that are hard on the outside and soft on the inside.

The resistant skin of the tomato is cut without crushing the tender flesh that's beneath.  And the two prongs help you transfer the slices.  A slice of tomato goes onto a plate.  And a slice of mozzarella cheese.  That's followed by more tomato slices and more cheese, until the entire tomato is reassembled.    A few sprigs of basil, some oil, a little balsamic vinegar and some salt.

At the end of this program, I'll tell you how to get the recipes for all of the dishes in this series.  The second dish was orrechiette pasta with tomatoes, shrimp, mussels and scallops.  Tomato slices go onto the plate.  Then the pasta.  Croutons topped with a puree of tomatoes.  Finally, the dish is garnished with fresh herbs, a little oil and some sliced basil.

Rene's third dish was a ratatouille and grilled tomato sandwich.  Piece of toast goes onto the place, followed by a few slices of grilled tomato.  And a cup of ratatouille, which is a French vegetable stew.  A hit of sour cream, a little balsamic vinegar, a second piece of bread, and a garnish of fresh herbs.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: One thing about tomatoes that is particularly important to me is that they are high in potassium.  And potassium can help reduce high blood pressure.  About 30 percent of the US population suffers from high blood pressure, and that includes me.  Scientists are also telling us that tomatoes have a powerful antioxidant which may be a cancer blocker, and can help reduce the negative effects of aging.  It could end up that the Fountain of Youth is right smack in the middle of a Florida tomato.

The explorers found many foods that were new to them in the new world, but they also brought in foods that were new to the new world.  The Arabs introduced citrus to Spain during the 700s, and the Spanish introduced it to Florida.  Today, Florida is the nation's largest producer of citrus, accounting for more than 80 percent of the nation's annual production.  And when it comes to grapefruit, Florida is the world's leading producer, responsible for one out of every three grapefruits on the planet.

Florida is among the top agricultural states in the nation, and the leading farming state in the southeast.  But it's not just citrus.  During North America's winter months of January, February and March, Florida becomes a giant vegetable patch providing about 80 percent of the nation's fresh vegetables.

It was also the first place in the new world to raise cattle.  The Spanish brought in the first cattle and set up the first ranches during the mid-1500s.  Today, Florida is the second largest ranching state in the United States.  And when it comes to seafood, Florida fishing boats bring in their catch from the Atlantic, the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico.

I asked chef Tom McGinty, who writes a monthly column for Florida Living Magazine, to cook us a recipe using as many fresh from Florida foods as he could.  He decided on a seafood gumbo.  Butter is melted in a sauté pan.  Diced onions go in, diced celery and diced green pepper. 

A little stirring and a little chopped garlic.  All that sweats together, along with the chef.  A roux is made by cooking equal parts of oil and flour together until the mixture is dark brown.  And the vegetables get mixed into the roux.  A batch of gumbo seasoning is added.

A sauce pan of fish stock is heated.  The roux and the vegetable mixture is whisked in.  Then, chopped tomato, fresh tomato sauce, hot pepper sauce, Florida grouper, scallops, shrimp, oysters and crab meat.  A taste, a slight adjustment to the seasoning, into a bowl and it's ready to garnish.  Scallions, chopped tomato, shrimp, scallops and dried thyme.

While I was in St. Augustine, I ate my way through town, and there were three places that were lots of fun.  And I suggest you don't miss 'em.  The first is just across the Bridge of Lions from downtown and it's called O’Steens.  Now, you know that this is a local favorite, because half the town seems to be sitting out front waiting for a table.  And it's worth the wait.  The every day special that's famous throughout these parts is the deep fried butterflied shrimp.  It comes with hush puppies and two sides.  My choice was home made cole slaw and pickled cucumbers.

It was a terrific sweet potato casserole. Fresh white corn and home made corn bread.  You should also try the Minorcan clam chowder.  The other spot I thought had lots of local flavor was the Spanish bakery just off Saint George Street.  For under $5, I got home made soup or gumbo, a drink, fresh bread and a cookie.

Breads, cookies and empanadas are baked right there.  We all ate outside at a picnic table.  Easy, fun, inexpensive.  My kind of place.  And first dessert, Kilwan’s.  This is where the locals go to satisfy their sweet tooth.  Caramel coated apples, 11 different kinds of fudge and freshly made waffle cones that can be filled with 36 different flavors of ice cream, but not at the same time.

Another great spot is Old St. Augustine Village.  A group of ten houses, court yards and gardens that have been restored, staffed by experts in period dress and open to the public.

Old St. Augustine Village also presents authentic period music.  Today's group is called Skin and Bonz.  Well, that's a taste of the local flavors of St. Augustine, Florida.  I hope you've enjoyed it.  And I hope you will join me next time.  I'm Burt Wolf.

If you would like free copies of the recipes from this program, or hundreds of other recipes from Burt’s programs, to read his special reports from around the world and interviews with leading food authorities or to order a copy of The New Cooks’ Catalogue, a critical guide that tells you what to look for when purchasing cooking equipment and utensils, with over 1,000 color photographs and recipes, just visit Burt online at BURTWOLF.COM.

Local Flavors: Portland, Maine - #112

Every town in the world has a local flavor ... a flavor that comes from its signature dishes ... from a group of preferred ingredients ... or type of restaurant that is popular.  It is a flavor that comes from appreciating a particular piece of equipment or a technique.  There are dozens of things that impact on the local flavor.  But the most important influences are always the result of geography, history, and economics.  So please join me, Burt Wolf, for a taste of the local flavors of Portland, Maine.

If you start at the most northern point on the coast of Maine and sailed directly down to the most southern point on the coast, you will have traveled about 400 miles.  But if you sailed into each bay ... through each cove ... into each harbor, past each island, and around each peninsula, you would have sailed over 3,500 miles. 

Geologists describe it as a downed coastline because thousands of years ago, the original coastline sank into the ocean and left behind what stands here today.  This is a vast and extraordinary coast.  And is the encounter between the land and the Atlantic Ocean that has controlled the destiny of Maine. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: The first European to explore the area was John Cabot, who sailed through in 1497, just five years after Columbus bumped into the Bahamas.  He was an Italian and his real name was Giovanni Caboto ... but he anglicized it so he could sail for the King of England.  And it was his explorations that formed the basis for England's claim to the territory.  The largest city in Maine is Portland, and it was founded just 50 years after Giovanni sailed through.

Portland was built on a three-and-a-half mile wide peninsula and almost everything of interest to a tourist is within walking distance.  The city symbol is the phoenix ... the bird who rises from its ashes, which is perfect for Portland because it has burned down four

times.  The first two were during the Indian Wars, the third was the result of a British bombardment during the Revolution.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: The fourth fire took place on the 4th of July, 1866 when a young boy accidentally threw a firecracker into a barrel of wood shavings and set a boat-yard on fire.  The fire brigade arrived, put out the fire, and then went across the street to drink, celebrate the 4th of July, and their success at putting out the fire.  Unfortunately, a number of cinders had drifted across the street and the Portland Sugar Works burst into flame ... taking the rest of the town with it, proving two things ... the Bible was right when it said "Pride goeth before destruction" and Yogi Berra was once again on the ball when he said, "It ain't over till it's over." 

After the fire of 1866, a law was passed that prohibited the construction of wooden buildings which resulted in the beautiful brick-and-granite structures that make up the center of the city.  The old cobblestone streets are lined with shops.  Portmanteau hand makes canvas zipper totes, purses and briefcases.  And you can see them being made in the shop.  Edgecomb Potters sells designer jewelry, fine glass, and glazed porcelain.  Northern Sky Toyz specializes in non-battery operated toys, yo-yos and stunt kites.  The staff encourages you to play before you pay. 

There's a state law requiring all cars to stop for pedestrians, which makes the town even more walkable.  Your walk should include a stroll around the Eastern Promenade, which has the best views of the surrounding waters.  Beautiful homes that date back over a 100 years look out on Casco Bay, the protective islands, and the lobster boats that go in and out almost everyday throughout the year.  These days the Maine lobster business is a big deal…with an annual value of almost $200 million.  But until the middle of the 20th century, lobsters were just contemptible crustaceans.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA:  I once read a letter written in the 1700s by an Englishman expressing his compassion for the enormous amount of lobster the people of Maine had to eat.  It was all over the place.  They’d just wash up on the shore ... became the most inexpensive source of protein.  Servants who worked under contract in Maine, insisted in the agreement, that they wouldn't be served lobster more than twice a week.  And farmers, who lived near the shore, would actually use lobster as fertilizer. 

A lobster must be cooked while it's still alive.  It was very difficult to ship a live lobster to market.  So the lobsters were stuck here in Maine.  But when we developed forms of transportation that could ship live lobsters all over the world, they immediately clawed their way onto the best menus. 

Tom Martin is a Maine lobsterman.  And his boat is a 37-foot long commercial fishing vessel named The Lucky Catch. 

TOM MARTIN ON CAMERA:  I started when I was 14.  My next-door neighbor was a commercial lobsterman and I started working with him in the summertime, and it was just a habit I couldn't break. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: It's wonderful to be out on your own. 

TOM MARTIN ON CAMERA: It's a beautiful place to spend time. 

From November through April, Tom uses her to harvest lobster.  But during the summer months, Captain Tom runs tours for people who want to learn about the life of a lobsterman.TOM MARTIN ON CAMERA: We're leave at 5:30 and 6:00 in the morning ... we're usually out all day.  This time of year, November, we're using haul traps until it gets dark. BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Every lobsterman has a colored-coded buoy to distinguish his traps from everyone else's.  There are no locks or other security systems on the traps, just the traditional honesty of the Maine lobstermen. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Quick, get the butter! 

TOM MARTIN ON CAMERA: These are very old-fashioned wooden traps called half-rounds.  Very seldom are these used anymore for anything besides a coffee table or a lawn ornament.  There, we're going to go in ... we're going to pull our first lobster out here and we're going to measure him across his back from the behind his eye socket down here to the end of his back  that's called his carapace.  It has to be at least three-and-one-quarter inches long.  On the metal gauge, the short side of the gauge, from this point to that point ...


TOM MARTIN ON CAMERA: ... is exactly ... three-and-a-quarter. 


TOM MARTIN ON CAMERA: So all we do is we touch it right behind his eye


TOM MARTIN ON CAMERA: ... lay it down on his back. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: It's over three inches.

TOM MARTIN ON CAMERA: Over three-and-a-quarter inches ...


TOM MARTIN ON CAMERA: ... we have a winner.


Lobstering is one of the oldest industries in the state and supports a way of life for thousands of families in Maine.  All lobster harvesters play a role in sustaining Maine's most important Marine resource.  They support Maine's laws that have historically protected the lobsters in the Gulf of Maine.  They are into sound resource management. 

TOM MARTIN ON CAMERA: Now this lobster's gonna have to go back in. 

Directly across the road from the docks is Fore Street, which was the original waterfront until the railroad filled in the land and pushed the docks back a few hundred yards so they could put their tracks next to the boats.  Today Fore Street is one of the hip hills in town and home to the Fourth Street Restaurant. 

The chef and owner is Sam Hayward and today he's making a fish stew.

SAM HAYWARD ON CAMERA:  Now I'll cut the fish into the right-size pieces for cooking in the broth.  I'm going to cut the monk fish

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Sam is using black fish, wolf fish, monk fish, squid, oysters ... butter clams and scallops. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: I notice some of the fish you have the skin on and some you don't. 

SAM HAYWARD ON CAMERA: That's a good question.  A lot of the flavor of the fish is in the membranes directly under the skin, and in some cases the membranes that surround the bones.  I prefer to leave the skin on for that reason whenever I can or whenever the public will tolerate it.  So what I've first done in some instances, such as the Tautog is remove the scales before I cut the filets.  I'm trying to cut the fish into size pieces, taking into consideration their different cooking characteristics so that they'll be all be done at exactly the same time. 


SAM HAYWARD ON CAMERA: Okay, now I'm ... let's just bring this over.  What I'm going to do is put a little olive oil in the bottom of the cazuela…

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: These are big deal in Spanish and Latin American cooking.

SAM HAYWARD ON CAMERA:  That's right. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA:  They are great for long, slow dishes. 

SAM HAYWARD ON CAMERA: We use them here for a variety of things ... everything from cassoulet, whose name is similar, of course, to seafood uh braises ... lamb shanks, long-simmered meat dishes of different kinds.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: The pot holds its heat.

SAM HAYWARD ON CAMERA: It's a beautiful thing.  And it actually works in this oven.  It can take the intense heat of this oven. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: It's good for both in the oven and on top of the stove.  And glazed on the inside, and this one's glazed on the outside, too.

SAM HAYWARD ON CAMERA: I have some at home that are not glazed on the outside.  What's interesting about those is they began to take up the aroma of everything you've ever cooked in them, and it becomes a kind of complex flavoring device of its own.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: In defense of the outside glaze, it makes it dishwasher safe.


BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: You pays your money and you takes your choice.  So all of the fish just goes in right on top of the oil.

SAM HAYWARD ON CAMERA: Exactly.  And I'll put the shellfish in on top ... as they open up, they'll release some of their juices into the rest of the seafood. 

The seafood is seasoned with salt, pepper, thyme, flat-leaf parsley and chervil.  Then finally a broth made from fish stock and vegetables is spooned on to the seafood until the seafood is almost submerged.  And into the oven uncovered for five minutes to let the heat get to the top of the ingredients.  At which point, the cover of the cazuela goes on and everything cooks for 15 minutes more.  If you would like the recipes for this program, and all the other recipes in this series, I'll tell you how to get them at the end of the program.  Sam makes a great effort to highlight foods that are produced in Maine and so does the local public market. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: During the late 1800s, almost every town in America had a public market.  It was the center for the community, a place where people came together to talk to buy  and to sell foods.  But by the 1940s large supermarket chains began to swallow up the independent distributors of food.  And very soon, almost all of our public markets disappeared. 

But over the last 20 years, public markets have been making a comeback.  Inspired by Seattle's Pike Place, an attorney named Owen Wells advised his friend and client, the late philanthropist, Elizabeth Noyce, to donate $10 million to construct a 37,000-square-foot building to house their vision of a public market, a market that is primarily devoted to foods that are farmed, raised or produced in Maine. 

Sam Hayward took a break from cooking at Fore Street ... to show me around the market. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Valley View Farms.  I read about these guys.  It was an orchard.  They were just about to go bankrupt, and they figured out that if they took their apples and made them into pies, they could sell them for enough money to stay in business.  Value-added.  I like that.

SAM HAYWARD ON CAMERA: Yankee ingenuity. 

SAM HAYWARD ON CAMERA: And you'll notice they also have wild Maine blueberries as an ingredient in some of these pies.


SAM HAYWARD ON CAMERA: Wolves Neck ... this is in Freeport, Maine, a terrific farm that raises all natural beef but they also market here in their stand natural pork that comes from farms in Aroostook County and lamb that actually is raised on islands in Penobscot Bay, just a few miles farther down east from here.

SAM HAYWARD ON CAMERA: The wonderful thing about this lamb and beef and pork is that there are absolutely no hormones or antibiotics that are used.  The lamb is completely natural.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Get real, get Maine?

SAM HAYWARD ON CAMERA: This is a program by our Agriculture Department to spotlight Maine's terrific produce, and it's especially important during Indian Summer season like right now when so many great root crops are coming out.  And now we're at the apple section of the Maine harvest vendor.  Apples are really important in Maine.  The two dominant varieties tend to be Macintosh and Portland because they're frost-hardy and are harvested very early, and are good sweet eating out of hand.  Occasionally you'll find a coupe of other varieties, heirlooms like Baldwins and Pippins.  Apples are very important in Maine.  They've been grown in New England since 1629.

SAM HAYWARD ON CAMERA: And apples important in families because they could be stored in a cellar all winter and most household a century ago would have had a barrel of cider gently fermenting until Christmas time.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: A little apple cider, my dear?

Portland claims to have more restaurants per capita than any other city in the United States after San Francisco.  And many of them are very good.  Our favorite lunch spot was Walter's Cafe on Exchange Street, in the heart of the old Port.  Excellent local micro-brews.  We all kept coming back to the pan-fried Maine clam cakes and the Carolina barbecued pork sandwich.  Some of the best cooking I've tasted anywhere came out of the simple kitchen at the Back Bay Grill.  Joel Freund graduated from the Maine School of Law and immediately decided that he preferred a sauce to a summons.  His restaurant is a favorite spot for serious eaters.  The chef is Larry Matthews and the sous chef is Gordon Cameron.  And their work is superb and consistent.  They bake their own bread and time it so it comes out of the oven as dinner is served.  We started with a terrine of house-cured gravlax and spruce point smoked salmon with marinated red onions, chive creme fraiche and a basket of homemade potato chips. 

The main course was Maine lobster ... on Savoy cabbage, with red curry squash dumplings, and lobster, butter and chive oil.  For dessert, a peach poached in Riesling wine with homemade peach swirl ice cream. 

I didn't finish my wine and Joel was kind enough to point out that there's a state law that allows restaurant diners to bring home an unfinished bottle of wine at the end of the meal.  Waste not, want not.  I love this state. 

I'd also suggest a visit to Q’s Ice Cream.  Ideally not on the same day you're eating in the Back Bay Grill.  Two hundred different flavors all made on the premises, without chemical preservatives or artificial coloring.  Everybody loved the brownie sundae.  There was one place that almost everyone told us we had to visit.  And that was the Standard Baking Company.  The standards at the Standard Baking Company are set by Alison Pray and Matt James.  And fortunately, everything about their work is above standard.  They make all types of breads from baguette to brioche but they also make some excellent pastries.  And every morning, dozens of people stop in for Standard's honey buns and cranberry scones. 

I asked Allison to show us how the scones were made.

ALISON PRAY ON CAMERA:  Whisk it all together and make sure it's well combined.

The dry ingredients,  flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt are whisked together.  

ALISON PRAY ON CAMERA: Our next step is to add cold butter and we'll just break this in with our fingertips quickly so that the butter doesn't melt.  And we'll continue working the butter in until the largest pieces are pea-sized.

Plain yogurt goes into a mixer followed by cranberries.  Next to wild berries, cranberries are one of the few fruits native to North America.  And Maine produces some of the world's best cranberries.  That's mixed together for a moment, then the dry ingredients with the butter goes in and everything gets mixed to become a dough. 

ALISON PRAY ON CAMERA: You don't need a mixer for this.  You could definitely do it by hand. 

The dough is pressed out into a seven-by-seven square and then sliced into eight triangles.  Allison handles the dough with a bench scraper, which is a standard piece of equipment in a baker's kitchen.  It has a simple shape but it cuts, kneads, lifts, and scrapes dough on the baker's work surface.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: The key to a good bench scraper is strength and comfort.  You want it to be made of stainless steel.  You want it to be slightly flexible so it will slide under the dough and you want the grip to be rounded so it's comfortable in your hand. 

They're dusted with Turninado sugar, which is coarser than a white sugar and darker, because molasses is added during the manufacturing process.  At this point they go on to a perforated baking sheet, which is basically a non-stick jelly roll pan, with a surface that is covered with teeny holes.  The perfect for formed dough is like buns, rolls and scones where you want the oven's heat to come in direct contact with the bottom of whatever is baking.  And into a 350 degree oven for 12 minutes.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: And here's a good timer.  It's made by Polder.  It counts in hours, minutes and seconds.  It also acts as a clock.  It has a string so you can hang it around your neck and take it wherever you want.  It also has a magnet on the back so you can connect it to a metal surface.  And once it rings, it starts to count up ... so you'll know how late you are.  I'm late. 

Traditionally, scones are eaten with a dollop of jam. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Jams and jellies are a big business.  Each year Americans spend about a billion dollars on them.  Most of that money goes through giant supermarkets to giant manufacturers.  But alongside the giants, there are a number of small companies that usually started in somebody's kitchen and built themselves into a real business.  A perfect example  Stonewall Kitchen.

JONATHAN KING ON CAMERA: Stonewall Kitchens began in 1991 at a local farmer’s market on the seacoast of Maine and New Hampshire.  My partner, Jim, and I started out of our combined passions of horticulture and cuisine.  We were making these beautiful products these homemade jams, mustards, sauces, pickles, relishes, and we took them to the open air farmer's market, used a card table.  Got a local association ... the Growers Association certificate to sell these to the public.  We put our products out and our customers came and they sampled them, and that first day, we made about $250 and we high-fived ourselves all the way home.

JIM STOTT ON CAMERA: Oh, at farmer’s market, everybody has very elaborate tents and market umbrellas, and it was very fancy.  But we didn't have the money for that so we borrowed Jonathan's dad's golf umbrella and as customers would come up to shop on a rainy day, we'd hold the umbrella over them and follow them down.  It gave us a chance to also interact with them and sway them into what we needed to get rid of that day. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: They chose the name Stonewall because Stonewalls are part of the main landscape and because they're held together by design.  They don't use mortar.  And they felt that was symbolic of their company where their products are held together without additives or preservatives.  I love America.  No matter how big a company is and how it dominates an industry, there's always room for a couple of guys to come along and take a slice of the pie. 

While we were visiting Portland, we stayed on the Cape Elizabeth headlands at The Inn by The Sea, which was a lot like living in a Winslow Homer painting.  The Inn faces out on one of Maine's finest sand beaches.  Between the beach and the hotel grounds are a couple of hundred yards of perfect unspoiled marshlands with a private boardwalk along the edge.  The Zagat survey has chosen it as one of America's top hotels and "Country Inns Magazine" has put it on its top ten list.  And I'm adding it to my own list of favorite places.  It only has 43 units which gives it a very homey feeling. 

Each unit is a suite.  There are fireplaces and little kitchens, and balconies with views of the sea.  The uncluttered decor was inspired by the works of John Jay Audubon, the artist and author of "The Birds of America," the definitive book on the subject. 

Twenty of his original engravings hang on the walls of the hotel's public rooms.  The dining room at the Inn is called the Audubon Room.  But in addition to its bird dishes, it also serves beef, game, seafood and some wonderful desserts.  The kitchen prepares a wide range of foods, but there were four dishes that I found particularly interesting.  Char-grilled New York sirloin strip with pan-fried potatoes and summer vegetables.  Knockwurst dogs with caramelized onion roll, and grilled free-range chicken with brown gravy.  And a special for me ... veal roulade with lobster and Roquefort cheese, which was prepared by the executive chef, Jeff Austin. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: And each of the dishes was highly rated by my dinner companions who introduced me to the hotel's pet menu.  What are you guys having?  Hey, Tag, dig in.  Boy. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Try not to wolf down your meal.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Didn't we meet in Paris?  Ah, you know, this is great cooking.  No bones about it.  Est-ce vous parlez francais?  Oui, no?

Can we get you a tequila? 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: And you're not a vegetarian.  I hate that.  Yes, you came back for your last snack.  Waiter.  Who else takes you to dinner like I take you to dinner?  I take you to the best places. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: You know, there's an old saying in television ... never work with children or dogs.  Don't feel bad if you can't finish everything.  We'll just put it in a doggie bag. 

They also provide dog beds, dog dishes, oversized towels, dog tags, dog leaves, dog blankets ... and dog treats. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Well, that's a brief taste of the local flavors of Portland, Maine.  I hope you've enjoyed it and I hope you will join me next time.  I'm Burt Wolf.  And I'm moving out.

If you would like free copies of the recipes from this program, or hundreds of other recipes from Burt’s programs, to read his special reports from around the world and interviews with leading food authorities or to order a copy of The New Cooks’ Catalogue, a critical guide that tells you what to look for when purchasing cooking equipment and utensils, with over 1,000 color photographs and recipes, just visit Burt online at BURTWOLF.COM.

Local Flavors: Sweets of Chicago - #111

Every town in the world has a local flavor; a flavor that comes from its signature dishes, from a group of preferred ingredients, or a type of restaurant that is popular.  It is a flavor that comes from appreciating a particular piece of equipment or a technique.  There are dozens of things that impact on the local flavor.  But the most important influences are always the result of geography, history and economics.  We are born loving the sweet taste of sugar.  It is a craving that comes down to us through evolution, and is reinforced by the sweetness of mother's milk.  Sugar is an extremely concentrated source of energy, and energy is essential for survival.  Very early in human history, we learn that foods that were sweet were life sustaining.  These days the sweetest things we eat are candies.  And the most important city for candy making in America is Chicago.  It's the place to get a telescopic view of the Milky Way and Mars, or find out who Tootsie really was and what made her roll.  So please join me, Burt Wolf, for taste of the local flavors of Sweet Chicago.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: The first candy bars made in America were made in Boston, New York and Philadelphia.  But by the early years of the 20th century, America's great sweet tooth had moved to Chicago.  The reason was very simple; it was an easy place to get corn syrup, dairy products, real estate was relatively inexpensive, and there was a great pool of intelligent and devoted labor.  But the event that really changed America's sweet tooth into a full bridge and an upper plate was the first world war.

The U.S. Army ordered American candy manufacturers to produce bars that weighed 20 to 40 pounds.  They were shipped to Europe and then cut into smaller pieces at the front.  Eventually the job of making the candy in smaller pieces was assigned back to the manufacturers.  By the end of the war, candy bars were a regular part of the American diet.  And over 40,000 different candy bars were being produced.  These days, the candy business in the United States is estimated at over $20 billion.  And that's nothing to snicker at, especially in Chicago where the M&M Mars Candy Company makes Snickers.  Snickers is America's number one selling candy bar and it produces almost $1 billion of annual sales, which really satisfies.  It's made from a nugget base, topped with a mixture of caramel and peanut, which is then enrobed with milk chocolate.

BURT WOLFON CAMERA: The Snickers bar was developed by Frank Mars.  And the original version was not chocolate coated.  Frank believed that by combining the food textures found in nature, his candy bar would satisfy hunger.  Nice try.  But his customers soon told him that chocolate coated hunger satisfaction was much better.

In terms of hunger, Frank's claim to fame was not limited to the Snicker's bar.  During the 1920s malted milk drinks were very popular.  So he developed a candy that felt like a portable milk shake, and he called it a Milky Way.  It's made from chocolate, caramel and nugget.  Similar in ingredients to a Snickers but without the nuts.  He also believed that there was an ideal shape and size for each bar and based his designs on the ratios used by the ancient Greek and Egyptian architects.  And like those venerable mathematicians, Frank Mars looked to the heavens for guidance, with a particular interest in Mars, the Milky Way and Star Bursts.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Chicago is also the home of the Tootsie Roll which was the first penny candy to be wrapped in paper.  In 1896 Leo Herschfeld immigrated to the United States from Austria, opened a little shop and began to make candy from a secret formula.  He named that candy after his daughter Clara, whose nickname was Roll.  Tootsie. 

These days, the president of the company is Ellen Gordon.  She showed me how Tootsie Rolls are made.  They start out from a base which is primarily sugar, corn syrup, soy bean oil, skim milk, and cocoa.  That mixture is heated, cooled, thinned out, rolled, cut and wrapped.  Over 60 million Tootsie Rolls are made each day.  Tootsie Rolls also come in the form of a Tootsie Pop, which was the first soft-centered lollipop.  The hard candy outside starts as a hot strip of sugar and water.  As it cools, it's formed around a cone.  Tootsie Roll mix is fed into the center of the cone.  A unique machine turns some of the sugar candy around to form a ball over the Tootsie, and then pops in a stick.  And over the years, it's become apparent that most Tootsie Pop lovers want to get through the hard candy outside and into the Tootsie as fast as possible.  And so the company began to reduce the thickness of the coating.  And how many licks it takes to get through to the center appears to be a question of universal concern, which the company has answered in a half dozen languages.  Polish is my favorite.


BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: This company represents the sweet dreams of my youth.  Not only do they make Tootsie Rolls and Tootsie Pops, but they make Dots and Crows and Sugar Daddys and Sugar Babies and Charleston Chew and Junior Mints.  This is what I used to eat when I went to the movies.  As a matter-of-fact, I went to the movies to eat candy.  I thought the movies were something that the candy guys threw in to keep me quiet while I was eating.

