Origins: The Sweets of Milan - #126

Every place in the world has a series of things that give that spot a special character... and make it different from every other place.  When you look at the ORIGINS of these things, you often end up with a better appreciation of the territory -- and that makes it a lot more interesting to visit.  And sometimes, these ORIGINS help us understand why we live the way we do.

The province of Lombardia, at the base of the Alpine mountain range, forms the center of Italy’s northern border.  Lombardia got its name from the Lombards, a German tribe that invaded Italy in the 500s.  And invasion has been a serious problem for the area ever since.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  During the 700s Charlemagne came into the neighborhood and set himself up as king.  Then Barbarossa arrived and sacked the place.  In the 1500s the French took over, followed by the Austrians, and then the Spanish.  Then a second period of domination by the French under Napoleon and finally a second period of domination by the Austrians.  Lombardia didn’t actually become part of Italy until 1859.  A difficult history in terms of power and politics but very tasty in terms of what each of the invaders brought to the Lombardian plate.

Today, Lombardia is the third-richest province in Europe, and Milan, its regional capital, is the country’s financial center.  Milan is well-known as a focus for banking, communications, fashion, and publishing.  But it’s also the heart of an important agricultural area, and the source of some of Italy’s best cooking.

The Spanish arrived in the middle of the 1500s and during their two hundred years of rule they introduced rice-growing to northern Italy, along with the recipe which eventually became risotto.  The Spanish also imported saffron.  Together these two ingredients produce Risotto alla Milanese, one of the most traditional dishes of the city.  The Spanish also brought in Cassoela, a dish of braised pork, sausages and cabbage.  The Milanese consider Cassoela as one of their great comfort foods.

The Austrians took over from the Spanish in the early 1700s, and you can see their influence in a dish like Costoletta Milanese, a pounded and breaded veal chop with the bone in, sautéed in butter.  Very similar to the schnitzel dishes of Austria and Germany.

And when the French House of Savoy took a turn in the kitchen they left their Brioche recipe with the Italian bakers.

The Milanese took the pastries of France and Austria and invented a shop that is a combination bakery, pastry shop, candy store and coffee bar.  And they’re one of the great pleasures for both local residents and visitors.

And in response to the mid-day rush of a modern commercial center, the Milanese have adopted the sandwich, which they’ve modified to meet their own idea of what a quick lunch should be.

Other classic recipes from Milan include Minestrone alla Milanese, a vegetable soup that has become a favorite throughout Italy...

Osso Buco alla Milanese, braised veal shank cooked with garlic, parsley, and lemon zest...

Bollito Misto, a collection of boiled meats and one of the great winter dishes.

Polenta, made from corn meal, is Italy’s answer to grits.  It’s served as a soft mush or dried and cut into blocks, and then sautéed.

The cows of Lombardia give excellent milk which is used to make butter, which is in turn used as for much of the cooking instead of oil.  The local dairy farmers also produce a wide selection of cheeses; their most famous is a fresh Gorgonzola.

Those are some of the traditional dishes for the cooks of Milan, and the place to get the ingredients for those recipes is an area around the Via Spadari, and the Via Victor Hugo.  This is one of the best market districts in the world.

And this is Antonio Piccinardi.  In Italy he’s well known for his books and magazine articles on food and wine, including a recent guide to the restaurants of Italy.

BURT WOLF:  What a place!

ANTONIO PICCINARDI:  This one is the oldest place in Milano.  It’s more than one century old.  People from Czechoslovakia came here, opened the shop more than a hundred years ago.  It was a small shop and now it’s the biggest one.

BURT WOLF:  Lots of prepared foods; ready to eat.


BURT WOLF:  Beautiful salmon...

ANTONIO PICCINARDI:  Fresh salmon... That’s octopus.

BURT WOLF:  Octopus!

ANTONIO PICCINARDI:  A big octopus.  They are very, very tender now.

BURT WOLF:  And a Russian salad?

ANTONIO PICCINARDI:  A Russian salad, yes.

BURT WOLF:  Is this before or after the Revolution?

ANTONIO PICCINARDI:  After the Revolution.

BURT WOLF:  After the revolution.  And truffles!

ANTONIO PICCINARDI:  Truffles, yes, that is in season now.

BURT WOLF:  520,000 Lira...?