Candies can be divided into three categories; chocolate, hard, and soft.  In general, hard candy and soft candies have similar ingredients; water, sugar, and flavoring.  And if the candy turns out to be soft or hard is a function of how much heat is applied to the mixture.  The higher the heat, the harder the candy.  Chicago is home to the largest maker of non-chocolate candies in the United States.  The company is called Brachs, and it was started in 1904 by Emil O. Brach.  They make 300 different candies including Peppermint Starlight Mints, and they are masters at the mixing of jelly beans.  I learned that almost all jelly beans start out with the same based mixture in the center.  The specific flavor comes only from the coating.  When it comes to most jelly beans, flavor is only skin deep.

For a taste of old fashioned handmade chocolate and ice cream, stop into Margie's Candies.  It opened in 1921 and very little has changed.  It's a Chicago classic.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA:  Let me show you what's going on here. Ice cream, whipped cream, caramel sauce, sugar wafers.  Now those represent the four major food groups of my childhood.  Tastes great together.

Like many cities in the United States, Chicago's love of sweets includes a group of specialty bakers.  And one of the most famous is Eli's who's been baking cheesecake since 1977.  Chicago is the largest cheesecake market in the country.  And Eli's is the largest specialty cheesecake bakery, turning out 16,000 cakes each day.  Mark Schulman, an attorney who gave up suing for sifting, is the president of the company.  The plant's daily tours are a top attraction.  Each day the company goes through 15,000 pounds of cream cheese, 4,000 pounds of sugar, 265,000 fresh eggs, 5,000 pounds of sour cream, and 200 pounds of Madagascar vanilla.  All cheesecakes are based on the simple process of sweetening fresh cheese curds and baking the mixture.  And that's what Eli does with over 75 different recipes, including ones based on Heath Bars, Reeses Peanut Butter Cups, and Key Limes.  But the best seller is still the original plain.  They have a dessert cafe in which they offer a series of creations based on cheesecake.  A Dipper is a slice of cheesecake that's frozen onto a stick, dipped in chocolate, and coated with the topping of your choice.  A Smush is cheesecake and ice cream smushed together.  And finally, shakes made from cheesecake and ice cream.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA:  Cheesecake is one of our earliest baked goods.  Historians tells us that the ancient Greeks took goat cheese and sheep cheese, sweetened it with honey and made a cheesecake that was fed to the athletes at the first Olympics which took place in 776 BC. 

Much of the food in Chicago is based on the cooking found in the ethnic neighborhoods.  A perfect example is The Swedish bakery in Andersonville.  It opened in 1928 and continues to bake the breads, cakes and pastries that were dear to its founder.  A neighborhood favorite is the Andersonville Coffee Cake.  It's a light cardamom yeast cake with a topping of almonds.  Alfonso Aguilar is going to teach us the recipe.  He starts by measuring the ingredients for the cardamom dough and placing them into a mixer.  Sugar, salt, cardamom, butter, margarine, powdered milk, flour.  Now that the dry ingredients have been weighed in, it's time to add the eggs, cold water and yeast.  That's the base for the dough, and it's mixed together for about 20 minutes.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Most bakers measure by weight.  It's much more precise than measuring by volume.  Alfonso was using a balance scale, but you could also use an electronic scale. If you're picking out an electronic scale, here's what to look for.

The large surface area to hold the bowl you are weighing the ingredients in, an easy-to-read display, the ability to convert from metric to American, a generous capacity, and a tare function that allows you to reset the scale to zero while ingredients are in the bowl on the tray.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA:  It should be easy to story and easy to clean.  My favorite is The Salter's Baker's Dream.  It has an interesting feature.  If it displays zero for one minute, it turns off automatically.  Or if the weight hasn't changed for five minutes, it turns off automatically.  Saves your battery.  It's a good design.

At home you would use a rolling pin to roll out the dough to about a quarter inch thickness.  But here at the bakery he uses an amazing piece of equipment called a sheeter.  You throw the dough in at one end, and it comes out completely rolled at the other.  A mixture of almond paste, sugar, butter and margarine is spread out on the dough.  Then the dough is rolled into a log shape.


He's way ahead of his previous record.  And that's it, and it's closed.  Hands up!

A 12-inch cake pan is brushed with melted butter, and then the dough goes in and is formed into a ring.  Alfonso leaves about one inch between the dough and the cake pan so the cake can expand.  The dough is then cut to create a braided look.  Alfonso uses a kitchen shears to cut the braid into the dough.  Basically a kitchen shears is simply two knives that are joined in the middle.  And every kitchen should have a good pair.  The best ones are produced by the best knife companies.  They should be made of high carbon stainless steel with a good edge that can be sharpened just like a knife.  One blade should have a straight edge, and the other should be finely serrated.  Every part of it should be dishwasher safe. 

At this point, the cake is brushed with an egg wash and left to proof for 20 minutes.  The dough is topped with a mixture of chopped almonds and sugar, then it's into a 350-degree oven for 40 to 45 minutes.  Then it's out of the oven and into your mouth.

I'll tell you how to get the recipes for the dishes in this program and all the other programs in this series at the end of the show.

The great bakers that came to Chicago with the large German immigration of the 1800s and early 1900s are represented by Dinkel’s which opened in 1922.  It was opened by Joseph Dinkel of Dinkelsvule in Southern Bavaria.  They're famous for their sweet German Christmas bread which is called a Stolen.  And if you are interested in tasting a perfect doughnut, the way they tasted before they were mass produced by national chains, this is the place.

Another fine German bakery,  Schmeissing’s.  It was opened in 1934 by Gene Schmeissing who came here from Castle, German.  Good breads, fine fruit tarts, and a turtle cookie made with a sweet cookie dough base covered with nuts, topped with caramel and crowned with chocolate.  The baker calls them a turtle.  But I think they should be called a tortoise, because one bite taught us to love them.

In addition to being a center for candy manufacturers and bakers, Chicago's sweet dreams include the create visions of some of the country's most talented dessert chefs.  Gale Gand practices her art in a restaurant called Tru.  The recipe she's going to teach me today is a maple glazed angel food cake.

GALE GAND: We started with egg whites, okay.  We're going to mix those in the mixer with a whip attachment.  We're trying to get air into these.  To help them get a little bit of air, I add cream of tartar and salt.  And then just set it mixing.  I want to get as much air as possible in there.  I gradually add the sugar in.  You want to continue mixing until the sugar dissolves.  It takes about 30 seconds.  And it's very glossy, very, very stiff.  We're going to sift together cake flour and a little bit of sugar that I've held off.  And usually what I do is sift it three times.  All right, just ... make sure you've gotten as much going as possible, turn the mixer up.  See how nice and fluffy and you're seeing the trails of the whip attachment.  That's perfect.  That's what you're looking for.  So now, we have to fold.  One of my very favorite things to do.  And I need your help.  I'm going to need you to add this flour gradually.  You're going to kind of drizzle it in.  You know how to do that.  This was a cake that ... I make this for my dad he's a marathon runner, so he's into no-fat and that's one of the nice things about this cake; it's no fat.  Last thing we're going to add is the maple.  This is actually the maple syrup and some vanilla.  You're going to put half in and fold.  And this cake has maple in it, and then it's going to get maple on it.

When you're baking a heavy batter like a pound cake or you're making a cake that needs to be heated all the way through quickly, like an angel food cake, the best pan for the job, and maybe the only pan that would do the job properly is one with a tube in the center.  And the reasoning is very simple.  With those kinds of cakes in a non-tube pan, the outside would burn before the inside was cooked.  Tube brings the heat to the center so everything cooks evenly.

GALE GAND: So this is going to go in the oven.  Bake it 'til it's firm; about 30 minutes.  And let me show you one I did earlier.  It's still hot.  Now this is the fun stuff.  Take it out of the oven, because of gravity, the cake wants to deflate that way.  What we do instead, what I do is, I put it on a bottle to cool.  So you put it upside down, right?  On a bottle, like that, and let it cool that way.  So that it doesn't deflate in the pan.  So once it's cool, what I do is take either a butter knife or the backside of a knife and cut around the cake.  You don't want sharp because you want to leave as many crumbs in the pan as possible.  So just kind of go around the outside with the backside of a knife.  There I go.  Okay.  Now, we're going to turn it out onto a serving platter.  We're going to hope it comes out.

BURT WOLF: It's going to come out.

GALE GAND: Do you have the turning things out of the pan prayer ready to go?


WOMAN: Okay.  Ready?  This is actually a nice pan because it’s got a removable ... there you go.  Ready? 

BURT WOLF: Boy, does that smell good.

GALE GAND: Take this off.  Now we have to make the glaze.  It’s just some maple syrup.  Now just whisk in confectioners’ sugar. We’re just going to spoon this glaze over the cake and then you want to let it set up about 30 minutes.  I sort of stayed near the edge so some is on top, but some starts to go down the sides to make sure you get that real oozy, drippy, yeah.

BURT WOLF: I like that.

GALE GAND: I don't know anybody that doesn't like that.  I like drippy.


While I was analyzing Chicago's sweet dreams, I stayed at The House of Blues Hotel which is a Loews Hotel.  Interior decoration is a mixture of gothic, Moroccan, East Indian, Uptown, Downtown, Across town and high-tech.  In the same way that The Blues Brothers film took a relaxed approach to Chicago, House of Blues Hotel takes a relaxed approached to the somewhat staid manner you find in most hotels.  When you check in, you get a CD of Blues Rocker, R&B.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: The elevators run at a perfectly normal speed.  But just to make sure you don't get bored while you're waiting, they have placed a television set into the wall next to the doors.  Unfortunately, the other day somebody changed the station from CNN to an old Marilyn Monroe movie.  And I was two hours late for my appointment.  But I was in a good mood and mood is very much what this hotel is all about.

Instead of having a sign that reads "Please Do Not Disturb," the sign at the House of Blues reads "Don't Bother Me," which is, of course, what many of us are really thinking when we hang out that sign. 

Or if you want to be bothered, or bother someone else, each room has a sophisticated communications system.  Two telephone lines, a fax machine with a data port, and high-speed Internet access.  And if you want to be entertained, there's a television with a cassette player and a music system with a CD player.  The hotel has a special interest in accommodating business travelers.  The 14th floor has an executive lounge that provides a continental breakfast.  Rooms on that floor also offer a high-speed T-1 for your computer. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: And if you're in the mood to lounge around, you can lounge in the Kaz Bar, which is the hotel's Moroccan-style lobby lounge.

The hotel has a special deal with the Crunch Gym which is on the bottom floor of the building. 

COACH: Way to go!  Way to go!

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: I was particularly interested in the attention they pay to grandparents.  You show up with a grandchild, you get a kit which includes, among other things, a disposable camera, an album to put the photographs in, a telephone card to call home for help, and a tip sheet on how to be a good grandparent.  The only thing I'd add to the tip sheet is um, based on my own experience, it's quite helpful to read your grandchildren the portion of your will in which they receive a great deal of money.  I'd also include ear plugs.  I always take my ear plugs when I go to visit my grandson Max.

There's also a state-of-the-art AMF bowling center in the hotel's building.


Directly across the courtyard from the hotel's entrance, is the House of Blues Restaurant and Music Hall.  Every Sunday they hold a gospel brunch.  The buffet is basically Southern food and it's an all-you-can-eat service.  About 25 different dishes including jambalaya, sweet potato hash, barbecued chicken, buttermilk biscuits, and bread pudding with a bourbon sauce.  The interior space is based on an old opera house of Prague with three tiers of Baroque balconies.  But the decorations are based on African American folk art.

Each week a different gospel choir comes to The House of Blues and gives everyone an opportunity to praise the Lord and pass the biscuits.  Today's group is Andre Patterson and the Shop Choir.  Andre used to be a hairdresser and he needed money to buy more chairs for his shop.  He brought together some of his clients and fellow hairdressers and formed a gospel group to raise the money.

Well, that's a look at the sweet soul of Chicago.  I hope you've enjoyed seeing it and that you will join me next time on Local Flavors.  I'm Burt Wolf.

If you would like free copies of the recipes from this program, or hundreds of other recipes from Burt’s programs, to read his special reports from around the world and interviews with leading food authorities or to order a copy of The New Cooks’ Catalogue, a critical guide that tells you what to look for when purchasing cooking equipment and utensils, with over 1,000 color photographs and recipes, just visit Burt online at BURTWOLF.COM.

Local Flavors: Chicago - #110

Every town in the world has a local flavor.  A flavor that comes from its signature dishes, from a group of preferred ingredients, or a type of restaurant that is popular.  There is a flavor that comes from appreciating a particular piece of equipment or a technique.  There's dozens of things that impact on the local flavor, but the most important influences are always the result of geography, history and economics.  So, please join me, Burt Wolf, for a taste of the local flavors of Chicago. The origin of Chicago's importance lies in its location.  To the north and east are the Great Lakes and the Saint Lawrence Seaway that runs out to the Atlantic Ocean.  To the south is a network of rivers that flow into the Mississippi and down into the Gulf of Mexico.  Chicago is a control point between these two waterways.  And for thousands of years, people have been using this spot as a central trading post. BURT WOLF ON CAMERA:  As the United States moved west, Chicago became a commercial center.  And in 1825, when the Erie Canal opened, Chicago found itself with a direct water route to New York City, and shipping prices that had dropped by 90 percent.  Everybody who grew or manufactured something in the Midwest brought it to Chicago for sale, especially the guys who were raising pork and cattle. Each year, millions of steaks pass through this town, and some of the best of those steaks ended up in the kitchens of some of the town's best restaurants.

These days, one of the most popular steak restaurants in Chicago is Wildfire.  It's a steak and chop house with a 1930s, '40s look.  The walls are covered with period photographs, and there's a dramatic open kitchen.  Their signature steak is a horseradish crusted filet mignon.  The chef, Joe Decker, starts by putting a pound of sweet butter in a stand mixer, and creams it for about eight minutes, until it's light and fluffy.  A half cup of freshly grated horseradish and a half cup of prepared horseradish go into the creamed butter.  A little salt, pepper and two cups of Japanese bread crumbs.  The Japanese or Panko bread crumbs are lighter and fluffier than regular crumbs. 

When the ingredients are fully blended, the mixture is turned out onto a piece of parchment paper.  This is clearly a four handed job... spread out and rolled into a log.  The ends of the paper are twisted to hold in the mixture.  And into a refrigerator for an hour or so ... till it's hardened to the point where it can be sliced into rounds.  Any of the flavored butter that's not being used, can go into the freezer for next time.  A ten ounce filet that's been seasoned with salt and pepper is seared for two minutes on each side.  Then it comes off the grill and rests for five minutes.  When it's cool enough to touch, a strip of bacon is wrapped around the filet and held in place with a skewer.  Then back onto the grill until the meat is cooked the way you like it.  Out for a minute, the horseradish crust goes on, then back onto the grill for 30 seconds, and you're ready to plate.

A round of garlic toast goes onto the plate, the steak, a little juice from the meat, parsley and a steak knife.  It's served with Parmesan crusted creamed spinach and a barbecue rubbed sweet potato.  A great drink to have with this meal is a flight of four beers that are served together on a long coaster that tells you what you're drinking.  You can choose between two flights.  Flight one contains lagers and light ales, including Chicago's most popular microbrew.  Goose Island Honker's Ale.  Flight two contains fuller, darker ales, including Wildfire's Blonde Ale and Black Jack Porter.  The nice thing about both of these flights is they arrive on time.  And for dessert, apple raspberry skillet pie with a cream cheese crust served with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce.

I'll tell you how to get the recipes for the dishes in this program and all the other programs in this series at the end of this show.  The kitchen is a place where you need as much protection as you can get.  Fortunately, Chicago is the home town of the Magid Company, specialists in protective gloves and aprons.  And Mike Stevens came by to explain the state of the art.  What have we got here?

MIKE STEVENS ON CAMERA: We have a variety of industrial grade products that we think make a lot of sense for home applications.  This, for example, is a leather heat mitten that can be used both in your kitchen to take something out of the oven, around your barbecue grill on the deck, or it could be used in your fireplace. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Extraordinary.

MIKE STEVENS ON CAMERA: This is another heat product.  Not as much protection as a leather or a wool lined product.  This is called a baker's pad.  This is what they use when you want to have extra protection on the palm of your hand at a specific time, whether you're baking, or when you want to do something besides lift the product of the oven. And you've got your hands free for other functions.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Let me try that.  So, it just slips on over your wrist.


BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: When you want to use it, grab something ... you grab it that way.  Then when you're not using it, it flips away.


BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: And it becomes an elegant piece of jewelry.

MIKE STEVENS ON CAMERA: Gorgeous.  This is a metal chain mail glove.  This is extremely cut resistant.  This, for example, I can take a high quality knife with a very sharp edge, and just put a tremendous amount of pressure as I try to cut my fingers off.  This has its roots in the medieval days with uh, chain mail.

BURT WOLF CAMERA: Oh, the knights.  Right.


BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: This is the Sir Lancelot model.


BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: I recognize it.

MIKE STEVENS ON CAMERA: Exactly.  Exactly. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: I'm going to do this a little bit more slowly than you did.

MIKE STEVENS ON CAMERA: You don't trust me, Burt?

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: I trust you, but I just ... okay.   Scary but true.  Wow. 

MIKE STEVENS ON CAMERA: An excellent product to use for something like shucking oysters or filleting fish, where you have a very, very sharp knife.


MIKE STEVENS ON CAMERA: This is another cut resistant product.  This is Dupont's Kevlar material.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Oh, they use that to make bullet proof vests.

MIKE STEVENS ON CAMERA: Bullet proof vests, for tire cord.  Things like that.  That's extremely cut resistant.  Not as much so as the metal, but it's the perfect product to have around the home and to pick up a broken glass, jar, something like that.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Broken glass.  Interesting.

MIKE STEVENS ON CAMERA: The PVC dots give you a nice grip, so you don't have to worry about it slipping.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Those are PVC?  Plastic?


BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Why is it on the front and the back?

MIKE STEVENS ON CAMERA: Makes it reversible, so you can use it for either hand.


MIKE STEVENS ON CAMERA: You don't necessarily have to have a pair of gloves for every application.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: So one hand has the knife or the problem.


BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: And the other one, you have the glove on.

MIKE STEVENS ON CAMERA: But this product is ... is lightweight enough, you could handle a knife very easily, as well.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Stuff that's both fashionable and functional.  That's what I like in my kitchen.

As Chicago became more and more important, its business men and women made more and more money.  And often, when you have money, you learn to buy the best, which is why some of the country's best chefs are in Chicago.  Perfect example is Charlie Trotter.  Instead of going to trade school, he apprenticed at some of the world's great restaurants, read every cook book he could get his hands on (Loud background conversation), and learned his craft on the job.

CHARLIE TROTTER ON CAMERA: Let's go from the top.

His restaurant is considered to be one of the finest restaurants in the world.  His food comes from a blending of French technique, American creativity, Asian minimalism and the finest ingredients.  Over 90 purveyors provide him with foods produced to his specifications. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: As part of his desire to give back to the community that supports him, each week, Charlie invites a group of high school students to come in, have dinner and learn about the realities of the restaurant business.  His objective is to teach them that with perseverance and focus, anything is possible.  Maybe even a reservation on a Saturday night in his restaurant.

CHARLIE TROTTER ON CAMERA: Folks, are we ready to begin?


MAN: Absolutely.

CHARLIE TROTTER ON CAMERA: Great, great.  We have a little something I think that'll be fun to kind of get your juices going. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: During the second half of the 1800s, Chicago's industrial growth required a larger labor force.  Thousands of African Americans came up from the south.  But the city also encouraged immigration from Europe.  During those years, tens of thousands of Germans, Poles and Greeks arrived in this city.  They moved into their own individual neighborhoods and opened up restaurants that served the foods of their native countries. 

One of the oldest is The Berghoff.  In 1887, Herman Berghoff emigrated from Germany to the United States and opened a beer brewery in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Six years later, he brought his beer to Chicago for the Columbia exposition.  He stayed in Chicago and opened the Berghoff Cafe, which is famous for its beer, its food and its liquor license, which was the first liquor license issued in Chicago.

And then there's the Red Apple restaurant, an old favorite for Polish immigrants and everyone else who enjoys good food.  Its served buffet style, and it's very inexpensive.  They're famous for their potato pancakes, but they also serve many of the traditional foods of Poland.  Sauerkraut in sausages, dumplings, pierogies, cheese blintzes, and that old Polish stand-by, chicken chop suey.

When it comes to Greek food, a good spot is Papagus, which means Grandpa Gus.  The Chicago Tribune called it the best Greek restaurant in the city.  It's divided into areas, each representing a different part of Greece.  The Paros room represents the northern part of Greece.  Handmade cloth tarps line the ceilings.  The walls are white washed.  And the blue bottles represent the Mediterranean Sea.  It's where you'd find the shrimp phyllo bag, roasted jumbo shrimp wrapped in phyllo dough and served on saffron rice.  And whole fish grilled over wood.  The grill they use in Papagus is 150 years old, and burns only cherry wood.  It's also the place for flaming cheese, a Greek specialty.  The area that represents central Greece has stone steps and hand carved tiles on the floor, and vines and grape leaves on the walls.  This is the part of Greece where you would find grilled halibut and orzo pasta.  The Volos room represents the mountain regions of southern Greece.  Wooden stone in the minimalist style with religious relics on the walls.  This part of Greece is famous for rack of lamb and baklava dessert, made from roasted walnuts and almonds, and layered with phyllo dough and honey.  The restaurant is also responsible for bringing the new Greek wines to Chicago.  Greek grapes but grown in California. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Chicago also has a large Mexican community that arrived here during the second half of the 20th century.  And as you might expect, they brought their native cuisine to the city.  (Loud background traffic noise)  But what you might not expect is Topolobampo and the Frontera Grill, that are thought of as two of the best Mexican restaurants in North America.  Rick Bayless, who grew up in his family's barbecue restaurant in Oklahoma City, is the chef.  As an undergraduate student, he majored in Spanish and Latin American culture.  Three of his favorite dishes are tortilla soup with pasilla chili, fresh cheese and avocado.  Fish braised with tomatoes, capers, olives and herbs.  And quick fried shrimp with sweet, toasted garlic.  To make the quick fried shrimp, garlic goes into a food processor and gets chopped.  Then into a sauce pan with heated olive oil.  A little salt is added, which soaks into the garlic.

RICK BAYLESS ON CAMERA: It looks like a monumental amount of garlic, but it gets so sweet and toasty as it cooks.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: You never had problems with vampires.

RICK BAYLESS ON CAMERA: I definitely ... no, not when you make a dish like this.  So, a little sprinkling of salt over the top of it.  And then you squeeze it out ...

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Rick uses a Mexican lime press to extract the juice that goes into the garlic.

RICK BAYLESS ON CAMERA: It basically turns that half inside out.  It's a very, very efficient piece of kitchen equipment.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Seeds are removed from a canned chipotle chili pepper, at which point the pepper is thinly sliced and added to the sauce.

RICK BAYLESS ON CAMERA: Just let that simmer around for a couple of minutes, if you want, just so that the flavors are all combined. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: A little of the oil from the garlic goes into a heated frying pan followed by some peeled and cleaned shrimp ..... with their tails on.  Cilantro is chopped and mixed into the shrimp.  Rice that has been cooked with plantains is molded into a pyramid and placed into the center of a large bowl.

RICK BAYLESS: Onto the plate.  And if I've got it right in the middle ...

BURT WOLF: The shrimp are placed around the rice.

RICK BAYLESS: Okay.  So, we'll put a few of 'em around the outside of the ...

BURT WOLF: The garlic sauce is spooned onto the shrimp.

RICK BAYLESS: That is really beautifully sweet, tender pieces of garlic.  A little fresh flavor of ...

BURT WOLF: And finally, a little more of the chopped fresh cilantro.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Chicago is also the home to one of the most interesting restaurant companies in the United States.  It's called Lettuce, as in the green leafy stuff, Entertainment You.  And as you can tell from the name, it is creative and has a sense of humor about what it creates.

It was started in the early 70s by Richard Melman and with his partners, built into a $170 million business. But unlike most restaurant groups that have a good idea that they take all over the country, Melman has opened almost all of his businesses in Chicago.  Curious to find out what commercial insight lay behind this unusual decision, I asked why he did almost all of his work in one town.

RICHARD MELMAN ON CAMERA: I hate to travel.  I don't like the aggravation of going to the airports and the delays with the planes.  And I have a horrible sense of direction.  When I do get to another town, I never know where I am.  And I'm a homebody, and I like being with my family.  And that's ... that's the reason.

Of the top four restaurants listed in the Zagat guide for Chicago, three are Melman's. Ambria for excellent French cuisine in an elegant atmosphere with art nouveau architectural touches.  It features a light approach that relies on the use of the freshest ingredients and cooking techniques that enhance the food's lighter flavors.

Everest is on the 40th floor of the Chicago Stock Exchange building, and has one of the great views to dine by.  Considered one of the city's top dining rooms, it operates under the direction of chef/owner Jean Joho, who has been described by the Chicago Tribune as the most creative chef in the city. 

And Tru, which presents a progressive approach to French cooking and serves their dishes on a spectacular array of non-traditional surfaces.  Like caviar on a glass staircase, or marinated sushi in a bowl with a Japanese fighting fish. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Those three restaurants are rather upscale, and their energy is directed towards producing a great cuisine.  But the company showed its sense of humor early on.  During the 70s, they opened a restaurant called Jonathan Livingston Seafood, and another one called Lawrence of Oregano.

And for years, I've been a fan of Big Bowl, which is a casual Asian cafe that offers an eclectic menu of simple fresh foods.  Asian noodles, stir-fries, soups and wraps.  And everything is inexpensive.  One of Lettuce Entertain You's most popular restaurants is Mon Ami Gabi which is an authentic reproduction of a Parisian bar the way they looked in the late 1800s.  A signature meal at the restaurant would start with onion soup, followed with a main course of steak with garlic butter and French fries, and end up with crepes banana foster for dessert. 

The pastry chef, Michel Briand is preparing the crepes.  He's from Brittany, which is a world epicenter of crepe cookery.  The base of his batter is made from flour, eggs, butter, oil, sugar and milk, which is standard.  But then, he adds a little rum and some Grand Marnier.  He's French, which explains the Grand Marnier, and he worked in the Caribbean for two years, which explains the rum.  The alcohol also opens the batter in a way that makes the crepe lighter.  It can be made early in the day and held for dinner.  Just put them in an air tight container and keep them at room temperature.  Make as many as you will need ahead of time.

Michel uses a non stick frying pan at the restaurant to make the crepe, but you could also use a pan specifically designed for the job.  The crepe pan should have sloping sides to keep the crepe round.  It should be shallow, so you can flip the crepe easily, and it should be made of a material that absorbs, distributes and retains heat well.  This pan is made of carbon steel.  And now, it's time for the sauce.  Butter is melted in a sauce pan. Brown sugar is added, and then corn syrup.   That's mixed together and brought to a boil. 

MICHEL BRIAND: Mixed everything so we don't have any lumps. 

As soon as the mixture reaches a boil, cream is added, and it's brought to a boil again, at which point some vanilla extract goes in.

MICHEL BRIAND: A shot.  Great.

The crepe goes onto a serving plate.  Ice cream is scooped onto the crepe.  A banana is sliced into a bowl.  The sauce is mixed with the banana.  Some of the banana sauce goes onto the ice cream.  The crepe is folded over.  More sauce goes on.  And finally, a dusting of powdered sugar.  Fantastic. 

BURT WOLF AND MICHEL BRIAND ON CAMERA: would you hold this for me?


BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Thank you.  See you around.

Since 1959, the Second City has been touring the world and making people laugh.  Its alumni list reads like a Who's Who of American Comedy.  Alan Arkin, John Belushi, Bill Murray, Robert Klein, Dan Ackryod, Martin Short, Gilda Radner.  The Second City troops are masters of improvisational humor), and very often, part of a joke.

WOMAN ACTRESS ON CAMERA: I'm a waitress and I'm a sinner.  Sometimes folks come into the restaurant and they'll order a salad with fat free dressing, and I give 'em regular.  I don't know what's wrong with me.  I mean, I bet I get some sort of you know, evil pleasure out of seeing people eat a lot of fat, when they don't think they're getting any.

MAN: Have you or anyone in your family been a witness to or a victim of ...

MAN: Yeah.

MAN: All right. 

WOMAN: Have you or anyone in your family been a witness to or a victim of a drug crime?  Well, I haven't, but I think Joan has.  And Joan would be.

WOMAN: I’m Joan.

MAN: Doctor, I'm ready for my physician assisted suicide.

NURSE: All right, Mr. White.  I have two options for you.  The deluxe or the economy.

MAN: Well, my family doesn't have a lot of money, so the economy. 

NURSE: I understand. 

MAN: Hit the button.

WOMAN: I'm sorry.  I forget every time. You look great.

MAN: Oh, you look great.  You look really good.

WOMAN: You look better.  Oh, I love you. 

MAN: I love you too.

WOMAN: I love you more. Oh, honey, I'm sorry I was late.  I was at brunch with the girls.  I lost all track of time.

MAN: Oh well, you know, time flies.

WOMAN: Time flies when you're having fun.  I'm having fun.  Oh.  How about you?  You okay?

MAN: Oh yeah. I'm getting by, you know.

WOMAN: Good.  You're coping?

MAN: Coping?  Yeah, coping.  What's new?

WOMAN: Oh everything.  Everything is new. I'm so busy.  I'm meeting people and doing things.  I ... oh, I just wish you were with me to experience it all.  You know?

MAN: Oh, so do I.

WOMAN: You know, when they first put me in prison, I thought it was gonna be hell,  but I'm having a great time. 

MAN: Man, do these trains take a long time, or what? 

WOMAN: Going to a costume party or something? 

MAN: Oh no, I'm a super hero. 

WOMAN: Oh, like uh, Superman or something like that.  Huh?

MAN: Yeah, no.  I'm Captain Apathy.  I have all of the powers of Superman, but none of the willingness to use them.

MAN: Aeeyah (humming "Amazing Grace") ...

That's a taste of the local flavors of Chicago.  I hope you enjoyed it.  And I hope you will join me next time.  I'm Burt Wolf. 

MAN: (Still humming "Amazing Grace") 

If you would like free copies of the recipes from this program, or hundreds of other recipes from Burt’s programs, to read his special reports from around the world and interviews with leading food authorities or to order a copy of The New Cooks’ Catalogue, a critical guide that tells you what to look for when purchasing cooking equipment and utensils, with over 1,000 color photographs and recipes, just visit Burt online at BURTWOLF.COM.

Local Flavors: Wayne County, Ohio - #109

Every town in the world has a local flavor.  A flavor that comes from its signature dishes, from a group of preferred ingredients, or a type of restaurant that is popular.  It is a flavor that comes from appreciating a particular piece of equipment or a cooking technique.  There are dozens of things that make up the local flavor.  The most important influences are always the result of history, geography and economics.

This is Wayne County, Ohio, an agricultural community that has preserved much of its past and is presently home of the largest Amish community in the United States.  It's a good spot for a relaxing family holiday.  So please join me, Burt Wolf, for a taste of the local flavors of Wayne County, Ohio.

At the end of the revolutionary war the newly formed United States of America found itself long on land, but short on cash.  Congress soon decided that a fast way to pick up a few bucks would be to organize groups of settlers and sell them the land that was west of the original colonies.  The area was called Ohio after an Iroquois word meaning beautiful river.  In 1794 part of Ohio was established under the name of Wayne County and surveyed by the Larwell brothers who liked some of it so much that they purchased the land and became the area's first settlers.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA:  They built their first log cabin in 1808 and named the area after Brigadier General David Wooster who fought in the revolutionary war.  Their nearest neighbor of significance was Chief Beaver Hat of the Delaware tribe.  In addition to his beaver hat, he had a wonderful apple orchard planted by none other than the great Johnny Appleseed.  And most people know Johnny Appleseed as a character in a Walt Disney movie.  But in fact he was real.  His name was John Chapman and he was born around 1775 in Massachusetts.  He appears to have been a bizarre character wearing unusual clothing and wandering around the country teaching people how to plant and raise apple trees.  Which was a good thing, because without him we’d have a hard time saying something was as American as apple pie.

The earliest settlers in Ohio came from Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey and New England.  Maryland laid claim to the area because it had invested money in the Ohio Land Company.  Connecticut, Massachusetts, Virginia and Pennsylvania had charters that said that they could go from the Atlantic to the Pacific.  So they wanted a piece of the action.  The folks from New Jersey came because they wanted to get off the turnpike.

One of the largest groups to arrive were the Amish who came to Ohio from the Pennsylvania Dutch country.  Today this area has the largest Amish settlement in the United States. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: The protestant reformation that took place in Switzerland during the 1500s produced a group known as the Anabaptists who were anti-baptism for infants.  Jacob Amman was a bishop in that church and he thought things were getting a little too loose and wanted to return to the basic principles.  So in 1525 Aman and a group of his followers split off and became known as the Amish. 

During the early 1700s about 100 Amish families arrived in North America and eventually created a number of substantial settlements in Pennsylvania and Ohio.  An unwritten set of rules known as the Ordinum governed Amish behavior.  They are regulations dealing with most of the aspects of everyday life, from mattresses to machinery.  Their  lifestyle is a deliberate effort to separate their community from the world and to maintain a high level of self-sufficiency.  During the early years of the 20th century, they decided that allowing electricity into their lives constituted an inappropriate connection with the outside world.  So they live without it.

And that has led to the formation of an unusual retail operation: Lehman's.  It's just like any other hardware store, assuming the year is 1890.  Lehman's has the country's largest selection of non-electric appliances, old-fashioned tools, toys and wood burning stoves.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA:  The company's slogan is “Serving The Amish and Others Without Electricity for a Self-Sufficient Living”.  Now a few years ago I would have come in here and thought, interesting-it's a look at the past.  But considering the number of power failures in major American cities, I may be looking at the future.  Like, next week.

Galen Lehman is the son of the founder, and he took me on a tour. 

GALEN LEHMAN ON CAMERA: Ah, here's one of my favorites.  Wind-up radio.  30 seconds of winding, plays for half an hour.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA:  That's where you wind it?

GALEN LEHMAN:  Right here.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Wind it for 30 seconds and it plays for half an hour.

GALEN LEHMAN:  Half an hour. Turns on in the front. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA:  Chubby Checker.  No battery.

GALEN LEHMAN:  No battery.  And you don't need one either the by way you were dancing.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA:  Well, not for a couple of years anyway.  I love this.  I have to get one of these.

GALEN LEHMAN:  Great.  Thanks.  Oh, wait, wait.  You've got to check out this flashlight.  You like the radio?

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA:  I love the radio.

MAN: I've got a hand crank flashlight for you.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Oh!  You saw me coming, huh?

MAN: It's such a pretty color too.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: So you crank it like ... just like the radio?


BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: And then you put that in there and

GALEN LEHMAN: Right here you turn it on…

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: ... here.. S-O-S.  Save Our Show. 

GALEN LEHMAN:  Oh, you've got to see this apple peeler.  Check this out.  It's the world's fastest apple peeler.  It's a design from 1878.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: That is the world's fastest apple peeler.

GALEN LEHMAN:  Peels a whole apple in six seconds. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: The apple tastes good too.

GALEN LEHMAN:  This is a wood-burning cook stove.  And we're going to fire it up today.  Uh, you can load this one from the top and ...

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: I can see the fire in there.  Let's see the fire in there.  The fire is in there.

GALEN LEHMAN: And then the ashes come out down here.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Right.  And it comes into a bucket so it's really easy to clean out.

GALEN LEHMAN: That's right.


GALEN LEHMAN: Once the thing gets hot, it begins ... it starts getting hottest over here.  And then it gradually gets hotter across the top.  When you want to cook something fast, you start on this end.  If it gets too hot, you slide it away from the heat.  You can't control the temperature on the top.  So what you do is, you constantly slide back and forth to get whatever temperature you need.  You take this damper and you close it.  Now the smoke can't get out and back anymore.  It goes across the top, down the side, across the bottom.  Now the oven has heat on all four sides.  No heating elements in there like there is on electric range, of course.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: You just have the heat from the fire going all the way around.

GALEN LEHMAN: So we've always told people that food cooks better in a wood cook stove because it has heat on all sides.  Here's where you get your water for shaving in the morning.

GALEN LEHMAN:  Of course you don't need that. 


GALEN LEHMAN: But I do.  You've got hot water in here all the time.  In the old days, they used to dip it out with a dipper.  But now, they've got a spigot on there.  So this is a modern innovation.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: How much do these cost?

GALEN LEHMAN: About $3,000.


GALEN LEHMAN: But I ... I have them from $695 and up.


GALEN LEHMAN: No, no.  $695.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: That's amazing.

In 1882, John Mishler and his family arrived at the Ellis Island Immigration station in New York harbor.  He'd come from Berne, Switzerland with his family; a small truck filled with clothing, $5 and train tickets to Ohio.  When he arrived in Ohio, he set up a weaving mill to supply products to the town of Smithville.

It was a small business weaving rugs, dish cloths and towels on a hand loom.  It was and still is a slow and complex process.  But in spite of its repetitive nature, requires great attention to detail.  As a commercial operation the mill closed in 1993.  But the weaving continues.  Today the mill is operated as a fund raising venture by volunteers of the Smithville Community Historical Society.

It's a historical landmark for visitors, but it's also the place to get an amazing bargain.  And your money goes to the Landmark's Commission.  Doing well by doing good.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Another immigrant to the area was August Imgard.  He arrived from Germany in the mid-1800s.  And as Christmas approached he wanted to celebrate it the way he did back home with a Christmas tree.  Now Christmas trees were very common in Bavaria where he came from.  But very unusual in North America.  Nevertheless, he cut down an evergreen, brought it in his house and decorated it with candles and a star.  Next year, everybody in town wanted one.  And Wooster became one of the first places in the United States with a Christmas tree tradition.

To meet the growing market for quality Christmas trees, a number of farmers began growing them commercially.  The Dush family has been growing Christmas trees since the middle of the last century.  In 1980, they added a shop called The Pine Tree Barn to sell Christmas tree ornaments and gifts.   And after all, if you're going to come out and buy a tree, the least thing a Christmas tree farmer can do is give you the convenience of buying the tree ornaments and a few gifts in the same place.  But Christmas is not just about giving material gifts.  It's also about sitting around and enjoying the gift of family and friends.  And of course you can't sit around without furniture.  So it's only right that The Pine Tree Barn give the shopper an opportunity to buy the furniture for sitting around with their family and friends.

The Pine Tree Barn also has a simple restaurant so you can sit around and enjoy the view of the surrounding countryside.

And in the spirit of giving, they gave me the recipe for their beloved lemon crumb muffins.  At the end of this program, I'll tell you how to get the recipe for these muffins and all the other recipes in this program and all the other recipes in this series. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Monique Theoret is going to do the baking.

MONIQUE THEORET ON CAMERA:  We start out by mixing the dry ingredients together. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA:  First, the dry ingredients are blended together.  The sugar is added to the flour.  The baking soda and the salt go in. 

MONIQUE THEORET ON CAMERA:  The reason that I use the pastry cutter is, it's really important in muffins if you want them to rise really high to, you know, mix your ingredients really well so ...that it’s… the pastry cutter helps me to make sure that all the ingredients are evenly distributed.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: It keeps your nails clean.  And the wet ingredients are mixed together.  Sour cream goes into beaten eggs, melted butter is whisked in; the lemon juice, and finally the lemon zest.  All right. The dry ingredients go in.  May I?  A little bit at a time?

MONIQUE THEORET ON CAMERA: Actually, you can put ... pour the whole contents of the bowl in…

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: The entire contents in.




BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: …fabulous swoopness.

MONIQUE THEORET ON CAMERA: We have found here that if we try to use a mixer, we just don't get the same results.  So it's really important if you want to have success with this recipe to do it by hand.

And the batter is spooned into the muffin form.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: The muffin tin we're using looks like it's made out of flexible rubber.  But it's actually a mixture of fiberglass and silicon.  It's heat-proofed to 500 degrees Fahrenheit and has a non-stick surface.  So whatever you cook in it, when it's finished cooking, it will just ... pop right out.  

A streusel topping is made from sugar, flour, and soft butter and sprinkled onto the muffins.  And it's into the oven for 25 minutes.  When they come out, they're allowed to cool.  Holes are poked into the top with a toothpick and a glaze made of sugar and lemon juice is poured on.  At this point, they are ready to serve.  Muffins from a high-tech muffin pan.

This town is filled with interesting technology.  For almost 200 years Wooster has been Ohio's center for dairy products and cattle, which is one reason that it's the headquarters of the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center which is part of the Ohio State University College of Agriculture.  It's an internationally respected facility dedicated to improving American farming.

But these are not scientists lost in abstract theories.  The researchers that work here are interested in making our food better and they want to produce an impact as quickly as possible.  If not at tonight's dinner, then at least lunch tomorrow. 

Francis Fluhardy and Daral Jackwood are the kinds of scientists I'm talking about.

FRANCIS FLUHARTY ON CAMERA: You've just had a steak dinner at a restaurant.  You may have paid $40 or $50 for this meal.  And then the waiter comes over and asks you, “How was your steak?”  Well, that's a horrible way to do quality control. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA:  Where do you think that should take place?

FRANCIS FLUHARTY ON CAMERA: I think it ought to take place the day that a calf is born so that that animal is raised to give you a good eating experience.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA:  And that's the research you're doing now.

FRANCIS FLUHARTY ON CAMERA:  That's the research I'm doing with Daral Jackwood.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: So how do you do this?

DARAL JACKWOOD ON CAMERA: Well, we're designed as a diagnostic test.  We're looking at ... for genetic markers.  These are just pieces of DNA that are part of the cattle's genome.  And we're looking for markers that correlate very highly with tenderness and marbling in these steaks.  And we looked for many years for these and eventually found a couple that correlate very highly with marbling, and others that correlate very highly with tenderness.  So now we can go into an animal, look at its genetic potential; in other words, look for these markers.  If they're present, we know that animal is going to have the potential to marble.  If the tenderness markers are there, we know we're going to have a tender steak at the end of it.  And we can do that the day the calf is born.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Marbling is really a measure of the fat content in the beef.  And an increased fat content is a better flavor.  I actually think that fat is the magic carpet on which flavor travels.  You take out too much fat, flavor doesn't travel.

But the center is not just about beef.  It's also willing to talk turkey.  Because the demand for white meat has been greater than for dark, turkey farmers have concentrated on increasing the size of a turkey's breast.  And they've done a great job.  So great, that many of the turkey's don't have legs that are strong enough to support their breasts.  As a result, scientists here at the center have begun a genetic research project to produce turkeys with larger and stronger legs.  The Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center is also the home of the 85-acre Seacrest Arboretum which is used to grow over 2,000 different species including holly, azalea, rhododendron, and ash trees.  It's a perfect place for a quiet walk or a picnic.  And right nearby is the Garden of Roses.  Over 1,500 plants representing 500 varieties of roses.

During our filming, everybody in Wooster was extremely cooperative.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Hi.  I’m really glad you could come down this morning.  I know your mornings are very, very busy.  Most of you have not been on television before, so this is a new experience.  I think you’ll find it very enjoyable.  It’s not a difficult thing to do.  Uh, Ok.  Now, this group over here, I think you can stay seated just the way you are.  You look absolutely great.  Those over on the left that’ll be standing- wonderful!  The most important thing to remember is just to ignore the camera.  Just talk to me…work with me.  Do no pay attention to the camera or the soundman.  I think you’re gonna have a great time.  You all look absolutely wonderful.  Your makeup looks great.  I think we’re all gonna enjoy this.  Thanks again for coming. 

This morning’s guests were part of the herd at one of the Hartzler’s dairy farms.  The Hartzler’s are an unusual family and so are their dairy farms, milk, and ice-cream.  Janice is one of the 25 Hartzler’s in the business. 

JANICE HARTZLER ON CAMERA: In the early '60s my father was farming and he was farming with chemicals.  He was an avid chemical user.  And he had sprayed his field with some herbicide and it killed the hay that was in that field.  And from that point on, he began to wonder, really, if that was the smart thing to do.  So after that, he quit using any chemicals on his farm, cold turkey; just quit.  Because of that, when we were growing up, we'd hear every now and then, wouldn't it be nice if we could bottle our own milk?  And in '96 we opened our bottling plant and our cafe and since then we are processing milk in glass, half-gallon containers.  And we ... it's a non-homogenized milk.  And of course it doesn't have any of the chemicals in it because all of the family farms, uh, do farm without chemicals.  And we do also make wonderful ice cream from that cream and milk.  And we have wonderful names, Heifer Tracks, Cow Pies and Cream.  All kinds of neat kinds of ice cream.  And we always say it's the best this side of The Mississippi.

Another organization of importance is The College of Wooster.  It was founded in 1866 by a group of Presbyterians, many of whom were of Scottish ancestry or felt an association with Scotland because of Scotland's role in the history of Presbyterianism.  Of all the activities that are available to the students, there is one that perfectly combines the traditional elements of the college's history.  And that is the school band which became co-ed in 1940, but only after a brilliant move by the band master.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: In 1938 the band master noticed that visiting bands included women and were much larger.  The bands were larger, not the women.  So in spite of the fact that women had never been in a Wooster band, he petitioned the dean to include them.  The dean took a broad and scholarly approach and responded that no girl would ever march on his football field in trousers.  The band master had an inspired moment and said well, if the girls can't wear pants, then the guys are going to wear skirts.  Cleverly disguised as Scottish kilts.

Bag pipes have been part of the musical history of every European nation.  But it was the Scots who made them famous as a military instrument.  For centuries Scottish pipers would lead troops into battle under the theory that the sound would confuse the opposition while at the same time rousing a sense of patriotism in the Scots.  This theory is presently being tested here in Wooster.  Pipers are preceding the college teams into their sporting contests.  And with the exception of the chess team, they are having considerable success.

And now it's time to march over to the Wayne County Fair.

MAN ON CAMERA:  1934 was the first year of the Wayne County Fair.  We've been making doughnuts ever since.

WOMAN ON CAMERA: They're delicious.  They're sugar-coated energy.

BURT WOLF:  Energy.  Good.

MAN: People love our doughnuts because they're fresh.  We make them fresh all day long and ... the oldest doughnut they get is maybe an hour old.  Often when they get them they're still warm.

WOMAN:  We drove all the way from Rochester, New York to come down to have some doughnuts and go to the Wayne County Fair.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA:  The idea of a county fair goes back thousands of years.  At the end of a growing season, farmers would get together and exchange information about what techniques work the best and bring along a couple of examples for show and tell.  In our colonial period, sophisticated English farmers and cattlemen would come by and show us how to do it.  Of course after the civil war the English had very little interest in improving our technology.  And so we began to develop our own county fairs. 

The first Wayne County Fair took place here in 1833.  Less than 25 years after the first log cabin was built in the county.  The idea of displaying the best of class in both plants and animals is still the central part of this fair. 

One of the most fascinating examples is the horse pull.  A team of horses does the pulling.  But one of the horses is the leader, and he knows it and controls the action.  The objective is to have them work together to pull a weighted sled as far as they can in a set time.  After each team has had a chance to compete at a specific weight, the weight on the sled is increased.  Eventually, one team ends up as the winner with the top weight.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Well, I guess that's enough horsing around for one show.  I hope you have enjoyed this visit to Wayne County, Ohio and that you will join us next time on Local Flavors.  I'm Burt Wolf.

If you would like free copies of the recipes from this program, or hundreds of other recipes from Burt’s programs, to read his special reports from around the world, and interviews with leading food authorities, or to order a copy of The New Cooks’ Catalogue, a critical guide that tells you what to look for when purchasing cooking equipment and utensils, with over 1,000 color photograph and recipes, just visit Burt on line at BURTWOLF.COM.

Local Flavors: Beaver Creek - #108

Every town in the world has a local flavor; a flavor that comes from the signature dishes of the place, from a group of preferred ingredients, or a type of restaurant that is popular in the area.  It is a flavor that comes from appreciating a particular piece of cooking equipment, or a technique.  There are dozens of influences, but to a great extent, the local flavor is always the result of history, geography and economics. 

This is the village of Beaver Creek, Colorado.  It is one of the most celebrated winter resorts in the world.  Set in the Gore and Sawatch Mountains, about 110 miles west of Denver, the terrain has been designed for a number of winter sports.  The alpine slopes offer downhill courses for all skill levels.  From the demanding world cup course known as The Birds of Prey, to a slightly inclined mound of snow for three-year-olds. 

WOMAN SKI INSTRUCTOR: Well done.  Keep going.

And there is a mountaintop shared by cross country skiers and snowshoers that sits in the magnificent McCoy Park.  It's an outdoor setting that will work out your body and work up your appetite.  So please join me, Burt Wolf, for a taste of the Local Flavors of Beaver Creek, Colorado. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA:  By the middle of the 1860s, the gold rush that had begun in California in 1849 was coming to an end.  The miners realized that the gold they were taking out of the creeks had been washing down from the mountains.  And they figured if it was washing down on the California side, it might also be washing down on the Colorado side.  And they began to move east.  The miners who came into Beaver Creek were unusual.  Most miners liked to live on their claim in the mountains.  These guys built small villages in the valleys.  As soon as they settle in, ranchers arrived.  They raised cattle, did a little farming; potatoes, spinach and peas.  A special relationship developed between the miners and the ranchers.  Every night, the miners would come back into town and have dinner in restaurants that had been set up by the ranchers.  They'd have a big steak dinner with side orders of potatoes, spinach and peas. 

The cast of characters has changed, but the theme is still the same. 

The part of the ranchers is being played by the restaurateurs.  The folks coming out of the mountains each night are played by the skiers.  The gold is still being played by the gold. 

Now when someone has been up in the mountains all day prospecting in the mines or plowing in the snow, they build up a colossal appetite and a mighty thirst.  And when they get down to the valley at night, they start looking for something good to eat.  It was going on here over 100 years ago and it's going on again today.  The eateries in Beaver Creek range from informal spots to restaurants with sophisticated cooking and prize-winning wine lists. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: In the three weeks I stayed in Beaver Creek I tried to eat in as many places as I could.  But you know, there are limits.  A man can do just so much.  And a pair of pants can be let out just so far. 

In 1881, George Townsend settled down in Beaver Creek and built himself a house.  And it's still here.  Today, it's the home of Chef Daniel Joley, his wife Nathalie, and the restaurant Mirabelle which has a reputation for serving some of the finest food in the Rockies. 

Daniel is from Belgium and trained with a number of the finest chefs in Europe.  Today he's preparing one of his favorite meals. 

The first course is steamed mussels with a julienne of vegetables.  The main dish was a seared Dover sole with vegetables and a creamy citrus sauce.  Dessert was a lemon tart.  I'll tell you how to get the recipes for those dishes and all the other dishes in this series at the end of this program. 

Another award winning restaurant is The Grouse Mountain Grill located in The Pines Lodge.  It is considered to be one of the top hotel restaurants in the U.S.  The executive chef is Rick Kangus who has a talent for taking very simple ingredients and turning them into great tasting dishes. 

His first course was a crisp onion cup filled with a bacon and spinach salad that has been tossed with warm maple vinaigrette.  The main course was a pretzel-crusted pork chop with an orange mustard sauce.  Rick starts by cutting one bone off a double-bone pork chop.  The chop is set between two pieces of plastic wrap and pounded with a mallet until it's about an inch thick.  Then the chop is seasoned with kosher salt and pepper, dredged in flour, dredged in beaten egg, and given a light coating of crushed pretzels. 

And it's pan-fried for five minutes on each side.  And finished off in a 400 degree Fahrenheit oven for ten minutes, or until it reaches the internal temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit.  A sauce is made by reducing some cream and mixing in some honey mustard and some teeny strips of candied orange rind.  The mustard sauce goes onto a serving plate, then the pork chop, and a few slices of orange.     

There were two side dishes with the pork; a white cheddar grit cake with smoked tomatoes and peppers, and pan-roasted Brussels sprouts with honey-cured bacon.  They were the best Brussels sprouts I ever tasted. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: The Brussels sprouts are cooked in a sauté pan; comes from a French word that means to jump or leap.  And that's a pretty good description of what happens to food when you're sautéing it.  The pan moves up and back across the burner and the ingredients bounce up and down inside.  The action keeps the food from sticking or scorching.  When you're going to buy a sauté pan, there are a number of things to consider.  First of all, size.  You want to buy a pan that's big enough to fit all of the food that you're going to cook in one layer without crowding.  Think about the food you sauté most often and how big it is.  Buy a pan for that size.  And if you're going to have additional guests, do two or three batches.  The bottom should be perfectly flat so the pan will slide over the burner easily.  And straight sides will help when you're cooking a sauce.  The sides help reduce evaporation and spilling.  You want a metal that is highly heat conductive.  Of course copper is wonderful.  Regular aluminum is good.  But you want to make sure that there is a lining of stainless steel on the inside so the regular aluminum doesn't interact with your food.  Anodized aluminum like this is fine.  I am not a fan of non-stick surfaces on sauté pans.  I think they cut down on the transference of heat and you lose the crispiness that is so important in food that is being sautéed. 

It's important to have a comfortable handle made of metal that won't melt or burn when you put it in the oven.  It's nice to have an assist handle when you're lifting something heavy.  And a tight fitting lid so you can use this as a brazier. 

There were two desserts.  One was an apple bread pudding with cinnamon ice cream and a bourbon caramel sauce.  The other was a stir-fried strawberry banana sundae with candied ginger and brandy.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Beaver Creek's food history is not just limited to ranching and restaurants.  During the 1920s a group of farmers began experimenting with high altitude lettuce.  Because the temperature stays lower in the mountain valleys during the summer, farmers here could grow lettuce when farmers at lower and hotter elevations couldn't.  And the shipments arrived in the markets of the Midwest and the south at just the right moment.

The experiment was so successful that by the spring of 1923 Beaver Creek had become lettuce country.  The demand exceeded the supply and money came rolling in.  But not for long.  The Beaver Creek farmers were not experienced.  And within three years, the land was exhausted.  The lettuce years were over.  However, lettuce is making a comeback; but only on the local restaurant menus.  A good example is the Caesar salad at Splendido.

Splendido is another example of a restaurant that is elegant, but not stuffy.  The chef is David Walford who was born in England, raised in Colorado and trained by some of the best cooks in France, Napa Valley and San Francisco.  The local flavor that he has brought to Beaver Creek reflects that history.  When he came here, there was a wood burning oven in the kitchen.  So he began to tailor parts of his menu toward oven-roasting with oak. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: We started with Splendido's classic Caesar salad.  David begins by chopping and crushing garlic.  He always uses a chef's knife to do the work.  I'm going to chop the anchovies, but I am not going to use a chef's knife.  I'm going to use a mechanical chopper.  This one's called a Zyliss and I've used something like this for about 20 years.  Inside is a zig zag stainless steel blade connected to a plunger.  When you push the plunger down, the blade goes down over the food and chops it.  All the food is held in place by this circular disc on the outside.  And the more times you press it down, the finer the chopping.  This new model, which I didn't have 20 years ago, comes with a little cup so you can put your food inside there and when you finish chopping, it will be held in it.  And it also comes with a little cover so you can store it.  All right.  Anchovies. I love anchovies.  The garlic and anchovies go into a bowl.  Then an egg, which has been boiled in its shell for one minute.  It's known as a coddled egg and it helps the dressing emulsify.  A mixture of lemon juice, Worcestshire sauce, mustard, kosher salt and black pepper is mixed in.  Finally, olive oil is whisked in to complete the emulsion.  And that's the dressing which is added to the dried greens. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: The key word in describing the greens is dry.  Oil and water do not mix.  So if the lettuce is wet, all of that wonderful dressing is just going to drain down to the bottom of the bowl and your lettuce is going to end up naked rather than properly dressed.  You can dry those greens by wrapping them in terry cloth, or in paper toweling.  But the easiest way is to use a salad spinner.  Salad spinner.

The spinners work on centrifugal force.  There’s an inner basket, and as it spins the greens in the water are forced out from the center to the sides.  The greens are trapped against a grid and the water flies out against the inside of the outer basket. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Choose a salad spinner that's big enough to hold the amount of salad that you normally use.  Make sure that the construction is solid, that the top fits on securely and most important, you have a dependable spinning device.  This model will let you push down with one hand.  The downward pressure and the ring of non-skid rubber on the bottom of the outer bowl, keeps the dryer secure on the counter.  It's a brake button on the lid that brings the spinning basket to a halt.  The pump knob locks down for easier storage and you're ready to continue.