ANTONIO PICCINARDI:  Yes.  For a kilo.

BURT WOLF:  That’s $1,500 a pound!


BURT WOLF:  Why would somebody pay $1,500 a pound?

ANTONIO PICCINARDI:  Because they are crazy, I think.  Because that’s a lot of money.

BURT WOLF:  At $1,500 a pound, whether I’m crazy or not, I want to be able to judge the quality.  How do you judge the quality of a truffle?

ANTONIO PICCINARDI:  Well, first of all, the perfume; it’s the most important.  And then the scale; you see the size, the big size, they are kind of round.  And these ones, more expensive, come from Piedmont, Alba.

BURT WOLF:  Alba.  So it’s the size...


BURT WOLF:  ...the smoothness...

ANTONIO PICCINARDI:  ...the smoothness...

BURT WOLF:  Could we get a smell?

ANTONIO PICCINARDI:  Yes, of course.

BURT WOLF:  Do they charge for a smell?


BURT WOLF:  First smell is free?

ANTONIO PICCINARDI: (orders truffle in Italian)

BURT WOLF:  Okay... Very intense perfume.


BURT WOLF:  It’s about three dollars worth of smell now.

ANTONIO PICCINARDI:  Yes, it’s enough now.  Otherwise it’ll be more expensive.

BURT WOLF:  What are those called?


BURT WOLF:  Alkikinger.

ANTONIO PICCINARDI:  It is a kind of seed and fruit together.

BURT WOLF:  Let’s just show people what that’s like.  May I have one of those?

ANTONIO PICCINARDI:  (Requests alkikinger in Italian)

BURT WOLF:  I want to show everyone what this is like.  Okay.  This is somewhere between a grape and cherry...?

ANTONIO PICCINARDI:  A grape and cherry, yes.

BURT WOLF:  See?  Very unusual.  Very good.  I only did this so you could see it.

Italy is famous for its sweets, both its confections and pastries, and there are historical reasons for this notoriety, reasons that go back for almost a thousand years.

For thousands of years, honey was the primary sweetening in the human diet.  And during those years, it became a symbol for goodness and purity.  For centuries, honey lived its sweet life without competition.  And then, in the 11th century, things began to change.  Sugar arrived from the east, and western food has never been the same.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  We know that for at least 2,000 years sugar has been in use in both the Near East and the Far East.  And the Arabs brought it to Sicily and Spain during the 700s.  But nobody in Europe really paid much attention to sugar until the time of the Crusades.  The Crusaders got a really good look at the stuff in Tripoli and very soon thereafter it was being imported to Europe by the traders in Venice.  But for over four hundred years, it was rare, it was expensive, it was used only as a spice or a medicine, and only by the very rich.

Nevertheless, from the very beginning of its use in Europe, we can document an increase in the number of recipes using sugar.  Our sweet tooth had begun to grow.  And when sugar production got started in the Caribbean, the sugar business took off.  Suddenly there was a clear increase in the use of sugar in place of honey.  As sugar became more and more available, and at a lower and lower price, the general public began to use it as much as possible.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Sugar made them feel that they were eating like a king.  And sugar became an important item of international trade, which was never the case with honey.  Sugar was big business, and it was a sweet deal for the governments that taxed it.  Sugar became the first luxury to end up as a mainstay in the diet of an entire continent.

But even in the early years when sugar was coming into Europe as a rare and expensive spice, the Italians were developing pastry and candy recipes that used sugar as the sweetening agent.  The Italians also began to develop an international reputation for their skill with sugar.  They were so well thought of in this area that up until the last century it was the custom for wealthy households to employ Italian pastry cooks and confectioners along with their French chefs.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Many of the early European specialists in pastry and confectionery were from northern Italy.  They had learned about sugar from the Arabs who were living in Sicily and from the Crusaders who brought it back here in the 1100s.  They also had easy access to the spices that were coming in through Venice.  One of the earliest recorded examples of their skills deals with a recipe for a cake called Panettone.  There are lots of stories about how Panettone got started but the most popular is set here in Milan in 1490.