The greens are dressed and tossed with grated Parmesan cheese.  A few homemade breadsticks are used to garnish the salad. 

The main course is Colorado rack of lamb that has been marinated in pomegranate juice and roasted in a wood oven.  But since I do not have a wood oven in my kitchen, David has been kind enough to tell me how to make it in a standard oven.

DAVID WALFORD ON CAMERA: This is the pomegranate juice, the base of the marinade.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: If I can't get pomegranate juice, what can I use?

DAVID WALFORD ON CAMERA: You could use a red wine or maybe try, uh, cranberry juice.  I haven't ever used that, but I always thought it might be nice.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Okay.  The marinade is made from pomegranate juice, olive oil, chopped lemon zest, lemon juice, shallots, garlic, rosemary, thyme and crushed black pepper. 

DAVID WALFORD ON CAMERA: You can marinade it for eight hours, 12 hours, 24 hours is the best, not more than that.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Then the lamb is drained and the bones are wrapped in aluminum foil.

DAVID WALFORD ON CAMERA: So we want to wrap the bones with foil because the wood oven is so hot they would go up in flames.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: The rack is seasoned with black pepper.  At which point the lamb is roasted in the wood oven for 12 to 20 minutes, or browned in a hot skillet with a little oil and then roasted at a 450 degree oven.  The lamb comes out of the oven, rests for ten minutes, gets sliced and served with seasonal vegetables, a sheep's milk cheese soufflé, and a sauce made from stock and some of the marinade.           

For dessert we had a pear ginger upside down cake and an amaretto zabaglione.

The next valley over from Beaver Creek is Bachelor Gulch.  It was settled in the early years of the 20th century by five bachelors who were ranchers, farmers and timber cutters.  They often worked together to improve their property.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: To say the least, they were unique personalities.  Ed Howard used to keep his chickens in his bedroom.  Jimmy Howard, no relation to Ed, had retired from the railroad, so he got a regular pension check.  He would cash it, take part of it to go into town to the local bar, and give the rest to his neighbor with the instructions that no matter what he said or did, that money was not to be given back to him until he sobered up.  And of course a couple of hours later he would come back dead drunk screaming for his money.  But the neighbors, being good neighbors, would not give it to him.  And the Howards were two of the more normal guys.

Today Bachelor Gulch is part of the Beaver Valley ski area.  And the old Anderson cabin is now available as a private dining facility, which of course is exactly what it was when John Anderson lived there.

The guys in Bachelor Gulch liked the beauty and solitude of being alone in the mountains.  And if you'd like that experience on the most luxurious level, you can rent Trapper's Cabin.  

Set back in the trees at 9,500 feet, it's just what a trapper's cabin would be after his IPO.

It comes with its own full-time chef, cabin master, and housekeeper.  And let me tell you, this is the kind of house I'd like to keep.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: And no matter who's doing the cooking, they're going to be adjusting those recipes.  That's because most cookbooks are written for people who live and cook at sea level.  When you take those recipes up in the mountains, strange things happen.  The barometric pressure up here is lower.  That's because the blanket of air above you is thinner.  It's actually a pound lower for every thousand feet you go up.  And that has a strange effect on your cooking.

First, water and other liquids evaporate faster and boil at lower temperatures.  It's not your imagination if you think your coffee isn't as hot in the mountains as it is at sea level.  Second, rising or leavening agents used in baking, like the carbon dioxide in baking soda or yeast or the egg and whipped whites expand more.  At sea level, water boils at approximately 212 degrees Fahrenheit.  In Beaver Creek water boils at 203 degrees Fahrenheit.  Which means here, it takes longer to cook food in boiling water.  And more water must be added to make up for the greater evaporation.  As a general rule, for every thousand feet above sea level, you need to increase the cooking time by about ten percent.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: And above certain altitudes, some foods like dried beans won't cook at all without the help of a pressure cooker.  That's because the water boils at such a low temperature that it just vaporizes before the beans are cooked. 

And high altitude baking is the biggest challenge.  The reduced air pressure makes bread dough and cake batters rise too much or too quickly.  Bread and cakes just fall.  The answer is to decrease the amount of yeast, baking soda, or baking powder.  And if the leavening agent is the air and beaten egg whites, only beat the egg whites to soft peaks.  And speaking of peaks, allow me to introduce you to a couple that are still at the peak of their skills.

Helmut Fricker is well known in Beaver Creek.  Each afternoon he arrives at the center of the village and treats passersby to an alpenhorn concert.

Less well-known, but just as great a treat is his wife Ursula's cooking, especially her linzer torte. 

URSULA FRICKER ON CAMERA: And we start with 300 grams of flour, sifted jour.  Just regular flour.


URSULA FRICKER: And 300 grams of sugar.  And then we will add one egg.  And you just ...you know, like kneading.  It's like kneading the dough.  And then slowly put the butter in it.  That's also 300 grams.

BURT WOLF: It’s an easy recipe.  300 grams…

URSULA FRICKER: Everything is 300 grams.

BURT WOLF:  Making a basic pastry dough.

URSULA FRICKER: Making a basic dough.  Yes.  And now we will do the almonds.

BURT WOLF:  300 grams.

URSULA FRICKER: 300 grams of almonds.

BURT WOLF: I got this.

URSULA FRICKER: You got this.

BURT WOLF: Do you know if my slice will have 300 calories?  And if so, I'll remember everything.

URSULA FRICKER: Two teaspoons of cocoa.

BURT WOLF: One German knife tip of cinnamon.


BURT WOLF: Sure.  Everybody's going to love this recipe.

URSULA FRICKER: One to two.  Just a dash of ground cloves.

BURT WOLF: Cloves.

URSULA FRICKER: That I put in.  And then we have ...

BURT WOLF:  Cherry flavored brandy.

URSULA FRICKER: Cherry flavored brandy, but not sweet.  It's real Schnapps.

BURT WOLF:  Schnapps.  Two tablespoons, did you say?

URSULA FRICKER: Two tablespoons.

BURT WOLF: Ursula is using a very practical piece of equipment.  It's called a counter board.  You use one side when you're chopping onions, garlic, anything that would be strong.  You use the other side for pastry.


BURT WOLF: And your real counter surface, which in this case is marble, is always protected.  Now, the best of these cutting boards are made of laminated sugar maple and have two bars on the side.  One projects up, and the other projects down.  When you put the board on the counter, the front bar holds it in place and keeps it from sliding to the other side.  And the back bar keeps the ingredients from spilling over.

URSULA FRICKER:  And then it has to rest for at least an hour in the refrigerator. 

BURT WOLF:  Put it in the fridge for an hour.


BURT WOLF:  An hour later ...

URSULA FRICKER:   It has chilled.  And it's very workable now.  This will be the bottom.  So now we roll this out, if you can ... I like this rolling pin, it's very nice.

BURT WOLF:  That's called an American rolling pin.  And that weight does all the work for you.  You don't have to ...

URSULA FRICKER:  Very, very, very well.

BURT WOLF:  ...put any pressure on it.  It has ball bearings on the inside.  And so the barrel rolls independently of the handles.  I like these handles particularly because they are a full five inches.

URSULA FRICKER:  Yes.  Very good.

BURT WOLF:  You get a good grip on it, right?  Well…

URSULA FRICKER:  Best one I ever had.

BURT WOLF:  I brought along a French rolling pin so we could we could have a comparative roll-out.  It's longer than yours.


BURT WOLF:  It's much lighter and thinner.  The French chefs like this because they feel that it puts them closer to the dough and they get a better feel of the way it's rolling out. 

URSULA FRICKER:  And then you just take it and put it in your form. 

BURT WOLF:   That's a pretty extraordinary guess on what ten inches is.

URSULA FRICKER: It's that German guess again.  I put five heaping tablespoons of jam.  Raspberry.  It has to be raspberry jam. 

BURT WOLF:  Has to be.

URSULA FRICKER:  Not going all the way to the ... to the pan rim.  Yes.  And then I have made some cutouts that are little leaves.  And I make the rim with it. And then I form like flowers in the middle.

BURT WOLF:  That's so pretty.

URSULA FRICKER:  Then I go ahead and put some, egg yolk on it.  The crowning is those little balls that are ... the little center of the flower.

BURT WOLF: And then it's into a 375 degree Fahrenheit oven for 50 minutes.  The torte comes out of the oven, rests for ten minutes, and then comes out of the pan.  Ursula is using the ideal pan for delicate cakes like tortes and cheesecakes; it's called a spring form pan.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: On a spring form pan, the sides of the pan are separate from the bottom.  When you release the spring, the sides open up and the torte comes away easily.  The sides of the rim are symmetrical.  So you can use it if you're right handed, and then flip it, and use it if you're left handed.

All properly made models have a groove in the base where the side pieces rests.  But the best ones have an extra trough that circles the sides and will catch any drips that come off the base.  They're also coated with a non-stick surface.

The Linzer torte was named after the town of Linz in Austria where it was first baked.  It was shaped in a circle to celebrate the warmth of the sun.  Graham introduced his cracker in the 1820s.  Seventy years later, the ranchers of Beaver Creek began corralling their cattle.  And at almost the same moment, John Hershey was conching his first milk chocolate.  We needed the marshmallow. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: But once the hand of fate is in motion, it is impossible to stop.  And when the Hyatt Regency Hotel opened its fire pit in Beaver Creek, the world epicenter for s’moring was created.  There's even an official recipe.  Hershey e-mailed it to me. 

Place a half bar of milk chocolate on a half of a graham cracker and keep it at the ready.  Carefully toast a marshmallow and place it on top of the chocolate.  Place a second graham cracker on top of the marshmallow and gently press the sandwich together.  The Hyatt even sells a s’mores kit with all the essential components including a three-foot long stick for the marshmallows.  And you thought everything had already been invented.  In truth, there really is no end to America's ability to create.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Of course some creative undertakings are more significant than others.  It's obvious that the people who created Beaver Creek had a good understanding of what people want in a winter vacation, and what they want to eat during those vacations.  If you've enjoyed this edition of Local Flavors and you'd like some more, please join me next time.  I'm Burt Wolf.

If you would like free copies of the recipes from this program, or hundreds of other recipes from Burt’s programs, to read his special reports from around the world, and interviews with leading food authorities, or to order a copy of The New Cooks’ Catalogue, a critical guide that tells you what to look for when purchasing cooking equipment and utensils, with over 1,000 color photograph and recipes, just visit Burt on line at BURTWOLF.com. 

Local Flavors: San Sebastian, Spain - #107

Every city in the world has a local flavor, a flavor that comes from the signature dishes of the town, from a group of favorite ingredients or a type of restaurant that is only found in that area.  It's a flavor that comes from appreciating a particular piece of cooking equipment or a cooking technique.  This is the land of the Basques.  It runs along the northeast coast of the Iberian Peninsula, with three provinces in France and four in Spain.  Surrounded by the Pyrenees Mountains and the Atlantic Ocean, their history goes back for hundreds of thousands of years.  In fact, the Basques have the most ancient culture in Europe and accordingly, the most ancient local flavors. 

So please join me, Burt Wolf, for a taste of the local flavors of the Basque country of Spain.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: For hundreds of years, Basque fishermen followed whales across the Atlantic, eventually ending up off the coast of Newfoundland and discovering the huge schools of cod that lives on the grand banks.  Many historians believe that the Basques knew a great deal about the new world long before Columbus showed up, but didn't tell anybody about it because they considered it a commercial advantage.  And it makes perfectly good sense.  If you found gold, why would you want to tell the competition where your mine is? And cod turned out to be a gold mine for the Basques.  Dried cod was a way of preserving valuable nutrients and became a popular food throughout Europe.  The demand for cod increased when the Catholic church required meatless meals, and the Basques were the major suppliers.  Today, codfish is an essential ingredient in the local flavors of the Basques, and their chefs are considered to be some of the greatest seafood cooks in the world.  But cod is not the only important fish in the Basque kitchen. 

Walk through the market in the city of San Sebastian and you will see the other local favorites, langoustine, which is a European species of lobster, monkfish, tuna, hake, sardines and anchovies.  Because Basque country is as much about mountains as it is about the sea, lamb has always been an important part of the local cuisine. 

The sheep also supply milk, which is used to make a number of traditional Basque cheeses.  The cheeses take on the flavor of the mountain plants on which the sheep fed.  In the United States, you can find a number of Basque cheeses.  The Basque are also famous for their hams.  The mountain forests, filled with acorns and chestnuts, became a natural habitat for the pigs, and ham is an essential part of the Basque diet.  The little upside down umbrellas are there to catch any drippings.  The local flavors of the Basque kitchen, like all local flavors, reflect the history of the region.  Ancient Romans did a little trading with the Basque and introduced wheat, olive oil and wine making, which was rather important, since all three elements are essential to one of the great gastronomic traditions of the Basque, a tradition known as the pintxos bar.

GABRIELLA RANELLI & BURT WOLF WALKING: I've gone to this bar, which is the place that I've had breakfast in almost every day for the last ten years. 

BURT WOLF: My guide is Gabriella Ranelli, a friend of mine who is an American and has lived in San Sebastian since 1989.  She’s a specialist in Spanish art and a serious eater.

GABRIELLA RANELLI ON CAMERA: Okay, this is a pintxos bar where they have ... pintxos are little snacks.  They're called tapas in the rest of Spain.  But here ... this is the breakfast one.  This is a little bit different from the one people go to in the evening, which are heartier.  And normally you know, if you come here all the time, usually you come stumbling in, they'll hand you the newspaper first thing in the morning.  They know whatever you like to eat.  Everybody has their favorite pintxos usually. And they know their clients.

GABRIELLA RANELLI ON CAMERA:  He’s pouring some txakoli which is a sparking ... well it's a local wine.  It's a white wine but they pour from a great height so it gets a little effervescent, but it's not a sparkling wine.  It's made with grapes which are grown on the steep hills next to the sea, so they don't get a lot of sun.  They get a lot of rain.  It's quite tart but it's an aperitif.  It's an aperitif, yeah.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: These are great.  It's just an egg omelet on a little piece of bread.


BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: ... little piece of bread. 

GABRIELLA RANELLI ON CAMERA: Yeah, very simple but it's absolutely ideal. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: I want one of those.


BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Hilda?  Why is it called a Hilda?

GABRIELLA RANELLI ON CAMERA: Well it’s actually … in English we would probably say Gilda.  It’s after the Rita Hayworth film.


GABRIELLA RANELLI ON CAMERA: Had a lot of impact here.

BURT WOLF ONCAMERA: It’s anchovies, little peppers and olives on a toothpick.

GABRIELLA RANELLI ON CAMERA: Uh huh.  Every bar has its own version of that. 


GABRIELLA RANELLI ON CAMERA: Yes, like Rita Hayworth.  Right.

BURT WOLF ON CAAMERA: Rita Hayworth was considered spicy.

GABRIELLA RANELLI ON CAMERA: That scene where she takes off her gloves, you know, that revolutionized the entire country.

BURT WOLF: I don't see the bagels, but I definitely see the smoked salmon and the cream cheese.

GABRIELLA RANELLI: Uh huh.  You take whatever you want and at the end, we just tell them what we've had and they'll tell us how much it is.  They're very good at math.  So it's the honor system, and people are very honest.  Nobody cheats at pintxos. 

BURT WOLF: At night, the pintxos bars take on a different menu and a different character.  Groups of friends come together, forming a loose assembly of like-minded pintxos-lovers.  They know what they like to eat and they know where they like to eat it.  They have a pre-planned route and they move along it.  One team that I traveled with always starts at eight o'clock on Thursday nights at a specific bar.  They go there because they like the mushrooms.  After about thirty minutes, they move on to the next place.  If you miss the eight o'clock opening, you know where to catch up at eight thirty, and that would be true for the third or fourth spots as the night continues.

GABRIELLA RANELLI ON CAMERA: You've got to pace yourself.  That's why the wines are so small also.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Ah, that's right. Big glasses with a little bit of wine.

GABRIELLA RANELLI ON CAMERA: But you might have to go to twenty bars, and so if you were drinking an enormous tankard full of wine, you wouldn't make it passed four.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Also, one of the nice things about this is it gives a lot of room on the top for air, which means you get a better flavor from the wine.  Shall we?


BURT WOLF: The streets of San Sebastian's old city are packed with pintxos groups moving from bar to bar.

GABRIELLA RENELLI: This is where we're going, okay?  Now you can always tell the best pintxos bars because they've got the most people in them.

BURT WOLF: This place is jumping.



GABRIELLA RANELLI: You've got to elbow your way in here.  It's a time-honored tradition.  But this restaurant is very well known for its seafood.

BURT WOLF: What's this?

GABRIELLA RANELLI: It's baby eel.  It's come down from the mountains.  You have to eat them with a wooden fork.  And stir them around, give them a good stir.  The reason you use a wooden fork is also because if you used a metal fork,  the eels would slip right through it.  They come from the Sargasso Sea.  Nobody knows where.   They travel here, they get here when they're about three years old.

BURT WOLF: It looks like pasta.


BURT WOLF: If you didn't tell me they were baby ...

GABRIELLA RANELLI: It doesn't taste like pasta, let me tell you.

BURT WOLF: How much is that?

GABRIELLA RENELLI: Uh ... they cost about $500 a kilo.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: $500 for two and a quarter pounds?

GABRIELLA RANELLI ON CAMERA: That's the traditional food that they eat on the day of San Sebastian, the 20th of January.

BURT WOLF: I want to finish every eel this bowl.


BURT WOLF: At $250 a pound, this is serious stuff.

GABRIELLA RANELLI: It's delicious.  One of the things they have here ... one of the selections they have are goose barnacles.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Goose barnacles? Geese get barnacles?  I mean, they move around a lot but I didn’t know they got barnacles.  Goose barnacles.

GABRIELLA RANELLI ON CAMERA: It’s a specialty here that most people enjoy.  They’re big barnacles.  And we must have some wine because ...

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Wine is good.  Wine goes with goose barnacles.  Is there a particular wine that you drink with goose barnacles?

GABRIELLA RANELLI: Here are some goose barnacles.  They’re hot.  You’d better wait a minute.

BURT WOLF: I’m actually quite full.  I ... I just ... I don’t know if I have any room left for a goose barnacle.

GABRIELLA RENELLI ON CAMERA:  Have to wait on the goose barnacles.  (Laughs)

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Are you sure I have room for goose barnacles.  Yeah, I do.

GABRIELLA RANELLI ON CAMERA: I think that ... uh ... the best way to eat the goose barnacles instead of ... uh ... well warm.  I wouldn’t eat them this hot because they have a special sort of flavor.


GABRIELLA RANELLI ON CAMERA: But I think ... why don't you finish your eels?

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Oh, eels are fine.  The eels are okay. 

GABRIELLA RANELLI: We're gonna need these ... we're gonna need these actually because eating goose barnacles can be a little messy.

BURT WOLF: Oh yeah.

GABRIELLA RANELLI: So just keep one handy.  Okay.  I think that looks like a good one.

BURT WOLF: Oh, it looks like a wonderful goose barnacles.  Now what do I do?

GABRIELLA RANELLI: Okay, find a good spot like there, between the nail and the body and kind of pull it open.  No, you have to use your nail, get your nail in there and twist it open. 

BURT WOLF: I'm not gonna be able to do this.  I don't have to eat it.  No.  All right.          

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Obviously this is not one of my talents.

GABRIELLA RANELLI ON CAMERA: That was a defective barnacle.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: A defective barnacle.  Okay, so you've opened one for me.


BURT WOLF ON CMAERA: And I just kind of like, eat it?

GABRIELLA RANELLI: Just eat ... don't eat the nail.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Is that sauce?

GABRIELLA RANELLI ON CAMERA: No no no.  They're cooked in sea water for one minute.  I guess they got a barnacle juice off them or something. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Like a snail.

GABRIELLA RANELLI ON CAMERA: They're a great delicacy here. 

Not a first date kind of food.

BURT WOLF: You know, they're really very good. 


BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: All right, I can hang up and ship out.


BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Sorry I left ... I didn't finish all the goose barnacles.

Another traditional aspect of Basque gastronomy is the cider house.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: The Basques have been growing apples for thousands of years and making cider since medieval times.  At some point, a farmer decided to sell his excess capacity and thought it would be a good idea to let everybody have a taste just after the fermentation.  They brought alone something to eat and before you knew it, the tradition of cider tasting was part of gastronomy in the Basque region.  And cider houses developed all over the area. 

The cider houses became centers of social life.  During the cider tasting season, which runs from late January through March, the traditional cider houses open up and people stand around tasting cider. During the rest of the year, they're closed.  But here in San Sebastian there's a restaurant called Sideria Donostiarra, which is open all year round and has an atmosphere that is very much in keeping with the old farmhouse tasting rooms.  One big space, long wooden tables without tablecloths, an open kitchen, grilled food, vats of cider along the walls and patrons filling their glasses with the traditional cider catching technique. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: The process for making apple cider is basically the same process used for making wine, with ... uh ... apples sitting in for the grapes.  There's a natural yeast on the crushed apples that turns the sugar in the apples into carbon dioxide gas and alcohol.  The carbon dioxide gas makes the cider bubbly and the alcohol makes the cider. 

There was a standing menu in the cider house.  First, slices of cod omelet, and a green salad.  The main course is grilled steak.  The dessert, slices of local cheese, strips of quince jelly, and walnuts.  And of course, as much cider as you want.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA:  Another traditional aspect of Basque gastronomy, along with the cider houses, are the eating societies.  The first eating society opened in the old city of San Sebastian when a bunch of friends decided that they needed a place where they could eat or drink that was not controlled by the laws that controlled the opening and closing of the cider houses.  But the actual origin of the eating societies goes back to the Peninsula wars of the early 1800s. 

In 1813, as part of his attack on Napoleon's army, the Duke of Wellington ordered a siege of the city of San Sebastian.  When the English and Portuguese troops broke through the walls of the town, they raged through the streets, murdering both the French troops who had occupied the fort, and the local inhabitants.  Most of the city was burned to the ground. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: The Basque men who came together to rebuild their city, came from every social level and from every occupation.  They were faced with an enormously difficult task and they had to learn to cooperate and to treat each other as equals.  They did treat each other as equals during the work and in the communal meals that they would take together to discuss their situation and their plans for rebuilding.  And it was out of those communal meals that the Basque eating societies developed. 

Today there are over 200 eating societies in San Sebastian and hundreds more throughout the Basque provinces.  They're all male clubs where members gather together to talk, to play cards and to cook. Some clubs have twenty or thirty members.  Some have hundreds. 

But each is based in its own meeting hall, where all members still come together as equals.  The recipes that are prepared are traditionally Basque, learned by the cook from watching his mother.  But each cook has also tried to add his own personal touch to the dish.  He may only know how to cook two or three different dishes, but he is considered a master at each.  Some anthropologists believe that the eating societies also reflect an ancient division between the roles of men and women in Basque culture. 

Until very recently, women were at home.  The men were at sea.  Months, sometimes years, passed before the men returned.  These extended periods away from home and family are thought to have produced a preference for all male social contacts, a preference which is met during the time on land by the eating societies. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Now that theory is a little bit of a stretch for me, but as I talked to the guys who belong to these societies, they all express an appreciation for a place where they can come, feel at home, and yet not be expected to answer personal questions asked by the women in their family or to express their feelings.  You know, if women are from Venus and men are from Mars, then the Basque eating societies are a place where guys can come together, relax, talk about their old planet and spend a little time in outer space.  The preparation of traditional Basque dishes continues in the eating societies, in the homes and in the restaurants. 

But it is also being exported.  There is a large Basque community in the United States and some very good Basque restaurants.  Gerald Hirigoyen is a Basque chef who came to America and opened up two fine restaurants in San Francisco. 

One is called Fringale, the other is Pastis.  He's also written an excellent book on Basque cooking, with recipes adapted to the American kitchen.  The book is well thought-out and the recipes are easy to cook.  I stopped into Pastis to watch him prepare a few dishes from the book and to talk about cooking equipment.  We started with potato and white bean soup.  Originally, this was eaten for lunch as a mash of beans and potatoes.  Now it's served as a thick, smooth soup.  What do you look for when you pick up a knife?

GERALD HIRIGOYEN ON CAMERA: Well, when I pick up a knife, I think ... first of all, I think what's really important to me ... uh ... it has to be very sharp, because I think if you have a knife that's not sharp enough, you can really injure yourself.  I like a big knife.  I mean, I'm not gonna use a big knife for everything but I think a big knife can be pretty versatile and ... and you can do a lot of things with that. 

BURT WOLF: There's some research that indicates that people cut themselves more with dull knives than with sharp knives. 


BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Because they're afraid.  Whenever I go for a knife, I look for balance, which I can easily spot that way.  I like a full tang that goes all the way back through, so it gives me better balance in the handle, smooth rivets that don't stand up, and I like a bolster point that's very smooth here, so I can put my finger ...And the big ... for me, the bigger, the better. 

GERALD HIRIGOYEN ON CAMERA: Exactly, and you know what I love with the bigger knives is that I can crush my garlic with that, so it's really easy and that's how we do it.  So when you have a big knife like this, it allows you to do things like that.  And then we can mince it if you wanted to after that. 

BURT WOLF: The soup begins with olive oil being heated in the sauce pan, chopped onions and crushed garlic go in and are sautéed for five minutes.  Then dried white beans that have been soaking in water overnight, and potatoes, along with a sprig of rosemary.  Gerald porous in vegetable stock and the soup simmers for an hour. 

GERALD HIRIGOYEN: And also what I like about this soup too ... it's mostly vegetable and it has a great flavor to it.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: And very low in calories.


BURT WOLF: While the soup is cooking, olives are pureed in a blender.  When the soup is cooked, the rosemary is removed and the soup goes into the blender to be pureed. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: All right, a few thoughts on picking out a blender.  Bigger is usually better.  I'll always pick something that's four to six cups because when you're actually using it, you only fill it halfway, so the bigger it is, the fewer refills you have to go through.  I like a glass container because I want to see what's going on the inside.  I think it's very important that the content measurements be easily readable.  You want a top that's wide and fits on securely.  You want to be able to take out some portion of the center of the top so you can add ingredients when you're blending, but also to be able to open it up when you add warm ingredients, so steam doesn't build up.  That's a very important safety feature.  You want a good grip on the handle, you want it to fit securely on the blending base.  You want the base to be heavy enough so that it doesn't dance around when it's running.  You want at least two to five different speeds and it's nice to have the kind of blender ... what's it called?


BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Step start.  I always forget that.  You always want to have a step start so that it begins slowly and builds up to its speed.  I think that's what I want in a blender.

The soup is poured into bowls and the olive puree and some chives go on top. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: The next dish is a tureen of ham and cheese layered together.  Tureen is a dish, but it's also the name of what comes out of the dish, like casserole.  You want a heavy one. It can be porcelain or enamel over cast iron.  You want it to have a slight V-shape so whatever you're going to try and get out of it will release easily.  It should have grips or handles on the side. You're going to need a heavy top that will hold everything down inside, and you want it to have a little hole in here because if you're cooking, you want the steam to be coming out.

All right.  Let's make this dish.  Gerald starts with a three and a half inch deep tureen that is lined with plastic.  He alternates thinly sliced layers of ham and cheese until the tureen is full.  He's using Bayonne ham and sheep's milk cheese, which are two of the staples of the Basque region.  But the dish will work just as well with prosciutto and Monterey Jack.  About twenty layers of each go into the tureen, at which point it is refrigerated overnight. 

GERALD HIRIGOYEN ON CAMERA: So now we're going to unfold it and that's pretty easy.  We just want to pull on the side like this, and then it should come pretty easy.  And that's it.  So when it's really nice and cold, it's pretty ... it's a pretty easy job to do.  So as you see, we have all our layers right here.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Oh, that's nice.

GERALD HIRIGOYEN: It's nice and packed right here, so we have a beautiful tureen right here. 

BURT WOLF: It's cut into slices that are about a half inch thick, dusted with flour and sautéed in olive oil for a minute.  Gerald uses a non-stick pan, which is usually a good idea when you're sautéing something with cheese.  Then the slices are served on a frisée salad, with a little vinaigrette on top.  The main course was roasted chicken in the style of the Basques. 

GERALD HIRIGOYEN: So we're gonna put our shallots into the saucepan and then I'm gonna add two cups of wine and then we're gonna let it reduce, bring it to a boil and then reduce.  All the way down.  And then we're gonna add the butter. 

BURT WOLF: And the red wine and shallot mixture is blended together with some butter and refrigerated for a few hours.  Half that mixture is rubbed in between the body of the chicken and the skin, and then on the skin. 

GERALD HIRIGOYEN: Generously, of course. 

BURT WOLF: The remaining shallot, wine and butter mixture is used to coat dried bread cubes that are stuffed into the chicken.  It's a very easy stuffing.

GERALD HIRIGOYEN: Yes, exactly. You get enough flavor of the red wine, the shallots.

BURT WOLF: Then the chicken is roasted to an internal temperature of 185 degrees Fahrenheit.  And the best way to tell what the internal temperature is,

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA:  is to use an instant thermometer.  This is actually the most extraordinary one I've ever tested.  It's made by Thermapen.  It's digital.  It gives you a reading within five seconds.  Has a very long probe but very thin at the end here, so the hole that it makes is quite teeny and will close up quickly.  You won't lose any of the juices.  You could angle it any way you want.  It has a heat-proof grip and the read is enormous.  Even I, with my diminishing eyesight, can spot that.  And when you finish using it, you just close the probe and it turns off to save the batteries. 

Finally, the chicken is sliced and served with the stuffing.  For dessert, we have a gateau Basque cake and cherry soup, which is a very nice way to end a meal that started with a soup.

BURT WOLF: Well that's a brief look at the Basque country of northern Spain, the oldest culture in Europe, with the oldest local flavors, all male eating societies where the men cook for each other and celebrate their ancient camaraderie, cider houses celebrating the juice of the apple and the traditional foods of the area, and pintxos bars, just celebrating.  I hope you've enjoyed this visit and I hope you will join me next time on Local Flavors.  I'm Burt Wolf.

If you would like free copies of the recipes from this program, or hundreds of other recipes from Burt’s programs, to read his special reports from around the world and interviews with leading food authorities or to order a copy of The New Cooks’ Catalogue, a critical guide that tells you what to look for when purchasing cooking equipment and utensils, with over 1,000 color photographs and recipes, just visit Burt online at BURTWOLF.COM.

Local Flavors: Philadelphia - #106

BURT WOLF: Every town in the world has a local flavor, a flavor that comes from its signature dishes, from a group of preferred ingredients, or a type of restaurant that's popular.  It is a flavor that comes from appreciating a particular piece of equipment, or a cooking technique.  There are dozens of things that make up the local flavor.  But the most important influences are always the result of history, geography and economics.  During the Colonial period, Philadelphia was North America's most important commercial city.  It was the home of the American Revolution.  And the first capitol of the United States.  But it was also a center for great eating and drinking.  Famous for its bakers and pastry makers, ice creams, and restaurants.  And it still is.  It's the place where a visitor can trace and taste many of the major influences on the history of American eating and drinking.  So please join me, Burt Wolf for a taste of the local flavors of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

This is Philadelphia's Reading Terminal Market, and it's the place to eat your way through the gastronomic history of the city. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: The plantations that grew up around Philadelphia were based on the English manor system.  A central element was the bake and brew house that used yeast to produce beer and bread.  Wheat was the major cash crop of the colony and it was used to produce the money that the colony needed to trade with England.  But it also produced some great bakers.

BURT WOLF: Baking bread was the most important work.  But Philadelphia was a great trading port with access to an extensive range of spices.  The Mennonites in Germany and the Amish in Switzerland were attracted to Philadelphia because of its promise of religious freedom, but they were master bakers and skilled at the use of spices.  Cinnamon buns were one of their specialties.  The fame of the sweet baked goods of Eastern Pennsylvania is based on their recipes.  They also produced great fruit pies.  Three times each week ships sailed into Philadelphia with fresh produce from the Caribbean ... coconuts, bananas, pineapples, limes.  They were regularly available.  People expected the market to have a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Foods and spices came up from the Caribbean but so did settlers. Many of the members of the first African-American community in Philadelphia came up from the Caribbean and introduced West Indian recipes.  And it was the city's African-American cooks who, in the late 1700s, and early 1800s, helped organize the city's catering industry.  They introduced the first catering contracts and changed the way people entertained.  

BURT WOLF: Market stalls have been in this area since the late 1600s.  But the Reading Terminal Market came into existence in the 1890s when The Reading Railroad tried to have a group of market stalls demolished so it could build a new terminal. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Not a chance.  The farmers held together and the railroad had to build their station above the market.  As a matter of fact, the tracks are still up there.  For many years the market and the railroad worked as a team.  Someone in the suburbs would place an order, the market would pack it up, put it on the right train, the conductor would drop it off at the right station, and hold it until the customer came in and got it.  As we developed a national railroad system, the food manufacturers in Philadelphia learned how to distribute their products throughout the nation.

BURT WOLF: In the middle of the 1800s, Philadelphia headed off to a new place in the world of gastronomy.  For over 150 years, it had been a center of individual creativity.  Now it was becoming a center for industrial innovation.  The small store-front shops making small batches of ice cream by hand were still here.  But in 1848, Eber Seaman patented a machine for making ice cream on a large-scale basis.  It turned the luxury food into something that could be distributed to a mass market and made Philadelphia-style ice cream famous throughout the country. In 1858, John Mason invented the Mason jar and home canning took off.  The market is filled with products that could only exist as a result of Mason's innovation.  Philadelphia was also well known for its cheesecake.  A shop called the Cheesecake House was in operation during the 1730s.  Cream cheese is also a Philadelphia specialty.  It was made here during the 1700s from fresh cream that was thickened and pressed into little rectangular forms.  Cream cheese and other dairy products from Pennsylvania developed a national reputation for quality.  So highly valued were Philadelphia dairy foods, that some products that were never made in Philadelphia carried the Philadelphia name so people would think well of them.  Like Philadelphia Brand Cream Cheese that was made in New York State. Animal crackers were introduced here in the 1870s by the Wilson Biscuit & Cracker Bakery.  Philadelphia became America's focal point for the mass production of quality food products.  But it also continued to develop its own local specialties.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA:  The streets of Philadelphia, like the streets in many American cities, are filled with food vendors. Here in Philly the tradition got started with guys who were selling food at the centennial celebration of 1876.  They were known as hokey-pokey men and what they sold has changed over the years with changing food fashion.  Pepper-pot soup became Italian ices.  Breads were introduced with sausages.  They even sold anti-pasta!

WOMAN ON CAMERA:  Hi. Can I get two soft pretzels with mustard, please?

BURT WOLF: These days they're famous for soft pretzels served with mustard on top.  They've been sold in the streets of Philadelphia at least as far back as the 1820s. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: One of Philadelphia's most interesting gastronomic innovations took place in 1879.  Gilbert and Sullivan were giving their first Philadelphia performance of their new operetta "H.M.S. Pinafore."  To help celebrate the event, the bakers of the city introduced a bread in the shape of a boat which they called a "pinafore."  To join in that celebration the hokey-pokey men began serving their anti-pasti on that boat-shaped bread.

BURT WOLF: People called the sandwich a "hoagie" using a contracted form of hokey-pokey.  These days it's made from luncheon meats, lettuce, tomato, onions, cheese and mayonnaise and presented on long Italian bread.  And while you're tasting the specialties of Philadelphia, you should include a slice of scrapple.  It's a mixture of pork that has been cooked in broth and thickened with cornmeal and buckwheat flavor and served for breakfast along with eggs.  It was introduced to America by Pennsylvania Dutch farmers and based on the pot-puddings of Northern Germany.  You might also try some of the water ices that came to Philadelphia with immigrants from Southern Italy. And finally, the famous or infamous Philly cheese-steak.  Thin slices of chuck-eye steak are cooked on a grill.  You can choose from four kinds of cheese.

MAN ON CAMERA: We've got American Cheese Whiz ... provolone ... mozzarella and pepper-jack.  The most traditional is the Cheese Whiz.  If you ask for a cheese-steak, they kind of expect to get the Cheese Whiz on it.

BURT WOLF: Whichever you choose, it's melted on top and onto the roll, and finally a topping of grilled onions.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA:  The American Revolution introduced the new government and Philadelphia was its first capitol.  And the new government introduced hundreds of politicians with expense accounts to Philadelphia.  This became restaurant heaven.  But things got even better for the restaurants.  As the American Revolution ended, the French Revolution began.  There was an also an uprising in Haiti.  By the middle of the 1790s, hundreds of Frenchmen had come to Philadelphia looking for a stable place to live.  And being French, of course, many of them were bakers and chefs, and candy makers, and wine experts.  This became the gastronomic center of our nation.  A great place to eat.  And it still is.

BURT WOLF:  And the ethnic diversity that was part of Penn's original plan for the city can still be seen today in the city's restaurants. Susanna Foo is one of the masters of Asian cooking in America.  She's written an outstanding cookbook:  "Susanna Foo:  Chinese Cuisine."  The food in her restaurant reflects her attention to detail and her ability to blend Asian and French influences.  One of her signature dishes is a chicken with mango, asparagus and ginger.  I'll tell you how to get the recipes for that dish, and the other dishes in this series at the end of the program.  Brasserie Perrier is where George Perrier, the latest generation of French chefs to take up residence in Philadelphia, presents a less formal rendition of his classic French recipes.  The food is excellent and well presented.  Today's plate du jour is sautéed sea scallops on a bed of green beans, with a lemon grass sauce.  Dmitri's on Third Street is famous for its consistently fresh seafood.  The Mediterranean dishes, with a decidedly Greek influence, are prepared by Laotian chefs.  Sit at the counter and watch them at work.  We settled in for shrimp scampi. 

We also had a good meal at The Blue Angel.  It started life as a restaurant in the early years of the 20th Century and much of the original decor is still here.  At the beginning of the 21st Century it became The Blue Angel.  It feels like the comfortable neighborhood bistros you find in Paris.  My lunch was a Steak au Poivre.  For a coffee break, we stopped into La Colombe, which is a hip coffee shop in the true European tradition.  Excellent espresso, cappuccino, and American-style coffee, and that's it.  Whenever I'm in a coffee house, I am reminded that most of the planning for the American Revolution took place in coffee houses. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: After the revolution, many eating houses ended up with two kitchens.  One produced French-style foods for people like Thomas Jefferson, who loved everything that came out of France, as a result of his years as our Ambassador to Paris.  The other kitchen produced English-style foods for guys like John Adams, who didn't like anything that came out of France.  You could often tell the political leanings of an individual by looking at what was on their plate.  America had come to a fork in the road and we had chosen independence.

BURT WOLF: And speaking of forks, when you come to a fork in the road, on Market Street, eat there.  Fork is the name of a restaurant that was built into a former dry goods store that was erected in the 1880s.  High ceilings, cast-iron columns and beautiful hand-painted lampshades.  Anne-Marie Lasher does the cooking.  Today she started with corn and roasted pepper soup.  Next was pan-seared chicken, with a creamy Vidalia onion sauce, and chive mash potatoes.  For dessert, we had rhubarb gingerbread cake with fresh strawberries and vanilla ice cream.

The recipe we're going to work through is for the main course.  And we're starting with the mashed potatoes.  Butter and milk are heated in a large saucepan.  In go the potatoes that were cooked in boiling water. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Anne-Marie is using a whisk to mash the potatoes, which is fine.  But you could also use a potato ricer like this.  It is basically a cup wit lots of holes in the bottom.  You take the potatoes that have been cooked, you put them into the ricer, and you press down the plunger, and the potatoes rice out the bottom.

It doesn't make any difference whether you use a whisk or a potato ricer, but what you don't want to use is a food processor.  When a potato is boiled, the starch molecules in the potato get bigger.  The more times you cut those molecules, the more starch comes out.  And starch is basically glue.  So if you have wallpaper to put up, then the food processor system is wonderful.  But if you're actually planning on eating the potatoes, then you're going to use a ricer or a whisk. Back to the pot.

BURT WOLF: The chives go in, followed by some salt and pepper, and the potatoes are ready.  Next we prepare the creamy Vidalia onion sauce.  Diced Vidalia, or other sweet onions, are sautéed in butter for 30 minutes until they're a golden brown.  A little flour is stirred in.  Five more minutes of cooking and stirring. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: We're cooking out the flavor of the flour.  Try and say that ten times fast.


BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: No. You just have to cook. 

BURT WOLF: Chicken stock goes in.  More cooking. 

ANNE-MARIE LASHER ON CAMERA: I'm going to trade my spoon for a whisk so I make sure there's no lumps in the flour, in the sauce.  And it's starting to get thick at this


BURT WOLF: Some half-and-half.  A little more cooking ... at which point the onion sauce is seasoned with sage, salt and pepper. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: You know, George Washington ate here.  Is that true?


BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Did he sleep here?

ANNE-MARIE LASHER ONCAMERA: I think that was down the street.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: He slept down the street but if the restaurant was open, he would have eaten here.  We'll put it over here on the side and we will go to the chicken.

BURT WOLF: The chicken is very easy.  A little butter and oil go into a skillet.  As soon as they're hot, in go chicken parts that have been salted and peppered.  Skin side down. Five minutes of cooking on each side.  



BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: We're laughing because I just gave those tongs to Anne-Marie.  I've been testing them in my home kitchen for a couple of months and wanted to see how they worked out with a professional chef in the restaurant.  They came up as best of class.  They're 12-inches long, which is a good size for the kitchen, but they're also long enough to use outside on a barbecue grill.  They're stainless steel so they won't interact with any of the food.  They have a nice rubber surface here, which makes it comfortable to hold.  And gives it sort of a non-slip grip.  They opened up to 12-inches which was the widest of any of the really good ones we've tested.  And give it a tight grip there.  It has a lock on the end so you can close it for easier storage. 

BURT WOLF: Then into a 450-degree oven for ten minutes.  When the chicken comes out, we're ready to plate.  The potatoes go on first.  Then the chicken, a few green beans, and finally, the Vidalia onion sauce.  During the 1800s and early 1900s, many great restaurants were in hotels.  But that changed and by the 1950s, good hotel restaurants had disappeared.  Fortunately, that trend is being reversed, especially in The Four Seasons group.  Here in Philadelphia, The Four Seasons Fountain Restaurant is considered to be one of the finest restaurants in the city.  Today the executive chef, Jean Marie La Croix is going to make a few jumbo lump crab cakes.  The mixing bowl is set into ice to keep its contents cool.  And in goes in a pound of clean jumbo lump crabmeat, some mayonnaise, a little salt and pepper, a hint of sesame oil, and some chopped chives.  All that is mixed together and formed into six-ounce patties. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Some of the best mixing bowls are made by a company in Germany called Rösle.  They're made of 1810 stainless steel, which is a very high grade.  They're deep.  They have a flat bottom so they sit in a stable way on your work surface.  They have a rolled edge up here, which makes it easier to grip, and helps prevent dripping.  They're excellent for mixing liquids.

BURT WOLF:  Next a little olive oil is heated in a sauté pan.  The crab cakes go in, and sauté on each side for a minute.  Then into a 350-degree oven for five minutes of baking.  When it's time to serve, a slice of tomato goes on to the center of a plate.  Some balsamic vinegar dressing goes on, and the crab cake.  A squeeze of lemon juice, a few baby greens, and a little warm vinaigrette dressing. For dessert, we headed off to the pastry kitchen.  It reminded me that for hundreds of years pastry making was considered part of art and architecture, not cooking.  Chef Eddie Hales presented a white chocolate lemon custard, an intense bitter chocolate tart, and a peach blueberry crumble with strawberry ice cream.  In terms of history, Philadelphia is the most important city in the United States.  And for most of its history, it has worked to preserve its important structures.  One unusual aspect of its desire to hold on to the old buildings is a series of restaurants that have been built into old banks.  It appears that once a structure develops the ability to attract cash, it continues to do so even when the business inside changes.  This is The Striped Bass Restaurant.  Built into a huge room, in a brokerage house that was originally constructed in 1927.  The marble columns, palm trees, and muslin-draped windows make an elegant setting for the 16-foot, forged steel sculpture of its signature dish. 

Terence Feury, the executive chef, came to Striped Bass from Le Bernardin which is considered to be one of the finest fish restaurants in New York.  He has a simple style that starts with the best seasonal ingredients, and let's them stand as the stars of the recipe.  Today, the first course was a goat-cheese gratin with garlic crustini.  The entree was a wild stripped bass with zucchini charlotte and a shrimp reduction. Dessert was a semolina custard.  The recipe we cooked through was for ... surprise! ... the striped bass.  Terence started by making a sauce.  A little olive oil goes into a large saucepan.  As soon as it's hot, in goes a pound of shrimp.  They sauté for about two minutes, at which point, Terence adds some sliced shallots, garlic, a touch of salt, star anise, bay leaves, saffron, and cayenne pepper. That cooks for a few minutes.  Then some tomato paste is added.  Next a hit of brandy.  A few more minutes of cooking.  A little water.  Ten more minutes of simmering.  The bay leaves and star anise come out and it's time for the immersion blender.  (Whistles "Twilight Zone" theme here.)

Consider this: 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: First thing you have to do when you are picking out an immersion blender is decide whether you are going to get a model with a cord, or a cordless model.  The cordless model offers you the most flexibility in terms of movement.  You can move it anywhere.  The fact that it doesn't have a cord means there's no cord to drag over an ingredient and spill it, or to drop into a hot pot. The problem with it is you're going to have to charge it between uses, and it may not give you all the power of a model with a cord.  The model with the cord has the problem of the cord dragging over things, but it will always be ready to use and most of the time it will give you more power. 

BURT WOLF: An immersion blender is a hand-held wand with an electric motor at the top, and rotating blade at the bottom.  With its attachments, it will do almost everything that a countertop blender will do, plus you get to choose the container.  With either model, it's good to have a detachable shaft so it can go into the dishwater.  They also make storage easier.  It's nice to have a container with a tapered base for emulsifying sauces and dressings.  And a whip for aerating cream or egg whites.  And a mini-chopper for mincing leafy herbs. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: One of the blenders that tested out quite well was the Cuisinart cordless rechargeable hand blender.  It was strong enough to puree soups as well as the blenders with cords and was very easy to clean.  But bare in mind, if you're going to crush ice, or do some of the really tough jobs, you're going to need a countertop blender.  Nevertheless, most home cooks and professional chefs find an immersion blender very helpful. 

BURT WOLF: The fish is very easy.  Filet of striped bass gets a little salt and pepper, a little Canola oil gets heated in a sauté pan.  The bass filet goes in skin side down, and browns for a few minutes. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Terence was holding the fish down with what we call a fish spatula.  Very thin, very flexible, lots of open space there.  His had a wooden handle.  My personal preference is for one that is made completely out of one piece of stainless steel.  So I don't have to worry about the handle working loose, and I can drop the whole thing into the dishwasher.  This one is made by Global and it has a series of dots in there that are recessed and give it kind of a non-slip grip.  I am going to give this to Terence at the end of the recipe in exchange for the fish. 

BURT WOLF: The ingredients for the sauce are processed into a coarse puree and passed through a strainer.  The sauce goes back on the range, comes to a boil, and is finished off with a little butter.  As soon as this skin is crisp, the filet goes into a 450-degree oven for five minutes.  When it comes out, we're ready to plate. A selection of sautéed vegetables go on, the fish, the sauce, some fresh thyme, and a few rounds of toasted brioche bread. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Well, that's a quick taste of Philadelphia. 

I hope you've enjoyed it.  And I hope you will join us next time on Local Flavors.  I'm Burt Wolf. 

If you would like free copies of the recipes from this program, or hundreds of other recipes from Burt’s programs, to read his special reports from around the world and interviews with leading food authorities or to order a copy of The New Cooks’ Catalogue, a critical guide that tells you what to look for when purchasing cooking equipment and utensils, with over 1,000 color photographs and recipes, just visit Burt online at BURTWOLF.COM.

Local Flavors: Ottawa, Canada - #105

BURT WOLF: Every town in the world has a local flavor, a flavor that comes from its signature dishes, from a group of preferred ingredients or a type of restaurant that is popular.  It's a flavor that comes from appreciating a particular piece of equipment or a cooking technique. There are dozens of things that make up a local flavor.  But the most important influences are always the result of history, geography and economics. This is Ottawa, the capital city of Canada.  It's the town to tour of the oldest farmer’s market in the nation.  To taste the beaver tail and find out why it's Ottawa's favorite snack.  To learn why people picnic, and have one of our own, and cook some great tasting food.  So please join me, Burt Wolf, for a taste of the local flavors of Ottawa, Canada. The city of Ottawa sits on the banks of the Ottawa River, between the provinces of Ontario and Quebec.  The first Europeans into the area were fur traders who arrived in the 1600s.  They traveled in and out of the territory on the Ottawa River and much of their trading took place at the junction between the Ottawa, Gatineau, and Rideau Rivers, the spot where the city now stands.

Ottawa is actually a native word meaning "the trading place."

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: The first settlers showed up in the early 1800s and quickly realized that the high acid content of the soil made it a difficult place to farm.  So they turned to the forests and quickly logged onto the lumber business.  But transporting those logs was where the real money was at.

BURT WOLF: As the raftsmen floated their logs downriver to Montreal, they encountered Ottawa's Chaudiere Falls.  They had to take their rafts apart and then re-assemble them at the bottom of the falls, which gave them an opportunity to stock up on supplies.  And the suppliers of the supplies were the shopkeepers of Ottawa.  During the 1850s, the falls were put to use as the source of power for a series of mills.  At about the same time, Queen Victoria chose Ottawa for Canada's capital, which brought in politicians, lobbyists, businessmen, and the representatives of foreign governments.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Traders on the river, a little farming, a little logging, a little milling, and lots of ministries.  Add to that the immigrants that arrived during the 20th century and you've got the major forces influencing the local flavors of Ottawa.

BURT WOLF: A good spot to start looking at what's cooking in Ottawa is the historic By Ward Market.  Opened in 1846, this is Canada's oldest continuously operated farmer's market, with cobblestone courtyards, historic buildings, and the feeling of a traditional marketplace. In recent years, however, it has become a bustling center for boutique shopping, restaurants, and entertainment.  The By Ward Market building was the original structure where farmers and loggers did business and socialized back in the 1800s.  It's been restored and now houses specialty shops, delis, cafes, and artisans. David McGillivray is the executive chef at the Chateau Laurier and often shops the market for fresh produce.  He does his shopping at 8 a.m., which I consider a reasonable hour, so I tagged along.  We're putting together the ingredients for a picnic menu that we'll cook when we get back from the market. But first, coffee and a croissant at the French baker. Jerome Mantel was working for a real estate developer in Paris when he realized that his true love was baking, not building.  So he enrolled and then graduated from the finest baking school in Paris and he immigrated to Ottawa and opened a French bakery.  His pastry is excellent.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: I'm drinking a macchiato.  A macchiato is an espresso with a little bit of warm milk and no foam, as opposed to a cappuccino, which is an espresso with a lot of warm milk and a lot of foam, they were developed by Italian truck drivers who wanted to have a little warm milk in their coffee in the morning but didn't want to pay for it.  So they would order an espresso, and as it was coming they'd say "can I have a little bit of warm milk in there?" I really shouldn't tell this story in a French bakery.  But originally croissants were not French.  In 1680 there was a siege of the city of Vienna by the Turks.  The city was completely surrounded. Nobody could get in or out.  Very early one morning a baker was working in his shop, which was right over the city walls, and he heard something going on under his bakery.  He called the guards.  The Turks were trying to tunnel through. The guards went down, attacked the Turks in the tunnel, and then used the tunnel to counter-attack the main body of the Turkish forces and broke the siege.  And the king of Vienna said to the baker, "I will reward you by giving you the exclusive right to bake a bread in the shape of the crescent on the Turkish flag to show the people of Vienna that every morning we can devour the Turks."

BURT WOLF: After we got out of our breakfast we headed into the market to pick out the foods for our picnic.

DAVID McGILLIVRAY ON CAMERA: The strawberries are beautiful. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: I was reading the other day that they've been picked by people since neolithic times.  But they were teeny little things that you had to eat right where you found them because they were so delicate you couldn't carry them.  And during the Middle Ages they were thought of as a medicine.  That's kind of interesting to me, because now scientists are telling us they're high vitamin C and potassium and fiber and that they may be cancer blockers.

DAVID McGILLIVRAY ON CAMERA: This is what we're looking for.


DAVID McGILLIVRAY ON CAMERA: Home-grown tomatoes.  When I buy tomatoes, the one thing I check for is the smell.  I like to smell the plants. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: It smells like a tomato.


BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: It's a tomato.



DAVID McGILLIVRAY ON CAMERA: So we are going to need some tomatoes for our picnic.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Look at this cauliflower.  Are they beautiful?

DAVID McGILLIVRAY ON CAMERA: Beautiful, for sure.  Snow white.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Somebody once said that cauliflower was a cabbage with a college education.

DAVID McGILLIVRAY ON CAMERA: I would agree with that.  I would definitely agree with that.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Because a cabbage puts all of its energy into the leaves


BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: And here you put all the energy into the flower.


BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: And speaking of cabbage we have to get some because we're going to make coleslaw.

DAVID McGILLIVRAY ON CAMERA: That's right. We'll need to get some.





WOMAN ON CAMERA: Fine. Yourself?

DAVID McGILLIVRAY ON CAMERA: Good.  Could I get a head of fresh cabbage, please.

WOMAN ON CAMERA: Yes.  How many?  One?

DAVID McGILLIVRAY ON CAMERA: Just one is fine. Thank you.

WOMAN ON CAMERA: Which one you want?

DAVID McGILLIVRAY ON CAMERA: I would like ... this one looks pretty good. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Now, what did you see that you liked about that?

DAVID McGILLIVRAY ON CAMERA: I didn't see any holes in the leaves.

WOMAN ON CAMERA: Fine.  Thank you. Have a good day, sir.



DAVID McGILLIVRAY ON CAMERA: Look at the beautiful zucchini, too. You know, in the market, a lot of the vendors sell maple syrup.

DAVID McGILLIVRAY: And the reason for that is the Northeast and North America is the only place on the globe where you can produce maple syrup.

BURT WOLF: And I gather it's not just because of the trees, because you can find maple trees other places.  It's that balance of temperature where you have very hot days and very cold nights,

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: and that makes the sap run in sufficient quantities. It's actually just the opposite with me.  

BURT WOLF: Ah, yes, the Beaver Tail. A local variation on an ancient dish that has become a signature food in Ottawa. Pastry dough stretched out, deep fried in soy oil, and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar.  It is similar to the classic deep fried French pastry called the beignet or a galette,  which is a similar dough that was pan fried by Canadian trappers during the 1700s. 


So how did these get started?

DAVID McGILLIVRAY ON CAMERA: Well, it’s an old family recipe, actually, the Hooker family.  Grant Hooker's grandmother from Germany immigrated and brought the reci ... emigrated from Germany and brought the recipe with her.  And then in 1980 they opened their first booth, and that's the original booth right there.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: I read that they had franchised them  into 100 places all over the world.

DAVID McGILLIVRAY ON CAMERA: Apparently so. They're very, very popular.  

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: It's like a donut that a truck ran over.

DAVID McGILLIVRAY ON CAMERA: Sort of, yeah.  A very good donut. They're extremely popular, especially in the wintertime on the Rideau Canal with all the ice skaters. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Canal freezes over.

DAVID McGILLIVRAY ON CAMERA: Exactly.  That's what they ...

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: You come and you have a hot beaver tail.


BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Not a very attractive name, but it's quite a tasty dish.

MAN ON CAMERA: Uh-huh.  It's an Ottawa institution.