A young nobleman falls in love with the daughter of a baker named Toni.  To impress the girl’s father, the young man disguises himself as a baker’s assistant and goes to work in Toni’s bake shop.  While he’s there, he invents a sweet, delicate, dome-shaped yeast bread made of flour, eggs, milk, butter, raisins and candied fruit.  The cake becomes wildly popular and people come to the bakery from far and wide to buy what is called Pan de Toni, which translates into English as “Toni’s bread.”  The young man becomes a hero to the father, the marriage takes place, and everyone lives happily ever after.

For many years Panettone was a traditional Christmas gift given by the businessmen of Milan to their employees.  Today it is a favorite cake throughout Italy and eaten throughout the year.

And there are a number of other Italian pastries that are developing an international audience.  In addition to Panettone there is Pandoro, Panforte, Torrone and the cookies of Sienna.  And each comes with their own folklore.

Pandoro, which means “the bread of gold,” originated in the city of Verona, the home of Romeo and Juliet.  Some historians believe that in the 1400s, when the Venetian Republic was using recipes to display their wealth and power, Pandoro got started as a cake that was covered in gold leaf.  During the 1700s, when Venice was not doing as well, Pandoro evolved into a Christmas cake in the shape of a tree with a powdered sugar star on top.  It’s a rich cake made with eggs, butter and sugar.  Today it’s no longer confined to the Christmas season and often comes to the table as a dessert stuffed with ice cream, topped with fruit, or drizzled with a rum sauce.

Next is Panforte -- made from candied fruits -- mostly orange and lemon -- almonds, spices and honey.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  The story of Panforte got started in a nunnery in Siena.  In order to take a census of the local population the head of the nunnery asked everybody in the neighborhood to bring in a cake made from spices and honey.  The nuns liked the result, made it an annual event and eventually the recipe became standardized into what we now call Panforte.  The most popular version is called Margherita and was first produced in 1879 to mark a state visit of Queen Margherita of Savoy to the town of Siena.  I’ll bet you didn’t know any of that.  And I hope it improves your appreciation of Panforte.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Just about everything on the Italian menu comes with a story.  One of the most unusual is the tale of Torrone.  On October 24th 1441, Bianca Maria Visconti married Francesco Sforza.  These two came from the most important families in Milan and the wedding was a major social event.  The bride’s dowry contained an extraordinary collection of things -- including the city of Cremona just outside of Milan.  I love that.  “Marry my daughter and I will give you this nice little city as a wedding gift.”  The mind boggles.  So Sforza gets Cremona, and the bakers of the city commemorate the event by making a candy in the shape of the tower.  Actually the tower’s considerably bigger than this, this is just a scale model.  It’s made from almonds, and honey and whipped egg whites that have been baked for hours.

Big hit at the wedding.  And the guests who had come from all over Europe began asking for samples of the Torrone to take back home.  These days the tower is somewhat modified in form, looks more like the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York, but the confection is more popular than ever.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  The Italians are also master cookie bakers.  It seems that during the middle ages when the monks were in the monasteries transcribing illuminated manuscripts, they were taking regular breaks from their drawing boards to work on cookie recipes.  Can you believe that?  And many of those recipes still exist and are produced by bakeries.  They’re usually placed in rather elaborate packages and are actually available around the world.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  I tell you, those monasteries offered some great meal plans.  The Benedictines developed Benedictine.  The Chartreusians developed Chartreuse.  The Cistercians had one of the great wine businesses in the world.  And the guys here in Italy were developing cookie recipes.  No wonder every time I see a contemporary painting of a monk in a monastery he looks particularly well fed.

In the area of sweets, two that stand out are the Colomba and the filled Easter eggs.

The Colomba is a yeast cake made with butter, egg yolks, milk, sugar, orange peel, and almonds.  It has a soft and delicate texture, a golden crust, it always comes in the shape of a dove, and has been associated with Easter for many centuries.  It is a traditional dessert at Easter time.

The Colomba is said to have originated as a result of the Battle of Legnano, which took place just after Easter in 1176.  Things were not going well for the Milanese as they defended their city against an attack by Barbarosa... until  three doves flew out of a nearby church.  The birds appear to have flown an air-support mission that dropped bad luck on Barbarosa and delivered victory to the Milanese.  The cake reminds Milan of this triumph.

Filled candied eggs are another Easter tradition in Italy.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Easter is a celebration of rebirth.  The rebirth of the sun.  The rebirth of the growing season.  The rebirth of Christ.  The egg is a symbol of rebirth and when it is filled with a sweet surprise it is also a symbol of the sweet surprise of resurrection and the sweet surprise of everlasting life.