BURT WOLF: Properly stocked, we headed back to the Chateau Laurier kitchen to start cooking for the picnic.  David has already prepared an herb roasted chicken, and I'll tell you how to get the written recipe for it and all the other dishes in this series at the end of the program.  Next, quick bread cranberry muffins. Until late 1800s breads were raised with yeast, air trapped in well-beaten eggs, or baking soda.  Then in 1892 a German pharmacist named August Oetker introduced the first successful version of baking powder.  It was foolproof while the other rising agents weren’t.  And it was quick. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Breads that were made with baking powder became known as quick breads.  And when it comes to muffins, that is certainly the operative word. The ingredients are mixed together quickly and lightly for maximum tenderness, and then baked off in small cups where they bake much faster than they would if they were in a large pan.

BURT WOLF: David is using a Silverstone 12-cup muffin tin which we tested for “The New Cooks’ Catalogue”.  It's non-stick, its seamless cups are bonded securely to the frame, each one is almost three inches across, and holds about four ounces ... just right for regular-size muffins. David is also making minted coleslaw.  The word coleslaw comes from the Dutch word "koolsla," "kool" meaning cabbage and "sla" meaning salad.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA:  It shows up in North American cooking as early as 1790.  Cabbage was very popular with the settlers because it stayed fresh and crisp well into the winter, long after other vegetables had been lost to frost. 

BURT WOLF: Cabbage and carrots are cut in a food  processor, which can be used to slice vegetables, grate cheese, make mayonnaise, and chop parsley in a fraction of the time it takes to do these jobs by hand. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Full-sized food processors start with a nine-cup capacity, but I think you will find the 11 to 14-cup capacity a lot more versatile. Food processors are classed according to the amount of dry ingredients that the work bowl will hold.  But the amount of liquid ingredients it will hold is half of the dry ingredient.  That's because if you add liquids above the edge here of the blade housing it's quite possible for the liquid to drip out while the processor is running.

BURT WOLF: All food processors come equipped with a clear plastic bowl that locks onto the base, which houses the motor.  The most effective and powerful machines have a work bowl and blade that sit directly on top of the motor rather than to one side.  They also have a lid with a feed tube for adding ingredients to the work bowl while the machine is running, an S-shaped blade for chopping, and an assortment of disks for slicing and shredding.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: A food processor will chop an onion or make a pastry dough, but it will not puree a soup into the smooth and silky texture that a blender will, and it's really not good for mashed potatoes.  Mashed potatoes should be processed in a potato ricer. 

BURT WOLF: The cabbage and the carrots are combined with raisons, mint and parsley.  Vinegar, oil, salt and pepper are blended and then mixed with the cabbage.  All that rests together for an hour and it's ready to join the chicken and the muffins on the picnic.

When it comes to unstructured meals, the preparation and presentation of a picnic is one of our most unstructured.  Like most of our gatherings and celebrations, picnics illustrate our desire to bring together the opposites in our lives. We like the idea of quitting our structured, civilized environment and traveling into the wilderness.  A picnic allows us to feel free and adventurous, while at the same time maintaining a nice safe structure in which we feel secure.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Ah, this is a huge tract of land with a grassy knoll.  What do you think about this grassy knoll here? Okay. 

BURT WOLF: Picking a proper place for a picnic has a lot to do with cultural heritage.  The English, for instance, were heavily influenced by the romantic and Victorian poets, so they always wanted a place with a magnificent view.  They wanted to be close to nature. We love the idea of being one with nature.  But the moment we get out there, the first thing we do is try to separate ourselves from it. We mark off our territory with a picnic cloth. We even hold down the edges with something that will act as a boundary stone. Then we take advantage of the gastronomic gifts of the countryside by covering the cloth with foods we cooked at home. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: You know, what we're really doing is we're trading the discomfort of our formal enclosed dining rooms and restaurants for prickly grass, sharp stones, biting insects, and undependable weather.  There's a lot to be said for the old saying "a change of aggravation is like a holiday."

BURT WOLF: At the other end of the spectrum would be a dinner party at an embassy.  And since Ottawa is the capital of Canada and all the foreign embassies are right here, I thought I'd see if I could get someone to throw a party for me so I could show you the other half of the story.  My in to the embassy life in Ottawa was Margaret Dickenson, whose husband Larry has been in the Canadian Government for over three decades, and was an ambassador for eight years. Most important, however, Margaret is the author of “From The Ambassador's Table”, a book that is a blueprint for entertaining.  The party is going to be given at the residence of the Mexican ambassador to Canada, and Margaret is preparing a few specialties from her book to add to the menu. 

MARGARET DICKENSON ON CAMERA: Well, we're going to make chocolate apricot oysters.  You open them up and you simply add a little bit of marzipan to it.


MARGARET DICKENSON ON CAMERA: And  half of a half of  walnut.  And you close the oyster and then you have your apricot oyster.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: I heard somewhere the word  chocolate.


MARGARET DICKENSON ON CAMERA: Chocolate is coming.  So what I like to do is I like to make a number of them.


MARGARET DICKENSON ON CAMERA: Chill them in the refrigerator.


MARGARET DICKENSON ON CAMERA: Oh, it doesn't matter ... half an hour.


MARGARET DICKENSON ON CAMERA: Just so that the apricots and the marzipan and the walnuts settle together. 


MARGARET DICKENSON ON CAMERA: And then I dip them.  So you just pick up the apricot by its nose, and you simply bathe the back of the apricot, the underside, and the topside, and you place it onto a sheet of wax paper. And you give it a little shake so that the chocolate's distributed.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: I like that little step.


BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: I could do that.


BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Oyster's on the apricot shell.  My favorite.  Mmmm.

WOMAN ON CAMERA: And we're making pancake sachets with smoked salmon.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Okay, let's make 'em.

MARGARET DICKENSON ON CAMERA: So I'm going to take some pancakes that I've prepared this morning.


MARGARET DICKENSON ON CAMERA: And I'm just going to add about three quarters of a teaspoon of sour cream to the center of these crepes.


MARGARET DICKENSON ON CAMERA: And a little bit of horseradish mayonnaise, and that's nothing more than one tablespoon of horseradish relish and a cup of mayonnaise.  And I'm going to add about half a teaspoon.  And then some smoked salmon.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Any particular kind of smoked salmon you like?

MARGARET DICKENSON ON CAMERA: Oh, Canadian smoked salmon, of course.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Sorry I asked.  Okay. 

MARGARET DICKENSON ON CAMERA: Yes, indeed.  And then we're going to tie them into little sachet.  So to do this I just pick up the circumference of the crepe and I make vertical pleats like that.  You see how the crepes are actually standing up?  The trick is to keep it all at the same level.  And I'm ... I'm holding it now with my left hand and all the contents are in this ball.  Taking a chive stem, just place it between your little finger and the next finger and just catch it there. Wrap it around the sachet, just above the contents, and simply knot the chive. Trim off the little tails.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: That's it.  That's wonderful.  Yeah.

MARGARET DICKENSON ON CAMERA: Isn't that nice? And we can just add it to our little box of pancake sachets.


MARGARET DICKENSON ON CAMERA: Strawberries on basil carpets.


MARGARET DICKENSON ON CAMERA: Doesn't that sound exotic?

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Yep.  Let's go.

MARGARET DICKENSON ON CAMERA: Okay.  So I take the strawberries and I cut them in half and I bathe them for about five minutes in this sugar-vinegar syrup.  Now, you can see that that's going to be used as my glue.  Because when I add the basil leaves, they go on like that, and they won’t worry about slipping off the spoons.  And then we add another touch of almond cream cheese and just plant a piece of a toasted almond into the sour cream to hold into position. And finally we take our strawberries and you add them to the spoons, planting them down securely.  And you have strawberries on basil carpets.

BURT WOLF: The dinner party is being given by his excellency, Ezequiel Padilla, ambassador of Mexico to Canada, and his wife Carmen.  Their chef is Raul Guerrero, and he's going to give me a lesson in tortilla making.  The tortilla is the ancient bread of Mexico, and the fresher they are the better.  As you might expect, the kitchen at the residence prepares them for almost every meal. The dough is made by mixing together masa herina flour and water, and then rolling that mixture into walnut-sized balls.  The essential piece of equipment is a simple heavy-duty tortilla press like this one.  It consists of two rounds of flat-cast aluminum plates with a hinge at one end and a long handle at the other.  Most presses operate on a simple mechanism.  When pressure is exerted on the handle, the two flat plates of the press force the dough into a flat disk.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Building up those muscles.

BURT WOLF: Raul is also preparing a classic salsa, and he believes that the best texture can only be obtained with the use of a lava stone, mortar and pestle.  The traditional Mexican mortar and pestle looks like a pre-Colombian artifact.  Made of porous, rough textured dark gray volcanic stone, these tools are still preferred by serious Mexican cooks for blending and grinding together sauce ingredients, ingredients that would lose much of their texture if they were pureed in a blender.  If you enjoy cooking Mexican recipes at home, you will love these tools. 


BURT WOLF: A party like this is about structure and position.  The first hour is set aside for cocktails and introductions.  The hostess introduces the guests. This is the first moment where your place in the structure is indicated. Introductions take place with the lower rank being introduced to the upper rank, as in "your majesty, I would like you to meet Burt Wolf," as opposed to "Hey, Burt, meet the king." When the cocktail hour is over we are ushered towards the dining room. The butler stands at the entrance with a chart that tells each person where they are seated.  They go directly to their place.  The place cards confirm that you are where you should be.  But how did this get to be your proper place? Well, that decision was made by the host and the hostess according to a set of rules.  The highest ranking female sits to the right of the male host.  The highest ranking male sits to the right of the  female host. And that process continues. Boy, girl, right rank until the table is completed.  The side of the seating card that faces the table also has your name just in case anyone forgets who you are.  The flatware is placed according to use.  The implements you need first are on the outside and you eat your way in.  Except for the spoon and fork at the top of your place, which will be used at dessert.  Bread plate to your left, wine glasses to your right. The candles are here to add a soft light to the table, but they are also here to remind people that life the candles burns brightly but only for a limited time, and then it's snuffed out. We should enjoy being together while we can. The first course was a mousse made from a fungus that grows on corn.  Now, that doesn't sound so good, but it tasted great.  And it was helpful to keep in mind that mushrooms and truffles are basically in the same category as this fungus. The second course was a zucchini flower soup. The salsa was on the table and fresh tortillas were passed.  The main course was salmon with cilantro sauce, asparagus and wild rice.  Dessert was fruit pastry blossoms with fresh mango.  Along with the dessert came a music course.

Well, that's a small taste of Ottawa's local flavors.  I hope you have enjoyed it, and I hope you will join me next time.  I'm Burt Wolf.    

If you would like free copies of the recipes from this program, or hundreds of other recipes from Burt’s programs, to read his special reports from around the world and interviews with leading food authorities or to order a copy of The New Cooks’ Catalogue, a critical guide that tells you what to look for when purchasing cooking equipment and utensils, with over 1,000 color photographs and recipes, just visit Burt online at BURTWOLF.COM.

Local Flavors: Springfield, Illinois - #104

BURT WOLF: Every town in the world has a local flavor ... a flavor that comes from its signature dishes, from a group of preferred ingredients ... a type of restaurant that is popular.  It is a flavor that comes from appreciating a particular piece of equipment, or a cooking technique.  There are dozens of things that make up the local flavor.  But the most important influences are always the result of history, geography, and economics.

Springfield has been the capitol of Illinois for over a 150 years, and during that time it has been influenced by every major food trend that has swept over our country.  As the first of our nation's great highways passed through town, Springfield responded with some of our earliest roadside restaurants. 

Restaurants that changed the way our nation eats.  But Springfield is also the home of Abraham Lincoln and from the moment of his passing in 1865, it has been a center for tourism, determined to preserve the memory of our 16th President.  It's an interesting city and worth a visit.  So please join me, Burt Wolf, for a taste of the local flavors of Springfield, Illinois.

During the 1920s, Henry Ford began producing automobiles that many people could afford.  No longer a luxury for the rich, tens of thousands of people started driving cars.  But there was one major problem. 

We didn't have a road system designed for them to drive on.  America was covered with dirt roads that were originally developed to transport agricultural products to market.  We also had some old roads that had been used by stagecoaches to connect one town to another. 

And that was pretty much it.  Both federal and state governments quickly recognized the need for a national highway system.  And in 1926 began building the great mother road.  The ribbon of concrete that ran from the shores of Lake Michigan in Chicago down to the banks of the Mississippi at St. Louis, and then west to the beaches of the Pacific Ocean in Los Angeles.  It became a symbol of America's progress.  And so powerful was its attraction, that hit songs invited us to get our kicks on "Route 66."

Route 66 was the first major element in the national road system built for the automobile.  And for almost 50 years, it was the main street of America.  It changed the way we traveled but it also changed the way we ate. 

As Route 66 headed out of Chicago, on its way to St. Louis, it passed through Springfield.  Springfield became the state capitol of Illinois in 1837.  And visiting legislators and lobbyists required eating places.  It was also Abraham Lincoln's hometown, and tourists began arriving from all over the world.  And they expected suitable eateries during their visit.  Springfield is home to an important university, and a major medical center.  Tourists and local residents make varied demands on Springfield's restaurants and that has made it an ideal community to study how American eating habits changed during the 20th Century.  And that is precisely what John Jakle and Keith Sculle have done in their book called "Fast Food."

KEITH SCULLE ON CAMERA: Well, in the 1890s, Springfield was a really hoppin' place.  People were coming to town to do business with the county courthouse, but especially to do business with the state capitol located just a few blocks away.  So in between those two nodes, you had a very vibrant economy for restaurants to thrive.  But it was also a very lively street trade: vendors for example, with push carts and so forth. There was a fellow by the name of Ed Crastos who is the most memorable. At least he’s the one that’s come down in the literature who was the guy that sold chili on little tin pans.

BURT WOLF: Springfield has had a long love affair with chili.  During the 1960s Springfield was a hotbed of chili activity with three chili canneries producing over four million cans of chili each year.  The state government passed a resolution proclaiming Illinois as the "chili capitol of the civilized world," and recognized the spelling of chili with two L's.  Today Springfield is peppered with chili parlors, one of the most famous and respected is Joe Rogers, operated under the direction of the founders' daughter Marianne.

SERVER ON CAMERA: Medium hot!  Hold the beans. 

MARIANNE ROGERS ON CAMERA: My Mom and Dad, Joe and Pauline Rogers, started a little cafe ... a little diner, and they had plate luncheons and my Mom made all of the desserts and everything.  Within six months people just started ordering the chili.  Then it evolved right into the chili parlor, and the rest they say is history.

KEITH SCULLE ON CAMERA: People who ate out, at the beginning of the century weren't seen in the best light. They were people that lived downtown on a regular basis. They might have lived in boarding houses, but they might have been about in the communities’ life downtown on the streets and so forth. There were associations apart from family life that those people had. As travel became far more common, people had to, of necessity, eat out. Well, roadside restaurants changed the way the country thought about food, and about the way they actually practiced eating. Very influential. 

MAN IN CAR ON CAMERA: Can I get a special with a root beer and cheese?

WOMAN ON CAMERA: I need a cheese special with a root beer. 

BURT WOLF: The Maid-Rite Sandwich Shop is considered to be one of the earliest restaurants to have a drive-up window.  This is the ancient forerunner of McDonald's, Taco Bell, and Kentucky Fried Chicken.


WOMAN IN CAR ON CAMERA: Hi.  Two maid-rites and a root beer.

WOMAN ON CAMERA: I need two maids and a beer!


WOMAN ON CAMERA: Two maids. Here you go. Have a great day.



BURT WOLF: It opened in 1924 and still serves it signature dish.  A mixture of crumbled steam ground beef, onions, mustard, and pickled relish on a steamed bun with a side of French fries, and homemade root beer in a frosted mug.  And because of modern freezer technology and Federal Express, Maid-Rite ships containers of the cooked meat and buns to Made Right devotees throughout the United States.  Root beer goes back to 1869 when a Philadelphia pharmacist by the name of Charles Hyers put together a blend of sugar, water, spices, and tree barks.  It produced a mildly alcoholic, naturally effervescent drink. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Traditional root beer usually contained birch bark, dandelion root, molasses and wintergreen oil. But the distinctive flavor that we associate with root beer comes from the addition of sassafras root which used to grow wild all over the eastern part of the United States.

BURT WOLF: The Federal Food and Drug Administration found that sassafras contained a carcinogen.  So today's root beer is artificially flavored.  But even with artificial flavoring, each year Americans consume over 200 million cases of commercially produced root beer.  In addition, there are thousands of people who make their own root beer at home.  Ah, but is it made right? 

KEITH SCULLE ON CAMERA: By the 1930s, things had changed to some degree.  The professional people in the community still found it desirable to eat at home for the most part.  They had no need to eat out and on the road.  Now, however, people who were traveling and by then in automobiles, and that meant more and more people traveling, found it convenient, in fact, necessary to eat on the road.  And restaurants began to change their pitch a little bit.  They began to have a little pizzazz in their decor.  Some of the food began to change its pitch a little bit.  They were presentable.  They were desirable places to eat.  They were even fun places to eat. 

BURT WOLF: Throughout the 1930s, 40s, and 50s, Springfield developed a middle class approach to restaurants offering foods that were attractive to travelers and office and factory workers.  Good eating meant friendly service and ordinary but reliable food in sizable portions.  The thirties also saw the introduction of the first Mel-O-Cream Doughnut.  Mel-O-Cream Doughnuts are a local specialty. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA:  I'm a hole-in-the-center kind of guy myself, with maybe a little glaze or sugar on the outside.  And I've always wondered who put the hole in the center of the doughnut.  Well, no less an institution than The Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. has reported on the subject.  They tell us that a young man named Hanson Crockett Gregory of Clam Cove, Maine, was watching his mother make some doughnuts, and asked her why they were always soggy in the center?  She said if she cooked them till they were done in the center, they were burned on the outside, and so she took them out early.  Well, young Hanson, culinary genius that he was, took a fork, poked a hole in the center of the uncooked doughnut, so when they fried up, they were perfect, thereby creating the first ringed doughnut in history. 

And as long as we're dealing with doughnuts, here's a couple of additional bits of trivia.  During World War One, a Salvation Army worker in France prepared a batch of doughnuts for some American troops, which proved to be extremely popular and regularly requested.  When word got around that the American units loved doughnuts, they got nicknamed "Doughboys." 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: The folklore around dunking says that an actress by the name of Mae Murray was having breakfast one day, in Lindy's Restaurant in New York City, and she dropped her doughnut into her coffee.  Well, she didn't miss a beat.  She picked it up, continued eating, and announced that both the texture and the flavor had been improved; thereby, dividing the doughnut-eating world between those who dunk and those who don't dunk.  And I dunk. 

BURT WOLF: The years that followed the end of the Second World War saw a continuing rise in the number of roadside eating places.  The Cozy Dog Drive-In opened on Route 66 in 1950.  For over a 100 years, the frankfurter, on its bun has been part of American gastronomy.  But Ed Waldmire changed that. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Ed was visiting his brother in Muskogee, Oklahoma, when a diner cook served him a frankfurter that had been baked in a batter.  It took about 15 minutes to cook it in something that was really a homemade waffle iron.  But Ed realized that somewhere in that dish was an idea that could change the gastronomic history of America, and he began experimenting. 

BURT WOLF: Eventually he developed a secret recipe, and the equipment necessary to produce a corn batter encrusted, deep-fried frankfurter on a stick.  His wife named them "Cozy Dogs" and developed the logo.  Ed introduced them at the 1946 Illinois State Fair.  And his reputation was made. 

BUZ WALDMIRE ON CAMERA: Well, we got the Cozy Dog batter.  It's a dry-flour mixture that my father formulated 50 years ago, and we take three Oscar Meyer hot dogs, and then it's really pretty simple.  You just dip the dog in there, and ... set him right over here ... again, on a custom-made rack, for a rather commercial fryer.  It takes about two minutes to cook. And we probably go through ... between 3- and 500 a day.

BURT WOLF: It was a perfect food for people in motion.  And so Ed opened the Cozy Dog House on Route 66.  In recognition of his contribution to American road food he has been inducted into the Illinois Route 66 Hall of Fame.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA:  But in spite of the fact that there are a number of patents in connection with the making of a Cozy Dog, knock-offs have proliferated throughout the United States in the form of a corn dog.  But a corn dog is not a Cozy Dog.  And the authentic version is only available here in Springfield, Illinois, made by Ed's son, Buz. 

KEITH SCULLE ON CAMERA: In the 1950s, in the 1960s, Springfield was participating in now legendary prosperity in this country.  And eating on the road was a common thing to do ... not only out of necessity but because it was a fun thing to do. 

BURT WOLF: The late 1980s and early 90s saw the introduction of national restaurant chains that were based on a theme.  It was not only the menu and the speedy service that attracted local customers, but also the fact that they had grown familiar with the settings through travel to other cities.  A chain's restaurant in Springfield was the same as a chain's restaurant in every other town. The middle of the 20th century was marked by a strong interest in reformist middle class values and the majority of Americans drank very little alcohol.  But the chains that put up the theme restaurants were able to take advantage of the new acceptance of moderate drinking, many of which had a bar in the center of their floor plan.  The chains also moved into the malls.  The mall restaurants are often as much about entertaining as they are about eating.  Springfield’s most famous contribution to the world of food, however, is the horseshoe sandwich which contains neither horse, nor shoe, nor horseshoe. The original horseshoe sandwich is credited to the chef at the Leland Hotel who appears to have introduced it in 1928.  Almost every restaurant in Springfield has their own version. But many folks feel that the best place to get a taste of the traditional version, as well as some of the modern day variations is at Norb Andy's.  Josh Bales is the chef.

JOSH BALES ON CAMERA: Okay.  It starts off with toast.  It's two hamburger patties, fries, and cheese sauce.  Next is the club.  It has ham and turkey.  French fries topped with bacon and tomato, and, of course, cheese sauce.  Next we have my favorite, which is the chili cheeseburger.  It has the burgers ... the fries.  That's chili ... cheese ... green onions ... and, of course, more cheese sauce.  And this little guy down here is a half-size.  It's called a pony.  It has seafood, which are shrimp and crab, tomato, scallions.  And, of course, lots more cheese sauce. 

BURT WOLF: During my visit to Springfield, I stayed at a bed and breakfast called the Inn at 835.  And I used their kitchen to test a recipe for the horseshoe sandwich. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: We're going to start by making the cheese sauce, which is really a classic Welsh rarebit.  First thing, a half cup of butter goes into the top of a double-boiler. 

BURT WOLF: A double-boiler is really a big sauce pan filled with water on a smaller sauce pan sitting on top of the water in the first pan.  The water in the first pan protects the food in the inside pan from direct heat. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: A double-boiler is used to cook anything that would normally burn, separate, or curdle in a regular sauce pan.  They're also good for stopping the cooking quickly because you just lift up the pot. 

BURT WOLF: It's well made, roomy, and it has a long convenient handle.  It's made of stainless steel that won't interact with any of your ingredients and it has a circular ridge that helps it sit snugly inside the base pot.  When the butter is melted, flour is whisked in.  As soon as that is blended and smooth, you add the rest of the ingredients.  Milk, Worcestershire sauce, a good quality cheddar cheese that's been shredded, cayenne pepper, dry mustard, and salt.  Then turn off the heat and add some beer.  That's the sauce, and you hold it in a double-boiler while you prepare the rest of the dish. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA:  Next, you make two pieces of toast.  When we were testing toasters for inclusion in “The New Cooks’ Catalogue”, the Cuisinart Custom Control Model did really well.  It has seven different setting for darkness, which gives you a pretty good range of doneness. 

BURT WOLF: There's an easy- to-clean electronic control panel, with touch pads for one slice ... bagel ... defrost ... reheat ... lighter ... darker ... and cancel reset.  There's also a pull-out crumb tray.  Good design. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Next, I'm going to cook a couple of hamburgers and I'm going to do it on a George Foreman grill.  This is an electric contact grill.  It opens like a waffle iron, and heat cooks the food from both sides at the same time.  It has high wattage, which translates into better browning, and better browning translates into better flavor. 

BURT WOLF: There's an indicator that lets you know when the grill is hot enough to start cooking.  Very helpful.  The surface is slanted so the fats and cooking juices run out.  A small tray sits underneath the grill to catch the drippings. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Now part of what was dripping out was fat but not all of it.  If you want to lose weight, in addition to the George Foreman grill, you're going to need an exercise program that includes something besides chewing.  That chewing is what my favorite exercise is.  And I do it as often as I possibly can.  I also like it when we swirl the wine around ... just before you swallow it.  That's a ... that's a great exercise there.  And look how it's building up these muscles. 

BURT WOLF: Okay.  We're ready to assemble the horse shoe.  The toast goes on the plate.  The burger's on top.  Then the cheese sauce.  And finally, a mound of French fried potatoes.  I'll tell you how to get the recipe for that dish and all the other dishes in this series at the end of this program. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Now I can let you think that I made those French fries from scratch right here in this kitchen!  But I did not.  I brought them in from Norb Andy's, and I tell you that because whenever you are in Springfield, Illinois, you're always aware of the fact that this is Honest Abe Lincoln's hometown. 

BURT WOLF: And speaking of Lincoln, Mrs. Lincoln was famous for her white cake. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Actually it wasn't Mrs. Lincoln's white cake at all!  It was originally prepared by a famous baker in Lexington, Kentucky, to mark the visit of the Marquis de Lafayette in 1825.  He gave a copy of the recipe to Mrs. Lincoln.  She baked it for Abe.  Abe loved it.  And so she baked it quite often in their home here in Springfield, Illinois, and in the White House.

BURT WOLF: This particular version of Mrs. Lincoln's cake was baked at a small family bakery called Incredibly Delicious.  The chef is Patrick Groth, who studied at the French Culinary Institute.  His wife, Beth, his mother, and other assorted relatives help out.  When Patrick describes this as a family business, he means it.  Springfield is the land of Lincoln but it is also the land of corn.  As soon as you pass through the suburban areas, you are surrounded by corn fields.  In the old days, cornfields were used only for growing corn.  But these days, the big idea is multi-tasking.  And so cornfields are being put to additional use.  This is the Springfield Corn Maze.

DOUG SCHMIDGALL: Flags in the air.

BURT WOLF: During the growing season, it is open to the public Monday through Saturday from 9:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M.  But not when it's raining or the fields are muddy.  It all started in 1993 when a producer from Walt Disney teamed up with a designer of mazes to put a maze into a cornfield. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: A maze is a puzzle with many junctions and paths.  You go in one place, come out another.  The trick, of course, is to figure out which path will lead you out.  The great American authority on corn mazes is a guy named Brett Herbst.  He has a company that teaches farmers how to put a corn maze into their field. You know, another word for corn is maize.  So it's only fair that a field of maize have a maze. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: How did you come to put a maze in your field?

DOUG SCHMIDGALL ON CAMERA: I've seen advertised in a magazine, about three years ago.  And ... thought it looked kind of nice, and I decided to go ahead and try one.

BURT WOLF: Something in a magazine special that appealed to you?

DOUG SCHMIDGALL: I liked the design that I'd seen from the air.  I believe it was a design of a tiger, or something like that.  It looked kind of neat.  This one is a design like a dragon.  We had a little contest and a young man by the name of Wade Morrison give us a design, and we etched it out.  On one side, there's the head with the fire coming out of it ... and the other side is a tail ... kind of like a hammer on it.  And it's got wings on it and everything like that.

BURT WOLF: How much do you charge them to go in?

DOUG SCHMIDGALL: A dollar for the easy maze, and $2 for the hard maze.

BURT WOLF: What do you charge them to get out?

DOUG SCHMIDGALL: Fifteen dollars to get out if I got to come find them. 


BURT WOLF: And equally amazing are the foods at the county fair. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Mm-m-m-m ... I'm all shook up. 

MAN: Our funnel cake is ... you make the batter up ...special batter ... stir it up ... put her in there.  And it comes out ... and put powdered sugar on it. Or cinnamon. Whichever you like.  There it is. That's it.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: All right, I don't want to waste this.  Would you like some?

WOMAN ON CAMERA: I have Dip-and-Dots ice cream. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Ha!  They're like tiny little balls.

WOMAN ON CAMERA: Little dots. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Amazing, my dear Watson.  Thank you.

WOMAN ON CAMERA: You're welcome.