The next part of Italy’s sweet life deals with chocolate... a subject that has more to do with matters of the flesh than of the soul.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Chocolate is a New World food that was first shown to Europeans when the Mexican emperor Montezuma gave a sample to the Spanish explorer Cortez.  When it got back to Spain it was held as a court secret for over a hundred years inside the royal household and the churches.  Until a group of traveling monks got their hands on some of it and brought it back to Italy, where it was mixed with sugar and spice and everything nice that was being imported by the traders in Venice.

Chocolate in the form of candy became an important part of Italian confection.  It shows up in a number of famous forms.  Two of the most popular are Baci and Gianduiotti.  Gianduiotti is a mixture of chocolate, cocoa powder, sugar, and hazelnuts and it’s always presented in this distinct shape.  It was introduced in 1852 in the northern Italian city of Torino in the district of Piedmont.  The chocolate is named after Gian d’la duja, a symbol of the struggle for freedom and independence that was fought in the Piedmont at the end of the 1700s.

Baci is the Italian word for “kisses,” and it has been applied to this candy since 1907.  Young Giovanni Buitoni had been sent by his family to set up a candy factory in Perugia. Luisa Spagnoli was the product developer.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  They fell in love but were forced to keep their relationship a secret.  They exchanged their messages of love by wrapping notes in the chocolate samples that they sent up and back between them.  Today Baci contains a message of love in every package to commemorate that relationship.

The final chapter in the book of Italian sweets contains the biscotti, the amaretti and the cantuccini.


The baking of biscotti in Italy became important during the 1600s when the Venetian navy began searching for foods that would not go bad at sea.  They realized that dried cookies would be perfect and set up a Biscotti Procurement Office.  I would have liked to have worked there.  During the 1800s the manufacturers widened their audience, in more ways than one, by marketing their biscotti to the upper classes.  They designed all of their packaging to attract the rich and famous.  Biscotti, by the way, is not the Italian word for “biscuit;” it means “twice baked.”

Amaretti are light, crisp confections made from egg whites, sugar and the ground kernels of apricots.  They were invented in 1789 to surprise the Bishop of Milan, who was surprising the people of Saronna with a surprise visit.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Cantuccini are almond cookies that were originally developed in Tuscany but are now popular all over Italy.  Like biscotti they are twice-baked.  You take cantuccini dough and you roll it out into a tube, bake it, take it out of the oven, then slice it along the diagonal to get little disks like this.  They’re laid out on a tray and baked a second time.  Biscotti and cantuccini tend to come to the table at the end of a meal to be taken with coffee or dipped into sweet wine.

This is Milan’s Hotel Principe di Savoia.  It opened in 1927 and was designed as a new type of hotel.  There had been luxury hotels for tourists, and there had been efficient hotels for business travelers.  But the Principe was the first hotel designed to meet the needs of the traveling business executive in surroundings that were luxurious.

Today the Principe di Savoia is part of ITT Sheraton’s Luxury Collection, and the original objectives are still being pursued.  The main bar looks like the winter gardens that were popular at the turn of the century -- a courtyard enclosed by a dome of glass.  The Cafe Doney, serving pastries and an afternoon tea.  The Galleria Restaurant, for more formal dining.  These environments worked in the 1920s and they still work.

The executive chef is Romano Resen and today he’s making two of the traditional desserts of Milan.  The first is a sweet soft custard known as Zabaglione.

Romano starts by putting five egg yolks into a copper bowl.  Five heaping tablespoons of sugar are added.  Then three ounces of sweet Marsala wine.  Those ingredients are mixed together, at which point the bowl is set over a saucepan of simmering, not boiling, water.  You don’t want to cook the eggs; you just want to heat the mixture as you whisk it into a custard.  That will take about twenty minutes.  When it’s ready, it is served in a cup with some soft cookies for dipping.  The cookies are called Savoiardi, and they are like small ladyfingers.  An alternative way of presenting the zabaglione is to take a slice of the Italian cake known as Panettone, cover it with strawberries, pour the zabaglione on top and heat all of that under a broiler for two minutes.  It’s hot stuff.

The second recipe is for Tiramisu, a layering of custard and cake that has been moistened with rum and espresso coffee.

The recipe starts with three egg yolks going into a mixing bowl, along with two tablespoons of sugar.  Then a half teaspoon of vanilla extract, and the juice of half a lemon and a tablespoon of rum.  The rum is optional.  But a half cup of the creamy soft Italian cheese known as mascarpone is not.  This is the key to the dish.  Whisk those ingredients together.  Then blend in a cup of whipped cream and two egg whites that have been whipped until they stand in peaks.  Be gentle when you whisk in the egg whites, you don’t want to beat out the air that you just beat in.  A piece of sponge cake or a slice of the Italian cake known as Pandoro is sliced into a square that is about two inches by two inches and one inch deep.  That’s sliced in half and one piece is set into a mold.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Now, if you don’t have a square pastry form like this, you can take a tuna can, cut out the top and the bottom, wash it carefully and use that to make the form.

Then a mixture is made from some espresso coffee, a little sugar and some Marsala wine.  That’s painted onto the cake.  A layer of the egg mixture goes onto the cake.  Then another layer of the cake.  A quick paint job with the coffee mixture.  And a final layer of the egg custard.  Then an hour in the refrigerator to harden things up.  At which point a light dusting of cocoa powder goes on.  The frame comes off.  And a garnish of chocolate goes on.  Or is that my grandmother’s brooch?  No, just chocolate with a little gold on top.  Well -- that’s it.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Well, that’s a look at some of the traditional foods of Milan and the sweet life of Italy -- please join us next time as we travel around the world.  I’m Burt Wolf.

Origins: A Taste of Scotland - #125

Every place in the world has a series of things that give that spot a special character... and make it different from every other place.  When you look at the ORIGINS of these things, you often end up with a better appreciation of the territory -- and that makes it a lot more interesting to visit.  And sometimes, these ORIGINS help us understand why we live the way we do.

The Scottish city of Edinburgh is one of the great capitals of Northern Europe.  Situated on the east coast of Great Britain, it has a long history of trading with France, the Netherlands and Scandinavia.  It’s a beautiful city and quite interesting to visit.  The Old Town is one of the ancient settlements of Scotland.  It was developed as a walled city and much of its architecture has been preserved.  You can walk through its narrow walkways and see what life was like during the fifteen- and sixteen-hundreds.

Gladstone’s Land is a restored shop and home that was originally constructed in 1617.

There’s the High Kirk of St. Giles, the great Gothic church which is the home of the established Church of Scotland.

You can pop into the Castle and take a peek at the crown jewels...

And then there’s The New Town, which got started in 1767.  It came about as part of Scotland’s participation in what has come to be known as the Age of Enlightenment, a period of intellectual, cultural and industrial expansion that ran throughout the 18th Century.

Georgian House is a museum which clearly presents life in the New Town as it was in the late 1700’s.  The details of its kitchen and dining room are quite extraordinary.

Which brings me to the subject of food.  Edinburgh has dozens of very good places for eating and drinking.  And yet, for many years all of Scotland has had, shall we say, a weak image in the world of gastronomy.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  When most people think about Scottish food they come up with, shall we say, less than the most enticing images.

First to mind is usually Haggis, a nationally famous dish made from the innards of sheep that have been chopped up and boiled in the lining of a sheep’s stomach.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  And then they stop thinking about Scottish food and desperately try to think about something else.  Reflect for a moment.  You’ve undoubtedly heard people say: “Let’s go out for French food, or Italian food, or Chinese food.  But I’ll bet you, that you have never heard anybody say: “Let’s go out for Scottish food.”

And yet, for the last few years, I have been having really good meals in Scotland.

I would like to introduce you to Catherine Brown.  She’s the author of a number of books on Scottish gastronomy, including Scottish Cookery and Broths to Bannocks which traces the history of Scottish cooking from 1690 to the present.

CATHERINE BROWN:  Our cooking is based on our good raw materials, on our fish, salmon, our game, our beef... very, very fine quality beef in Scotland.  And also in our cold climate which -- we are cold northerners so that we depend on good warming things, good substantial food; and thirdly, our cooking is dependent on the way that we cook which is different to other, to the rest of the UK.  Because we, our tradition is to cook in a pot, in a large pot over a slow-burning peat fire which gives us not only good broths and stews, but also gives us our national dish, Haggis.