MAN ON CAMERA: This is taffy candy.  Salt water taffy.  This taffy here originated around the turn of the century right here in Illinois. Yeah, the salt water taffy kind of became popular by the seashore.  There's not really any salt water in salt water taffy. 

BURT WOLF: Well, that's a look at how the automobile has changed the way we eat and drink in America, and a taste of the local flavors of Springfield, Illinois ... the impact of Route 66 ... Cozy Dogs ... Maid-Rites ... Mel-O-Creams ... Chili ... Horseshoes... Lemon Shake-ups ... and Mrs. Lincoln's white cake.  I hope you've enjoyed this visit and I hope you will join me next time.  I'm Burt Wolf.

If you would like free copies of the recipes from this program, or hundreds of other recipes from Burt’s programs, to read his special reports from around the world and interviews with leading food authorities or to order a copy of The New Cooks’ Catalogue, a critical guide that tells you what to look for when purchasing cooking equipment and utensils, with over 1,000 color photographs and recipes, just visit Burt online at BURTWOLF.COM.

Local Flavors: San Francisco - #103

Every city in the world has a local flavor, a flavor that comes from the signature dishes of the town, from a group of preferred ingredients, or type of restaurant that is only found in that area.  It is a flavor that comes from appreciating a particular piece of cooking equipment or a technique.  There are dozens of influences, but the local flavors always the result of the history, geography, economics, and the ethnic groups that have settled in the city.

This is San Francisco.  And the history of its growth is unique.  Almost every other major city in America was founded by a group of people with similar ideas, similar traditions, and a similar desire to build a new community.  Puritans in Boston, Mormons in Salt Lake City, Catholics in New Orleans.  The one great exception is San Francisco.  And it's amazing to see how this difference has affected the way this city eats and drinks. So please join me, Burt Wolf, for a taste of the local flavors of San Francisco.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: San Francisco was founded by 25,000 guys who showed up one afternoon in 1849 to find gold.  They were not interested in agriculture or craftwork or building a community.  They were interested in getting as rich as they could as fast as they could.  And as soon as they got rich, they were interested in partying.  Some of those guys got rich from finding gold and later on finding silver.  But many of them got rich from selling things to the miners, like Levi Straus, who sold them jeans, or Leland Stanford, who sold them so many groceries that he was able to put up the money for Stanford University. 

BURT WOLF:  But the gastronomic history of San Francisco is not just about money.  The people who came here during the gold rush came from every part of the world.  And they held on to many of their gastronomic traditions.  French sailors who were on their way to Asia came into San Francisco and jumped ship to head for the gold fields. If they struck it rich, they came back to town to live it up, to eat and drink the best of everything.  If they didn't strike it rich, they came back to town to open a restaurant.

The French and many other European immigrants influenced the early cooking of San Francisco. But the biggest impact came from the thousands of Chinese laborers who worked in the gold fields, and on the railroads, and at the wineries.  They built their own town within a town. Today it is the largest Chinatown outside Asia.  Originally it was almost completely a male society.  The men lived in small rooms without kitchens.  All their meals were taken in nearby restaurants.  Hundreds of restaurants, and at all levels of quality and expense.  Today some of the finest Chinese cooking in the world is right here in San Francisco.

SHIRLEY FONG-TORRES ON CAMERA: Good morning, America. 

GROUP ON CAMERA: Good morning, Shirley.

BURT WOLF: Shirley Fong-Torres is known as the wok wiz. 

SHIRLEY FONG-TORRES: All right, now.

BURT WOLF: She's a cookbook author, a historian, and television chef who has created a walking tour of her neighborhood that she calls “I Can't Believe I Ate My Way Through Chinatown”.  She also runs daily tours that cover the history, culture, and folklore of the community. 

SHIRLEY FONG-TORRES: So our first stop will be to Sam Wo restaurant for our Chinese breakfast. This is Cheung Fun, in Chinese, in  Cantonese means long, and Fun means the rice noodle.  This is cold, and inside is lean barbecue pork that they make here, and then there's coriander and green onions and some scrambled eggs.  So it's sort of like a breakfast roll.  And so you just pick it up with your either your fingers or your chopsticks as a little snack.

SHIRLEY FONG-TORRES: One of my favorite produce markets is right there on the corner. Let’s try this. This is called Dow Mil. I hope you order this in a restaurant.  We do this cause we just want you to taste it.  It's a pea sprout comes from the snow pea family, and when you bite into it, you see that a little bit of an aftertaste.  Now that's a lion dance to signify the grand opening of a new restaurant or a business.  It's a loud celebration. 

SHIRLEY FONG-TORRES ON CAMERA: So, to find a nice, good duck, we look for one that has ... that's carmelized, that has, not too fat, like that one has a little bit too much fat on it.  But not too skinny because then there won't be enough meat.  You want one to have a graceful neck and nice legs and thighs, kind of body I'm trying for.  Oh!  Back to the duck. Now, which one do we think?

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: We were gonna go with the end one.

SHIRLEY FONG-TORRES ON CAMERA: The end one.  Okay.  We'll pick that one.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: That was your pick, so I don’t wanna….



SHIRLEY FONG-TORRES: Mm, mm.  Hurry and eat. We have to go lunch. And I love this place because they have excellent dim sum and then also great entrees, and the food we're having today is actually more like a banquet because we have been eating so much on the street already.  And the Chinese realized there was a business here.  They could open up a restaurant and these non-Chinese would come in and pay money for their meals, and, so, Chinese food started to become popular. 

BURT WOLF: At the same time that the Chinese were building Chinatown, the Italians were building San Francisco's Little Italy.  It was originally settled by Italian sailors from Northern Italy who jumped ship to join the Gold Rush. When the Rush was over, they stayed on as farmers, shopkeepers and restaurateurs, putting their community together in an area known as North Beach. The North Beach restaurant is a good example of a place that serves the traditional dishes of Northern Italy.  Bruno Orsi is in the kitchen, and his partner, Lorenzo Petroni, is up front.  They're both from Tuscany. 

I've known Lorenzo for years. So, I felt I could borrow part of his kitchen to show you how to make pasta at home and to make some for our lunch.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: So, you make the pasta dough, take a ball about the size of a lemon and then you need a pasta machine to make at home.  The first job of the pasta machine is to thin this out into a flat ribbon, and it will have something that is made from stainless steel or some non-reactive system.  You want the machine to be sturdy.  It's very important that it have a great lock that will hold it down, a clamp that will hold it on the board.  If you're gonna to do it by hand, you want to make sure that this mounts in in a way that it's secure, so it won't slide out.  You take your ball of pasta, and you put it into the rollers that will thin it out. Grazie. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Now, you can do this by hand, the grinding, and it works pretty well.  Notice, it keeps getting longer each time I do this, and I flour it between each pass. But you can also do it with a motor.  It makes it a little easier.  It's not a big deal. All right.  Watch this. Now, normally, you would let this dry for a couple of hours, and then, when it was dry, you would change to the cutters. When you pick out a machine, it's nice to have at least two cutters.  This one has, I think, six different cutters.  Okay.  Andiamo. 

That's it.  And that's how easy it is to make pasta at home. 

BURT WOLF: The Italians were the first major European immigrants, and the Chinese were the first major Asian immigrants.  The second Asian group to immigrate to San Francisco came in the early years of the 20th Century, and they came from Japan.  Over 25,000 Japanese arrived in California and many headed straight for San Francisco.  Today, there are over 12,000 Japanese-Americans in San Francisco, and they make major contributions to the city's business, cultural and gastronomic community. 

The word around town is that when it comes to Japanese food, Ebisu is at the top of the list.  It's owned by Steve Fuji, a major authority on sushi, who taught classes on sushi preparation and presentation at San Francisco's DeYoung Museum.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: I brought along my own gear to make sure that I would be able to do this at home.  First thing I brought was a rice cooker.  They're wonderful because they will do it automatically, and the rice will come out perfectly everytime.  When you're picking one out, make sure that it has a non-stick surface on the inside, so the rice will come away easily.  You also want one that has markings in there, so you know just how much water to put in.  It'll cook white rice in about 30 minutes, about 40 or 45 minutes for brown rice.  It has a clear top so you can see when the rice is finished, and when it is finished, it automatically shifts to a holding temperature, and it will keep the rice warm for up to 12 hours.  Good piece of gear.  Second thing is my sushi kit.  Okay.  Steve, do I have the right stuff here? 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Sushi vinegar. Right.

STEVE FUJI ON CAMERA: Sushi vinegar. Yes.

STEVE FUJI ON CAMERA: And soy sauce.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Sauce. Rice vinegar.


BURT WOLF ON CAMERA:Pickled ginger.


BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Wasabi.  Special rice.




BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Dried seaweed.


BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: And the single most important piece of equipment a teeny little window shade.



STEVE FUJI ON CAMERA: Yeah. That works.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Okay.  I'm ready to learn how to make sushi.

STEVE FUJI ON CAMERA: Okay.  So, you put seaweed on a bamboo shade.  And like so.  This is the shiny part.


STEVE FUJI ON CAMERA: It's outside.  And the dull sides go inside.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: So, it's the dull side that goes up.



STEVE FUJI ON CAMERA: And then, you put rice.  Leave about half inch or so from the top.

STEVE FUJI ON CAMERA: And you go, like so.  And then you just bring down easy like so. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: I’m just spreadin' it out.


BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Yours is spreading out better than mine. I’m going to be in remedial sushi making.  I can tell.

STEVE FUJI ON CAMERA: And then come to the end.  The wasabi. And like so.  That’s Japanese green horseradish.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Green horseradish.  Okay. 

STEVE FUJI ON CAMERA: Okay.  You put this in the middle.


STEVE FUJI ON CAMERA: So, bring this mat like so and then bring it over and then when you lift this one up, it’s almost half inch lips over here.


STEVE FUJI ON CAMERA: And then pick up the mat, one side, okay and then push it over.  Just a little.  Not too hard. Okay.

STEVE FUJI ON CAMERA: And then, like this.  There you go.



BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Oh.  Look at that. Give me a match. 

STEVE FUJI ON CAMERA: (Laughter) Okay. With a knife.


STEVE FUJI ON CAMERA: You run the water down.  So, will not stick to rice.


STEVE FUJI ON CAMERA: That’s why a lot of people do go like this and ...

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: You have to run the water down.  Okay.

STEVE FUJI ON CAMERA: You're right-handed.  I'm left-handed.  So, you cut them in half.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Cut it in half.

STEVE FUJI ON CAMERA: You got a half?  I don't think so.


STEVE FUJI ON CAMERA: Okay.  Turn this over.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Turn that over. 

STEVE FUJI ON CAMERA: Should be even.  Right?

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: No.  I'll make it even.  Wait a second.  Okay.


BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Now, it's even. 

STEVE FUJI ON CAMERA: Cut this into three pieces.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Into three pieces.

STEVE FUJI ON CAMERA: Right.  Then when you put them in a dish, should be height that be all same.  And the fish in the middle. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: So, the first thing I noticed is they're not all the same height, and my fish is not in the middle as effectively as yours. 



STEVE FUJI ON CAMERA: But as it goes, you will learn.

BURT WOLF: Starting in the early 70s, restaurants in and around San Francisco started developing a style of cooking that became known as California cuisine.  They began to use local products produced to the restaurant’s specifications.  A perfect example is Hawthorne Lane.  Ann Gingrass is the chef and David Gingrass manages the house.  The room is beautiful, sophisticated and comfortable.  The open kitchen can be seen but not heard, and the food which blends European, Asian and American elements is excellent.  We started with a carpaccio of apple with walnuts and jack cheese, which Ann is going to demonstrate. But first, a word about slicing. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Normally, when you cut food, the food stays still and the blade moves over it.  But there's an alternative where the blade stays stationary and the food moves over the blade.  And the best example of that is something called a mandoline.  This is a particularly good one.  It's made out of a fiberglass form.  The blades lock in place.  You can use this nut on the back to adjust the thickness both in inches and in millimeters.  There are a number of different types of blades.  Take your food.  Put it in place above the blade. Take your safety guide and lock it on.  It holds the food.  And then you're in business.  Our apples are ready.  Let's go.  What happens next?

ANN GINGRASS ON CAMERA: Thanks. Then we put the apples on the plate.  So, we coat the plate like this, and then to prevent it from turning…discoloring we brush it with a little walnut oil mixed with parsley and tarragon. Then I sprinkle it with this little walnuts chopped with these chocolate nibs.


ANN GINGRASS ON CAMERA: They're like the chocolate bean crushed up.  Then we squeeze a little lemon juice, salt and pepper and then we shave this cheese.  And you just sprinkle that around.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: That's it.  I'm ready to start.


BURT WOLF: The apple carpaccio was the first appetizer.  Next, crispy fried prawns with toasted garlic sauce and fresh spring rolls.  A taste of stir-fried lamb with eggplant and garlic chips served in radicchio leaf cups.  The main course was spiced marinated grilled chicken with curried noodles and carrot and peanut wontons.  And for dessert, a lemon chiffon passion fruit cake with shaved white chocolate.  At the end of this program, I'll show you how to get the recipes for the dishes in this show.  Since the days when the miners came into San Francisco with their pockets filled with gold, the restaurateurs of this city have made it their business to supply their customers with the best of everything.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: In 1952, the Buena Vista Cafe decided to try and reproduce the perfect Irish coffee, as it was made in the Shannon Airport in Shannon, Ireland. 

It wasn't easy.  They even went back to Shannon to try and figure out what they were doing wrong, and they didn't get it right until the mayor of San Francisco, who once owned a dairy, figured out that they had to let the cream rest for 48 hours before they whipped it to the ideal consistency.  At last, the perfect Irish coffee had been recreated in the United States. There was much rejoicing throughout the land and many people lived happily ever after. 

BURT WOLF: And here's how they did it.  First, a heat-proof glass is selected and pre-heated with hot water.  Two sugar cubes go in. Then the glass is filled to the three-quarter mark with hot coffee, and the sugar is dissolved.  A jigger of Irish whiskey is stirred in.  Now, they only put the whiskey in because it helps hold up the lightly-whipped cream which is poured in gently over a spoon.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Not even the Blarney Stone was left unturned in their search for the perfect Irish coffee.  Here is to the pursuit of excellence.

BURT WOLF: In 1849, the Boudin family arrived in San Francisco and opened a French bakery.  They used French baking techniques but incorporated a sourdough process to create a sourdough French bread.  Since then, San Francisco has become famous for its sourdough bread, which is made from a combination of flour, water and wild yeast.

LARRY STRAIN ON CAMERA: That's the mother dough that we’ve perpetuated since 1849.

BURT WOLF: My guide is Larry Strain, the president of the company.  The flour and water are mixed together and exposed to the air in order to attract the wild yeast.  Once the yeast takes hold, the mass turns into a starter, or culture, which is the foundation of sourdough bread and acts as a leavening agent like any yeast or baking soda.  Each time a new batch of bread is baked, some of the original starter is incorporated in the new batter and some of the new batter is turned back into the original starter. The Boudin bakery is still using the starter that got started in 1849. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: What makes sourdough bread taste different in one part of the world than it does in another is the local wild yeast that grows in the area. The wild yeast in San Francisco is so specialized that it is known as lacto bacillus San Francisco.  Now, of course, you could buy sourdough starter in San Francisco and bring it home to any city in the world and make sourdough bread. But it would never taste the same as it does in San Francisco, because your local wild yeast would want to join in the fun. 

BURT WOLF: San Franciscans have an extraordinary interest in good eating and drinking.  They take it seriously in terms of pleasure.  But they also take it seriously in terms of business.  There are over 3,500 restaurants in San Francisco.  You could eat in a different one every day, and it will take you 11 years to get through them. 

BURT WOLF: And travelers love that.  San Francisco is the number-one tourist destination and considered to be the top city for restaurants.  Sixteen million visitors come here every year and spend 6 1/2 billion dollars. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: In 1909, the city formed the San Francisco Convention and Visitors Bureau, which makes it one of the oldest organizations of its kind in the United States.  It has over 2300 member firms, which makes sense, because tourism is the largest business in San Francisco.  Over the years, the Bureau came to realize that many people traveled because of their interest in eating and drinking, and they commissioned the first national study of people who loved good food and wine, which has become known as the “Foodie Study”.  John Marks is the president of the San Francisco Convention and Visitors Bureau. 

JOHN MARKS ON CAMERA: A Foodie is a dining enthusiast, a hobbyist, if you will.  Some of us play golf.  Some play tennis.  Some go boating. 

JOHN MARKS: Foodies clearly like to go out and dine and enjoy fine wine, and they do so in record numbers.  About 77 million Americans self-classify themselves as Foodies.  Foodies today are really kind of going back to basics, looking for good value, good food, good quality, good service. They're over the minimalist thing.  They're over the tall food thing.  And they're just looking for an exceptional evening out.  Well, San Francisco has the very high-end restaurants that people know about.  But it's that large base, that 3500 that we’re so strong in, and the ethnic diversity of our restaurants is terrific. 

BURT WOLF: One of the major pieces of information to come out of the Foodie study was the importance of the credit card, which was music to the ears of San Francisco's business community, because San Francisco is the home of the modern credit card.  The idea of using a credit card to make a purchase was introduced during the early decades of the 20th Century.  A major catalyst was the automobile.  As Americans bought more and more cars, they used more and more gas.  And the gas companies got the idea of issuing the credit card so you could fill up your tank and debit your bank at the same time. 

BURT WOLF: The card only worked for the gas company that issued it, which kept you loyal, but Americans, being somewhat promiscuous, usually carried at least two.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: In 1914, Western Union offered a credit card for its services, and then, a number of large retailers joined in.  But they were all closed systems.  You could only use the card for purchases in the company that offered you the card.  Most people still found it pretty tough to make a purchase without cash. 

BURT WOLF: But the real breakthrough in the credit-card business was made by a company that got started at the beginning of this century in San Francisco.  A.P. Giannini was the head of a small neighborhood bank called the Bank of Italy. 

He became famous, because the day after the Great Earthquake of 1906, he crawled through the rubble of his bank, took out the money that was in a safe, set up a table in the street and began making loans to people who wanted to rebuild their homes and businesses.  His little bank grew and eventually changed its name to the Bank of America. Giannini's interest in extending credit eventually ended up as the Visa Card, and in spite of the fact that it can be used to purchase anything anywhere, its users seem to have a special interest in good food and wine.  Which is typical of most things that originate in San Francisco.  An example is "Beach Blanket Babylon."  "Beach Blanket Babylon" is a musical spoof of pop culture that opened in 1974 and has been running ever since, which makes it the longest-running musical revue in the history of American theater.  And some of its funniest stuff is about eating and drinking.  That's a brief taste of the local flavors of San Francisco.  I hope it whetted your appetite for a visit.  And I hope you will visit with me next time on Local Flavors. I'm Burt Wolf.

If you would like free copies of the recipes from this program, or hundreds of other recipes from Burt’s programs, to read his special reports from around the world and interviews with leading food authorities or to order a copy of The New Cooks’ Catalogue, a critical guide that tells you what to look for when purchasing cooking equipment and utensils, with over 1,000 color photographs and recipes, just visit Burt online at BURTWOLF.COM.

Local Flavors: Miami - #102

Every town in the world has a local flavor, a flavor that comes from its signature dishes, from a group of preferred ingredients, or a type of restaurant that is popular.  It is a flavor that comes from appreciating a particular piece of equipment or a technique.  There are dozens of things that impact on the local flavor.  But the most important influences are always the result of history, geography and economics.  Greater Miami and the Beaches has become one of the most celebrated vacation spots in the world.  At the southern tip of the United States, and pointing towards the Caribbean and South America, as if to indicate the direction it wants to go in, Miami has become a paradise for food lovers.  So, please join me, Burt Wolf, for a taste of the local flavors of Greater Miami and the Beaches.

When Ponce de Leon showed up in Florida in 1513, he was looking for the Fountain Of Youth.  He must have missed Miami's South Beach.  Ah, yes, shapes not found in nature. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Too bad about De Leon.  Florida did little for him.  But he and his fellow explorer, Hernando De Soto, did a lot for Florida, especially when it comes to eating and drinking.  They were the first two guys to bring cattle and pigs to North America, and the Franciscan missionaries who followed them brought in Spanish recipes, rice and European spices.  So, the Spanish influence on the food of Miami goes back for well over 500 years. 

BURT WOLF: Today the best place to see and taste that influence is in Miami's Little Havana, and the best place to start is the bakery at Versailles.  My guide is Herb Sosa, a Cuban-American, a friend, and a serious eater.

HERB SOSA ON CAMERA: Well, Burt this is breakfast in Little Havana for us, a variety of fried and baked goods. We've got everything from croquetas over here, croquettes, pastelitos, which, again, are a nice, light, flaky, pastry, that can be filled with anything from meat to guava to cream cheese or a combination of both. Empanadas, over here, those are the guava pastries over there.  And this is fun.  This is a type of bread.  It's a version of the Cuban bread.  We call it a patines, which is a roller skate because it resembles a roller skate with the wheels.  And again, the codfish fritters are also a delicacy and, certainly, a favorite, and all of that has to get washed down with Cuban coffee, of course.

BURT WOLF: Ah!  I'm ready.

HERB SOSA: Like some?

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Yeah.  Please. 

HERB SOSA ON CAMERA: There you go.  Nice and strong and hot.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: What makes it Cuban coffee?

HERB SOSA: The way that it's brewed.

BURT WOLF: Strong and sweet.

HERB SOSA: Absolutely.  Lots of sugar and the foam also is ... is a mixture of the sugar beaten before you pour it into the coffee and then makes it come up to the top.  Before we go, I want to show you one more thing. 

HERB SOSA: A variety of omelets and sandwiches here, references to our Spanish heritage.  You've got the sandwiches, and the omelets filled with everything from prosciutto hams to the salmons, tomatoes, just about anything you'd like.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: And they're formed like a cake.  Built up.  And then sliced in triangles.

HERB SOSA ON CAMERA: Absolutely.  Layers, nice and filling, for breakfast, lunch, dinner, late-night, any time you're hungry.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Interesting.  I've never seen a sandwich presented quite like that. 

BURT WOLF: About midday, you can pop into Fritas Cubana. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: A Fritas Cubana. 


BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: What does that mean?

COUNTERMAN ON CAMERA: Well, it's a tradition in Cuba.  It's a ... it's a patty, U.S. choice ground beef.  It has spices in it, which is a recipe that we have, that my father showed me.  It's got onions and home-made potatoes on a Cuban ... on a Cuban bread, Cuban roll.


BURT WOLF: If you enjoy the food in Little Havana, you might like to look at some plates for it to go on, in which case you should stop into the workshop of the Curras twins.  Ronald and Nelson are identical twins.  But they were born a day apart, which put them under different astrological signs, very unusual for identical twins.  Also one is right-handed and the other left-handed, which makes one the mirror image of the other.  But those are about the only differences between them.  They were born in Havana in 1940 and came to Miami in 1980.  They are ceramists, and they make plates, tables and lamps in their home in Little Havana.

TRANSLATOR: Our grandfather who lived in Spain started a ceramics business, and we carried on in the tradition.

BURT WOLF: Where do you draw your ideas from?

TRANSLATOR: The flora and fauna of Cuba, their native homeland, the colors, the architecture, the plants, the animals, everything, that reminds them of their old Cuba.  Our colors are inspired by the Tropics.  They're hot.  They're vibrant, like the Tropics that we come from.  We work simultaneously and, together on both the concepts as well as in the actual work.  One would start the design.  The other one would continue, or vice versa, and also, when it comes to the murals with the ceramic tiles, we lay the tiles out, and, again, we don't have any preconceived ideas or notions on what the design will be.  We just start and take it, as whatever inspires us at the time.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: The next major gastronomic influence came from the thousands of Black Africans who were brought to the New World as slaves.  They began arriving in Florida during the 1500s and brought with them the first eggplants, yams, sesame seeds and okra.  The African word for okra, by the way, is gumbo.  So, every time you're looking at a bowl of gumbo, you are looking at a recipe with a strong African influence. 

BURT WOLF: These days you can get a taste of the Black African influence at Ortanique in Coral Gables.  An ortanique, by the way, is a citrus fruit that is indigenous to Jamaica, it’s a cross between an orange, a tangerine and a grapefruit.  The fruit at Ortanique is described as New World Caribbean cuisine.  We opened with a Tropical mango and hearts of palm salad with passion fruit vinaigrette topped with candied pecans.  Main course was grouper that had been marinated in an orange liqueur teriyaki sauce and then sauteed.  Dessert was chocolate Tia Maria mousse and cinnamon cream rolled in a chocolate sponge cake and garnished with raspberries and mint.  At the end of this program, I'll show you how to get the recipes for the dishes in this show. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Since the 1920s, Miami Beach has been associated with Jews coming down from the Northeast.  But the truth of the matter is the first Jews came to Florida in the middle of the 1700s.  They came as fur traders and stayed on to become merchants and farmers. It's impossible to find any gastronomic evidence of that first group.  But the Jews that came down in the 1920s left an extraordinary menu. 

BURT WOLF: One of the places you can order from that menu is the Rascal House. 

MAN EATER ON CAMERA: Whenever I’m in town I always had the stuffed cabbage, and on Mondays the split pea soup is really terrific as well.

MAN EATER ON CAMERA: Has the best potato pancakes there is in town.

MAN EATER ON CAMERA: The pastrami is wonderful, it’s wonderful, wonderful here at the Rascal House.

MAN EATER ON CAMERA: The corned beef is great.  The pickles are great, and I love 'em all.

WOMAN EATER ON CAMERA: I love matzoh ball soup.  I eat it all the time. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: What am I?  Chopped liver?  During the 1880s, wealthy industrialists in the Midwest and Northeast began taking an interest in Florida.  Flagler built a railroad all the way down to the tip of Key West.  By the early 1900s, Miami was attracting the rich and famous and many of the great hotels were being put up, and many of those great hotels had excellent restaurants.

BURT WOLF: The idea of a hotel with a great restaurant is still part of the Miami tradition. A perfect example is a restaurant called Wish located at a hotel called The Hotel.  The executive chef is Andrea Curto, and she taught me a few of her signature dishes.  The first course was a goat cheese tart. We started with goat cheese in a mixing bowl and added in eggs, cream, roasted garlic cloves, chopped mushrooms, chive, thyme and a little salt and pepper.  That gets spread out onto a pre-baked sheet of tart dough which goes into the oven for about 15 minutes.  When it comes out, it cools for half an hour, at which point it is sliced, garnished and served. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: That tart was baked in a jelly-roll pan.  A jelly-roll pan is basically a baking sheet with sides that turn up for about an inch.  When you're picking one out you want one that will conduct heat evenly all over the surface.  You want sturdy construction, a rolled edge, so it will hold its shape.  I always like the shiny ones rather than the dark ones.  I think they will give you a better surface on the food you are cooking, and if you butter it properly, you won't have any problems with release.  In terms of size, get the biggest one that will fit into your oven but make sure there's two inches of space completely around the pan and the walls of your oven. 

BURT WOLF: The main course was crispy snapper.  A little vegetable oil is heated in a frying pan.  As soon as it's hot, in goes in a few filets of snapper, skin-side down.  They cook for about a minute and then go into the oven for five minutes more. When it comes out, it's served with a sweet corn risotto, cilantro butter sauce, bok choy, a grilled shrimp and a little roe. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Andrea cooked that fish in a cast iron pan.  Now, the first time you use a cast iron pan, you're gonna have to season it.  What you do is you rub a light coating of oil on the inside and put the pan into a 200 degree oven for about a half an hour.  The oil will bake into the little holes in the surface of the pan and give you a better release surface.  Now, there was a time where almost all of the pots and pans in the United States were made out of cast iron, and every time you cooked, a little iron came out of the pan and into the food and into you.  And then we started using other metals for our pots and pans and covering the cast iron with enamel, and suddenly, people began developing iron deficiencies.  Maybe we should cook a little more in cast iron. 