BURT WOLF:  If I were a tourist coming to Scotland for the first time, what would you want me to taste?

CATHERINE BROWN:  Well, there’s quite an interesting dessert which you should have if you, if you come across it in its traditional form.  It was a harvest home dish, and it was set on a table at the end of the harvest.  It was a big big bowl of cream, a big big bowl of toasted oatmeal, a big bowl of berries, fresh berries, and a bottle of whiskey and honey.  And everybody was given their own little bowl, and they took a spoonful of oatmeal and a spoonful of cream and a handful of berries and a bit of honey on top and then a splash of whiskey...

BURT WOLF:  What’s it called?

CATHERINE BROWN:  It’s called Cranican.  The real quality of Scottish food is in its quality flavors which we don’t really need to do a great deal with and that is the beauty of Scottish food, that it speaks for itself and we enjoy that aspect of it.

BURT WOLF:  I’ll drink to that...Slainte! [“slange”]


The national beverage of Scotland is whiskey -- a whiskey of such importance that the rest of the world simply calls it Scotch.  There are about one hundred different Scotch whiskey producers in Scotland and each one has their own very particular approach to the craft.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  But it’s not only the skilled labor of the maker that controls the final product.  To a great extent, the taste and color of a particular Scotch whiskey is the result of the physical environment in which the distillery is located.  And that has led to the development of something called the “whiskey trail.”

The whiskey trail is actually a well-beaten path that takes you through Scotland’s Scotch producing districts, which fortunately for the Tourist Commission, takes in all of Scotland.  It is an ideal journey for someone with a great thirst for knowledge.  If you are starting out from Edinburgh, a good first stop would be the Central Highlands.

And this is the Dalwhinnie distillery.  It’s been in operation since 1897.  Its name is Gaelic for “the meeting place.”  Dalwhinnie is the highest distillery in Scotland at over 1000 feet above sea level.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Each of the distilleries in Scotland has chosen a very specific place for its facility.  In the old days one of the most important considerations was the relationship of the distillery to tax agents.  Ideally you would be in a place where the King’s men could never find you.  At the very minimum you wanted to be in a spot where you got enough warning so you could hide your whiskey.

The next most important element in the selection of a site has always been the water supply.  Most of the distilleries are set next to streams.  The water that is drained to make the whiskey comes into the stream from a spring, or drains down from the rain that falls on the nearby hills, or from melting snow.  The trip that the water makes on the way to the distillery gives it a very distinct taste.  If the water passes over and through rocks, it picks up the flavors of the minerals in those rocks.  If it passes through a moor with heather growing, the water will pick up a honey note.  If it passes through fields of peat it will end up with a peatty flavor.  How peatty will depend on the amount of time that the water spends near the peat.  Peat is the remains of compressed plant life, sort of an early form of coal.  Some land formations will filter water for years before delivering it to a stream that feeds a still.  And every inch of the journey will be reflected in the taste of the Scotch.

The type of wood used in the aging cask is also important.  In the early days of Scotch making, the wooden casks were used merely as containers to store the whiskey.  Eventually, however, people discovered that the cask could change the flavor of the Scotch.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Temperature also affects the flavor of Scotch whiskey.  And so does the air.  Scotch spends years maturing in wooden casks, and during that time period, it pulls air into the cask.  If the distillery is near the sea the air may have a salty quality.  That salty air enters the cask and the salty flavor is reflected in the Scotch.

When all the whiskey in a particular bottle comes from the same distillery and has not been blended with whiskey from any other distillery, it has earned the right to be called a malt, or single malt.

The next leg of Scotland’s whiskey trail runs northeast, into a district that faces out on the Moray Firth and the North Sea, and is known as Speyside.  The river from which the area takes its name is one of the world’s great locations for salmon fishing.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  But before you give up your local fish market, I should point out that the actual cost of hooking a Speyside salmon, when you include the expense of the gear and the guide and the permit, comes in at about 3,500 dollars.  And that doesn’t include the expense of any sauce or perhaps a vegetable, a little parsley would be nice, that’s all extra.  So, I’m pretty much off that court.  Much more in keeping with my budget is the fact that Speyside is single malt heaven.  The granite rocks in the Grampian Mountains appear to add a gentle smoothness, a kind of a soft-water feeling which is very attractive.