BURT WOLF: Dessert was a strawberry shortcake made by Chef Everardo Villa.  A tender shortcake is cut in half and one side is given a splash of simple sugar syrup, then surrounded with creme anglaise and a little more simple syrup.  An avalanche of strawberries that have been marinating in a sugar syrup arrives, followed by a mound of freshly whipped cream.  The top disk of shortcake goes on, a dusting of confectioner's sugar, and finally, a sprig of mint.  I'm often reminded that one of the ways in which a society defines itself is by the things it manufactures.  Till the middle of the 1700s, almost everything was made one at a time. But the Industrial Revolution changed that.  Mass production required each product to have a specific design and that all examples of that product be uniform.  Eventually, governments and corporations realized that they could use design to influence the public and right here in Miami Beach, is an extraordinary museum dedicated to that idea.  It's called the Wolfsonian Collection of Decorative and Propaganda Arts, and it has over 70,000 objects that show you how the things that a society creates illustrates its political and cultural values.

CATHY LEFF ON CAMERA: Our interest is, in looking at objects as agents or reflections of political, technological and social change. So, we're really interested in the idea behind the object and the context in which it was created, or the message of the maker, as opposed to the maker or the aesthetic movement.

BURT WOLF: I was particularly interested in the history of the cocktail shaker.  It appears that one of the consequences of the First World War was a fear of foreigners, a fear that contributed to the passage of the Volstead Act, which prohibited the sale of alcoholic beverages.  In part, Prohibition was an attempt to Americanize the country by curbing the drinking habits of immigrants.  However, 14 years of Prohibition only contributed to the rise of drinking and especially of the cocktail.  A range of mixes were developed to mask the rough taste and extend the supply of the bootleg liquor.  Bartenders created rickeys, slings, smashes, and fizzes.  The modern cocktail became the hot drink in American Jazz Age speakeasies and home parties. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: The objects that are mass-produced by a society tell you a lot about what's going on or was going on in that community.  So does its architecture, and in terms of architecture, that is particularly true here in Miami. 

BURT WOLF: The stock market crash of 1929 introduced the Great Depression, the period of economic hardship for the entire nation during which there was very little consuming by the average consumer.  For the majority of Americans, any form of luxurious living during the 1930s was out of the question.  The Great Depression ended as the Second World War began, and once again conspicuous consumption was unavailable or unacceptable.  It was not until the early 1950s that the nation was ready to start spending, and it came up to the cash register with a shopping list that had been building up for twenty years.  We had it and we wanted to flaunt it.  On Miami beach, the buildings that best expressed that pent-up need for opulence were the Fontainebleu and the Eden Roc hotels, both named after great buildings in France and both outrageous.  The Deauville which was named after a resort area in France was right in there with them and has been restored to its original splendor as the Radisson Deauville Resort.  It was built as a movie set for the common people to play in, and boy! did it work.  The staircase is a perfect example.  You took the elevator down from your room to the mezzanine, then, in your mink stole, made your grand entrance. The wall of the room you entered looked modern but luxurious, a difficult trick because modern was supposed to be sparse. But sparse wouldn't sell to the masses.  The columns are also unusual.  Normally, columns are supposed to look like they are holding up something heavy.  These are clearly designed to look like they are not.  All they want to say is:  "Hey, look! we got columns." 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: They even have a barber shop that's right out of the 50s.  The chairs are like two-tone Chevy Belair.  They even have a handbrake. Vrmm. Vrmm. I love this place.

BURT WOLF: The idea of opulence is still very much alive in Miami, and these days it often shows up in a restaurant. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Now, the most recent group to immigrate to Miami came from Southeast Asia, and they helped create something called fusion cuisine.  But instead of showing up in small places in the Asian community, it often shows up in some of the city's most luxurious restaurants. 

BURT WOLF: Bambu is an example.  Two stories high, with a Zen-like decor, it was put together by a group that included the actress, Cameron Diaz.  The chef is Rob Boone whose menu focuses on the foods of Japan, China, Vietnam and Thailand.  Sushi, with freshly grated wasabi, Shanghai noodle pad thai with shrimp, green curry chicken with lime juice and coconut milk.  A nice assortment of teas. And for dessert, a selection of ripe tropical fruits with a mint drizzle. A Miami chef with an unusual ability to take the Asian influence and turn it into something new and special is Michael Schwartz.  His restaurant, called Nemo, is in South Beach, a block from the Atlantic Ocean. But considering the Chinese and Japanese elements, it could easily be on the other side of the Pacific Ocean.  The main course was wok charred salmon on a four-sprout salad. The recipe starts with a marinade of chopped garlic in sesame oil.  A boneless, skinless filet of salmon is spread with the marinade and allowed to sit in the refrigerator overnight.  Salmon was cut on an extreme angle in order to create as much surface as possible.  When you're ready to cook, a salad is made from four different kinds of sprouts, which are placed into a bowl along with a few slices of Bell peppers, red onion, and escarole and dressed with a soy lime vinaigrette.  A little oil is heated in a hot wok.  The salmon is set into the wok.  The side with the garlic marinade goes down.  And the fish cooks for two or three minutes.  You want the garlic and the ginger to char but not burn.  Then another minute of cooking on the other side, and it's on to the salad.  The heat of the salmon wilts the salad. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: That fish was cooked in a wok.  So, let me say a few words about woks.  Traditional Chinese stoves have a round hole in the top.  So, the wok is round to fit on it.  It's also wider than the hole, so it won't slide in.  We don't have that problem in the United States, and the best woks for us are flat on the bottom so they will sit firmly on our gas and electric ranges.  It's also nice to have a Western-style long handle.  Gives you a better grip, and a handle that won't respond to the heat is pretty good, too.  You also want a helper handle so you can move it more easily.  This one is about 14 inches wide, which is generally the best dimension for the average home.  It has a non-stick surface.  The black surface on the outside helps conduct heat better, and the shape of the wok is designed so that the foods will slide in to the center, which is the hottest part of the wok.  Nice stuff.  We can use it for deep fat frying, for stir frying.  You can put a steamer basket on it, or, if you pop a top on it, it's good for braising.

BURT WOLF: For dessert, we had freshly-baked biscotti with fruit sorbets.  Hedy Goldsmith is the pastry chef, and she started the recipe by whipping egg whites and lemon juice together until the whites began to stand in soft peaks, at which point sugar is slowly added until the whites form stiff peaks. Egg yolks, vanilla and lemon zest are mixed together then folded into the egg whites.  Flour is folded in, then a little more sugar and, finally, dried cherries, toasted almonds and dried cranberries. 

HEDY GOLDSMITH ON CAMERA: There's a real easy way to line the foil in the loaf pan.  You just invert the loaf pan.  Take your foil.  And actually, what you're gonna do is you're gonna make the shape of the loaf pan out of the foil.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Ah, it's so cool.


BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Even at my age, I can learn something new every day. 

HEDY GOLDSMITH ON CAMERA: Turn it over, and you already have the shape of the loaf pan.  Just place it right in.  And that's it.

BURT WOLF: Super.  The batter goes into a foil-lined loaf pan. Then the pan goes into a pre-heated oven for 30 minutes.  At which point, it comes out and gets covered with foil and then goes back in for 30 minutes more.  When it comes out, it rests.  The foil on top keeps the cake from forming a crust.  Then it's sliced and goes back into the oven for another half hour to dry. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: One of the keys to the success of this recipe is the accuracy of your oven, and the only way you're gonna know if your oven is accurate is to have an oven thermometer.  When you pick one out, make sure it has sturdy construction and a base, so you can sit it on the rack and a hook, so you can hang it on the rack.  You want a big, easy-read face with lots of contrast between the numbers and the background.  A third color should be there to the pointer.  You want it to have a temperature range of 100 degrees to over 500 degrees.  One of the reasons I like this one a lot is it responded quickly but not too quickly.  Remember, to get a reading, you're going to open the oven door.  Cold air is gonna come in.  If it responds too quickly, you'll never know what the actual temperature was when you were baking. You should always have an oven thermometer in your oven. 

BURT WOLF: When they come out, they're served with an assortment of fruit sorbets.  That recipe was adapted from Maida Heatter's "Brand New Book Of Great Cookies."  And let me tell you, Maida Heatter is one great cookie baker.  Every culture has a clear set of rules about how certain ingredients should be combined and when they should be eaten.  It’s fine to take flour and water and yeast and make it into a slice of bread that comes to breakfast with strawberry jam and a glass of milk.  But if I take the same ingredients and have strawberry shortcake for breakfast, people might think that's strange.  Now, the reason I've been thinking about this is because I saw these two little kids heading off to school at eight o'clock in the morning with ice cream cones.  I wondered why.  Excuse me. Where did you guys get these ice cream cones?

BOY 1 ON CAMERA: Over there at my dad's ice cream shop.

BOY 2 ON CAMERA: It’s great. You should get some.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: And he gives you ice cream?

BOY 1 and 2 ON CAMERA: Yeah.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: And it's ... right over there?



BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: And you're on your way to school?


BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: I love this.  Thank you.

BOY 1 and 2 ON CAMERA: You're welcome. 



BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: I just saw two young men walking off to school with ice cream cones.  They said you were their father, and that you give them ice cream cones for breakfast.

RICHARD ESPESO ON CAMERA: Yeah.  And I'm sure.  And I'm proud of it also.

BURT WOLF: I found out that their father owned one of the best ice cream and sorbet shops in Miami, and they stop in each morning on the way to school to get their breakfast milk, fruit and waffle in the form of an ice cream cone. Okay , I'll have a banana.




BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: See, that's a part of breakfast.  You always have bananas.

RICHARD ESPESO ON CAMERA: That's right.  You have bananas for breakfast.  But these even are better.  These have ... these are sorbets.  So, it's a non-fattening breakfast.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Oh! Okay.  Well, now I know where I’ll be having my breakfast in Miami.  How much is that?


BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Okay.  There you are.  Thanks a lot.

RICHARD ESPESO ON CAMERA: Well, thank you very much.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Nutritionists tell us that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and that we shouldn't miss it, and let me tell you. Those two kids never do. And speaking of not missing things, I hope you have enjoyed this visit to Greater Miami and the Beaches and that you will join us next time on Local Flavors. I'm Burt Wolf.

If you would like free copies of the recipes from this program, or hundreds of other recipes from Burt’s programs, to read his special reports from around the world and interviews with leading food authorities or to order a copy of The New Cooks’ Catalogue, a critical guide that tells you what to look for when purchasing cooking equipment and utensils, with over 1,000 color photographs and recipes, just visit Burt online at BURTWOLF.COM.

Local Flavors: Napa Valley, California - #101

For decades, people have been saying that the United States doesn't have its own cuisine  that all our gastronomic traditions were brought in from other cultures.  But in fact, there is no country with a significant culinary tradition that hasn't taken major elements from other places. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: It's just that they borrowed them so long ago and used them so often that they think they belong to them.  Like my son Stephen and my winter gloves.

But from time to time, there is a point in the history of a nation’s to eating and drinking where the quality of the ingredients and the talent of the chefs become so high that they take that borrowed base and make it into something completely new.  Something that becomes an indigenous cuisine for the nation.  That's happening in a number of places in the United States, but no more so than here in California's Napa Valley.

So join me, Burt Wolf, for a look at the local flavors of Napa Valley, California.

This simple building in Napa Valley is actually one of the hottest restaurants in the United States.  It's Thomas Keller's French Laundry.  Now, there are a number of things that can produce top quality restaurant cooking in an area.  Cooking which can evolve into a distinct culinary tradition.  First is money.  If people will not pay for top ingredients and talented chefs, not much is going to happen.  The second is a local agricultural tradition.  The area must be producing good things to eat or drink, wine, cheese, beef …something. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: New York City has some of the greatest restaurant cooking in the world.  But to tell you the truth, the only thing that New York City grows is money.  And they use that money to bring in great chefs and great ingredients.  But those chefs are primarily interested in their own creativity rather than creating a local cuisine.  The one place in the United States which appears to be developing a distinct cuisine which might turn out to be a truly American style is Napa Valley.

For the last 150 years, it has been an agricultural area, and recently it has begun to attract people of considerable wealth.  The first wine makers in California were Catholic missionaries who brought vines from Spain so they could make wine for their religious ceremonies. Today there are only nine Catholic churches in Napa Valley, but more than 240 wineries.  It has become the most densely concentrated wine producing region in the world.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA:  For the first 100 years, the wines of Napa Valley were much better off at mass than they were at meals.  But all that changed in 1976.  That was the year that a group of California wine makers organized a comparative tasting of their California wines against French cabernets and chardonnays.  The tasting was held in France.  And the judges were French wine makers and French wine journalists.  The Americans won in both categories.  The world's perception of California wine was permanently changed. You know, when it comes to the making of food and wine, there's something very special going on in Napa Valley. 

A good place to take a look at the modern history of wine making in California is the Beaulieu Vineyard in Rutherford.  During the early 1900s, Georges de Latour, a chemist from a French grape growing family, founded his own winery in Napa Valley.  During Prohibition, Beaulieu prospered while other wineries were forced to close.  Georges happened to hold the contract to supply altar wine to the Archdiocese of San Francisco.  And churches across the country looked to the Archdiocese in San Francisco for their own altar wine. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: The Archdiocese referred those requests to Georges.  And Georges shipped hundreds of boxcars filled with his finest wine to the churches of the Midwest and the East Coast. 

And even though Georges was making wine for religious purposes he always made the finest wines he could.  And as those boxcars passed through Chicago, many of them mysteriously disappeared!  It seems like the fine vintages that were being presented in the mornings at mass were showing up at speakeasy meals at night.

When Prohibition ended in 1933, Beaulieu was producing excellent wines and Georges' socially connected wife began promoting them to San Francisco society.  But Georges was always interested in improving his wine.  So in 1938, he hired Andre Tchelistcheff, a Russian born, French trained wine expert who had studied at the Pasteur Institute.  Andre revolutionized wine making throughout California.

BURT WOLF AND JOEL AIKEN WALKING: Today, one of his students, Joel Aiken, is the Director of Wine Making at Beaulieu Vineyards.  Joel is also one of the great experts on how the barrel that a wine is aged in affects the taste of the wine. 

JOEL AIKEN ON CAMERA: Well in a small oak barrel, you get flavor from the wood.  It's a beautiful flavor.  The wood is aged and toasted to get a smoky, toasty, woody character that complements the wine.

JOEL AIKEN:  It's wood, so it actually breathes a little bit and it turns a very young, green, harsh wine into a nice, mature, full-bodied wine that you would want to drink.

BURT WOLF: One of the indications of the importance of wine making in Napa Valley is that the most famous wine barrel maker of France, Seguin Moreau, has set up a classic barrel making facility in the Valley.  Visitors can come in and see barrels being made with the same procedures and the same tools that have been used for hundreds of years. Our best guess is that barrel making techniques

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA:  were developed by prehistoric boat builders to keep water out.  But by about 2000 B.C., we see that barrel makers are using them to keep water in.  The first written reference we have to barrel making was actually Julius Caesar when he described the ancient Gauls of France rolling barrels filled with burning pitch at his troops.  In the 300s, it got to be big business.  The Catholic Church was ordering huge vats with deep submersion baptism of the newly converted.  And in the 1600s it gets to be an even bigger business when international trade and intercity trade expand and everybody wants to ship something in a barrel. 

The barrel maker is known as a cooper.  And he starts his work by selecting about 30 oak staves that were harvested two years ago, dried, and matured in the company's wood yards.  They're assembled into the shape of a barrel and held in place with metal hoops.  This process is called raising the barrel, or making the rows.  For the next half hour, the barrel is heated over a wood fired flame where the cooper sprays water inside and out.  The heat and the humidity give the wood flexibility. 

A winch is used to gradually tighten and arch the staves  producing the traditional barrel shape at which point additional metal hoops are set in place.  The dome shape that results is exceptionally sturdy and resistant to stress.  When it is lying down, which is its natural position, the entire mass of the form rests on a few square inches.  A child can easily maneuver a full, 350 liter cask with one hand.

The newly formed barrel is ready for a 15 to 20 minute toasting over an open flame.  Only the inside is toasted, and the amount of toasting is set by the winery that ordered the barrel.  Toasting changes the chemical makeup of the wood.  Hundreds of different compounds are developed, each with its own flavor and aroma.  Vanillin is the most dominant flavor, but every compound imparts some element to the wine that will be stored in the barrel.  Each wine maker has slightly different specifications for toasting all part of his attempt to control the final taste and aroma of the wine. 

After toasting, the staves are trimmed, and grooves cut in place for the barrel heads that close the ends.  The heads are cut and measured and set in place.  The final hoops go on.  Some sanding and finishing to bring out the beauty of the oak.  And finally, as coopers have done for hundreds of years, the master craftsman signs his work which means, it's time to barrel along.

The first restaurant in Napa Valley to develop an international reputation for good cooking was Mustards Grill.  It opened in 1983 with a menu that was based on regional American cooking ... which was unusual for the time.  Mustards is as easy and friendly a place as you can find.  The first course was crispy rounds of calamari with curried slaw and arugula.  Next, a grilled Mongolian pork chop with mashed potatoes and red cabbage.  The chop was marinated in hoisin sauce which adds a sweet, caramelized flavor.  For dessert lemon lime meringue pie garnished with candied lemon zest - best I've ever had.

Mustards Grill is located in the town of Yountville, which is also where you will find my favorite spot for breakfast, a down home diner cleverly called, "The Diner."  Locals love this place.  It's comfortable, friendly, and it has a great collection of art deco Fiestaware from the 1930s.  Kaaren Gann runs the place and her specialties include cornmeal pancakes with smoky linked sausage; huevos rancheros with home made enchilada sauce and chicken apple sausage; her renowned buttermilk milkshake; and last but not least, the Yountville scramble.  Scrambled eggs, feta cheese, sweet peppers and onions served with seasoned potatoes, grilled onions and melted cheddar along with focaccia bread.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: And what will the crew be eating?

KAAREN GANN ON CAMERA: They can eat anything they want. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Because this is all mine.

KAAREN GANN ON CAMERA: That’s all yours, okay.

A dramatic way to get a look at Napa Valley is to take a ride in the wine plane.  Jim Higgins and his wife Kim will take guests on a private aerial tour.  It gives you a unique view of how the vineyards, mountains, lakes and canyons come together to form this beautiful valley.

JIM HIGGINS: I find this to be a particularly interesting and beautiful part because of the way that the vines kind of hang on to the hillside.  They have to really struggle to grow.  There is such fantastic drainage here that the root system actually has to dig down and work very hard.  When the vine has to work hard, it produces a more flavorful, intense grape.  And it typically works out that whatever looks good from the air typically tastes good in your glass as well.  And down to the right, you'll notice as we circle around Meadowood Napa Valley nestled in the hills.  It has its own private little valley, and you can see it clearly defined here by the golf course.  And then if you look at the large green spot in the middle that's a perfect square, that's the croquet lawn.

Meadowood is one of the great resorts in northern California, and its chef, Pilar Sanchez

will resort to any means to make a great meal.

PILAR SANCHEZ ON CAMERA: This is why chefs don't go to the gym.  We just work out.

BURT WOLF: Her opening course was a warm radicchio salad.  And the first thing that Pilar did was make a vinaigrette.  The vinaigrette is made from balsamic vinegar, sage, thyme and tarragon.  And the tool that she is using is an all-purpose wire whisk.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: The job of a whisk is to multiply a single stroke into many  and that's what these wires do.  If you’re going to get an all-purpose whisk, the classic pear shape is best.  You want to make sure that there's a water-tight seal here at the top of the handle so your dishwasher can do the job it's nice to have a hook at the bottom and an ergonomic, easier grip handle is a good idea, too.

PILAR SANCHEZ: So, to this we add our radicchio that I've quartered, and then this is going to go on to the grill.

BURT WOLF: How long do you cook it?

PILAR SANCHEZ: Uh, just a couple of minutes.  Like I said, I'm just going to char it on the end, it's going to end up raw in the center.  What I'm looking for is that charred flavor.

BURT WOLF: If I don't have an open grill like this at home, can I do it in a grill pan?

PILAR SANCHEZ: A grill pan would work great.  Yes. 

PILAR SANCHEZ ON CAMERA: All right.  So, we're just going to rough chop that into bite sized pieces, like so, and then what makes this salad so special is this wonderful goat cheese that is made here in Saint Helena and I'm going to shave a good amount into it.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Pilar was using a potato peeler.  Now, potato peelers were originally designed to cut a paper thin layer of potato skin off a potato, or skin off a carrot.  When you're picking one out, best of class will usually be a swivel blade and two blades so you can draw it across it towards you.  And make sure it has a really good grip.

Next the radicchio is plated into the center of a dish and garnished with dried figs that have been poached in port wine and some thin slices of pancetta,  an Italian bacon that has been baked.

PILAR SANCHEZ: And then to finish it off,  red balsamic syrup.

BURT WOLF: Beautiful.


BURT WOLF: The main course is a pork tenderloin that is served with sweet potatoes, yams, bok choy, mushrooms, and a shallot and sake sauce.

PILAR SANCHEZ ON CAMERA: So, we're going to start by salting and peppering, which I can use some help with ...


PILAR SANCHEZ: I’ll put that over for you …

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Let me tell you what to look for when you're buying a pepper mill.  First thing is a comfortable grip.  Second, the system for refilling the mill should be different from the system for setting the grind.  You want to be able to open it up, have a wide mouth, get the peppercorns in easily, and then close it up independently of the screw that adjusts the grinds.  Because if it's the same screw that opens it to refill, then every time you refill it, you're going to have to re-find your spot where you have the grind that you want.  You also should have blades that are either stainless steel or ceramic, they will really hold their edge for a long time.  And you want it to hold at least a half a cup of pepper if you're going to put it in the kitchen.  It can hold less if it's at the table.

PILAR SANCHEZ: All right.  So, we're going to put it in my hot pan here, that I've got olive oil ready so, I'm going to just give it a nice color on all sides.  And then this is going to go into the oven for about five to seven minutes.

BURT WOLF: Mushrooms are sautéed.  Bok choy, also known as Chinese cabbage, is sautéed.  Sweet potatoes and yams are baked and then sliced.  A cylinder shaped mold is placed in the center of a warm plate.  The potatoes go into the bottom, then the bok choy, then the mushrooms ... finally, slices of the pork are fanned out on top and the mold is removed.

Wow. The shallot and sake sauce is poured around the dish, and it's ready to serve. 

Dessert was a lemon soufflé with chocolate ice cream.  The recipe starts with milk, slices of lemon peel and vanilla beans being scalded in a sauce pan.  Egg yolks and sugar are beaten together.  Pilar is using a heavy duty standing mixer

BURT WOLF ON CMAERA:  which will whip, beat, blend and knead.  And if you do a lot of baking, you're going to need one.

Next, flour is blended into the egg yolk mixture.

PILAR SANCHEZ ON CAMERA: Now, the flavors have infused into our milk it's nice and hot so, I'm slowly going to add it to our egg mixture.

BURT WOLF: The best mixers are operated with planetary action which means that the beater rotates around its own axis in the same way the Earth spins around.  And at the same time, the beater also orbits around the bowl the way the Earth revolves around the Sun. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Planetary action produces better contact between the beater and the ingredients, and the beater and the sides of the bowl which means you have to spend less time pushing down the ingredients with a spatula.

Next, egg whites are whipped with sugar until they stand in peaks.  If you're into body building,

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: you can whip those egg whites into shape in a copper bowl.  There's a chemical interaction between the copper and the egg whites that produces a thick foam texture that will hold its shape better when additional ingredients go in.  When you're picking out a bowl, you want one that is twice as wide as it is deep.  It should have a thick rim that will hold its shape when you bang against it and about a 12 inch diameter is the best for the home cook. 

Then the milk mixture comes out of the fridge.

PILAR SANCHEZ ON CAMERA: Right.  This is our pastry cream and then about one part of pastry cream, I'm going to add three spoonfuls of egg white.  And then since we're making a lemon soufflé, we'll add lemon zest.  And it goes into our prepared mold which has been buttered very thoroughly, and then into a 350 degree oven it goes.  And it comes out looking something like that.  Now, to present it to your guests, I use ice cream.  So, I'm simply going to pop my chocolate ice cream into that and that serves as my sauce and a conversation piece.

BURT WOLF:  Pilar's dessert may be a conversation piece but in Napa, a piece of almost every conversation is devoted to wine.  In these days, that includes the glassware that the wine is being served in.  The makers of Riedel Glassware believe that the shape of a glass affects the taste of the wine you serve it in.  In fact, they feel that each grape variety requires its own distinct glass.  While I was in Napa, I invited a group of wine experts to join me for a test.  We tasted the same wine in different glasses.  Ellie Mitchell walked us through the process.

ELLIE MITCHELL: We perceive sweetness at the tip of the tongue, acid and salt at the sides and underneath, and bitterness at the back of the tongue.  And our glasses are designed to direct the flow of the wine to the proper taste zones of the tongue to accentuate fruit and de-accentuate acid.  This glass is designed for sauvignon blanc go ahead and take a sip.  Sauvignon blanc is high in acid.  This glass directs the flow of the wine right to the tip of the tongue so that the fruit is accentuated.

JOHN THOREEN ON CAMERA: There's a core of fruit and just the right amount of acidity.

ELLIE MITCHELL: The acids are there for a really important reason and once the wine's in your mouth, the acids and tannins kick in and balance out at the proper time to give you a completely balanced wine.      

ELLIE MITCHELL ON CAMERA: Let's pour all of your sauvignon blanc into glass number one and smell it and tell me what you're smelling.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: I can hardly smell it in this glass.

ELLIE MITCHELL: It's gone.  Now, go ahead and take a sip of it.

BURT WOLF: Completely different.  From the Riedel glass, I had the acidity across the front of my tongue and quickly down the side.  And I'm not getting any of it in this glass.

RICHARD WILLIAMS: It feels almost dead.


ELLIE MITCHELL: Now, let's move on to the Bordeaux glass.  And this glass is great for any Bordeaux style wine.  And what we're tasting right now is the Beaulieu Vineyards, and it's the Georges de Latour, it's their Private Reserve, 1996.

JOHN THOREEN: Gorgeous stuff.

BURT WOLF: Today, Riedel makes dozens of different glasses for dozens of different wines.  And most wine lovers agree that they clearly affect the taste of the wine and for the better.

ELLIE MITCHELL: Does anybody need a little bit more wine?


ELLIE MITCHELL: Is there another bottle?

BURT WOLF: I am going to get another bottle.


BURT WOLF: And my favorite wine opener.


BURT WOLF: Don't anybody drink until I get back.

All right. 

BURT WOLF: Okay.  And this is a Screwpull so we lock it on there and you pull it like that and that goes down into it.  I think it's coated with a non-stick surface and then you reverse it and it comes out.  And then you reverse it again and you lose the cork out of it.  And as long as you're here, I will point out to you when you're looking for a good corkscrew, whatever it is look right down the center and it appears to be hollow that will do a much better job for you because it gets a better grip on the cork.  If it just looks like a nail with ridges around the outside, it's much more likely to rip the cork apart.

One of the great things about Napa Valley is its gastronomic range and the extraordinary quality throughout its spectrum.  You can sit down to a formal meal at La Toque where chef Ken Frank will present a magnificent menu.

KEN FRANK ON CAMERA  AT TABLE (WITH BURT WOLF): Well, we have three different dishes here.  The first one is an unusual onion soup in that it's an old French recipe with some Roquefort cheese and a little splash of Armagnac.  The second dish here is a roast saddle of lamb with pear poached in red wine and then a sauce made from that spiced red wine and what we call our double-fried tarragon potatoes.  They're really just little square cut French fries, but they're really tasty, as of course, French fries would be, too.  And the third dish here is a deep toasted pineapple fritter with a hot buttered rum sauce and coconut ice cream.

BURT WOLF: Of course, if you're not in the mood for roast saddle of lamb, you can get on line at Taylor's Refresher for what many experts believe is the best drive-in, take-out hamburger in the country. Great fries, onion rings and milkshakes ... I strongly recommend it.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Well, that's a brief look at the local flavors of Napa Valley.  I hope you have found it refreshing.  And I hope you will join me next time.  I'm Burt Wolf.

If you would like free copies of the recipes from this program, or hundreds of other recipes from Burt’s programs, to read his special reports from around the world and interviews with leading food authorities or to order a copy of The New Cooks’ Catalogue, a critical guide that tells you what to look for when purchasing cooking equipment and utensils, with over 1,000 color photographs and recipes, just visit Burt online at BURTWOLF.COM.