Cragganmore is a small distillery in Speyside, but its whiskey is considered to be one of the best.  The area is also famous for its wild mushrooms.  For a classic recipe, take a look at salmon on a bed of roasted fennel with a white wine and cream sauce.  There’s also lots of home-baked fruit cakes, scones and shortbreads.

Now the path works its way across the top of Scotland... to the Isle of Skye which is only fifty miles long and thirty miles wide.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  The only distillery on the Isle of Skye is called Talisker.  It was established in 1831, and makes a whiskey that turned out to be the favorite of the great Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson who, amongst his many famous books wrote Treasure Island, the search for the buried treasure of Captain Kidd, a treasure that very well might have included a bottle of whiskey from Skye.

Talisker is considered to have a peppery quality, which goes well with the food of the area.  Skye is famous for fish and shellfish... grilled scallops on a bed of langustine... and monkfish wrapped in slices of Scottish ham.


Now it’s time to turn down and head along the west coast.  This is one of the most romantic parts of Scotland.  Isolated villages.  Tiny port towns.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  The first settlers in the area are thought to have arrived about 7,000 years ago and made their homes in cliff side caves.  These days the capital of the area is a town called Oban, which is also the name of the local Scotch whiskey.  Authorities believe that Oban is a classic example of the single malts that are made in this area.

The pros describe it as having the aroma of fresh peat with a slight hint of the sea.  They like to add a splash of water and drink it along with a dinner of grilled fish.

Leaving Oban, the trail heads south to the Isle of Islay.  Islay is the most famous of the “Whiskey Islands.”

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Their stills produce whiskey with flavor notes that remind drinkers of peat and the great North Atlantic ocean.  Then whiskey rests in casks; can be there for three years minimum, or may be there for decades, and during that time period the casks actually breathe in the atmosphere.  The end result is that the climate becomes part of the flavor.

A wee dram of the local whiskey called Lagavulin makes the point.  And to go along with it, the great seafood of the region -- Islay’s famous for its oysters and mussels.

And finally, the trail moves across the southern Lowlands, an area known as the Borders because it borders on England.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  This is one of the most unspoiled spots in Europe.  It’s Scotland’s  garden and it’s covered with rich farmland.  It’s also the birthplace of John Muir, the Scottsman who was a conservationist who moved to North America and actually began the idea of establishing National Parks.

Glenkinchie is a good example of a Lowland whiskey.  The aroma of the local wildflowers ends up in the glass.  And the fields of wheat end up in a wide range of yeast breads.  The Borders are also famous for their traditional Scottish cheeses.

But everything about Scotland is not ancient tradition.  I hear they have a site on the World Wide Web under “” -- I wonder what Robert Burns would have said about that?

And if you would like to see a wee bit of the magnificent Scottish countryside and what elegant country life was like for the British during the heydays of the 1920s, you can get yourself some wheels and head north... over the bridge that crosses the Firth of Forth, which is easier to cross than it is to pronounce.  And on into Gleneagles.

Gleneagles was opened in 1924 and described as “a Riviera resort in the Highlands.”  I assume that the river they had in mind was the Tay that runs near the property.  It was the place to vacation in Great Britain, and it still is.

Gleneagles is also well respected for its cooking.  Scotland’s long association with France is reflected in many of the dishes, but they are also very serious about their preparation of traditional Scottish foods.  All of this is prepared under the direction of head chef Mike Picken, who has agreed to demonstrate a couple of very traditional Scottish farmhouse recipes.

The first is for Highland Meatballs with a Mustard and Whiskey Sauce.  Mike starts by putting a pound of beef into a blender along with one egg, some thyme, rosemary and coriander, plus ten pieces of bread that have been soaked in a little milk, and a chopped onion.  All that is blended together for a few minutes.

The chopped meat mixture is then rolled into balls that are about two inches in diameter.

MIKE PICKEN:  Rolling them up nice and tight.  Make sure there’s no splits in them, otherwise you end up with them starting to fall apart when they cook.  You can smell the onions coming out of them now.  Rolling that into fine pinhead oatmeal.  Okay?  Just to get a nice coating on it.  Doesn’t need any egg or anything; that’ll stick by itself.

Two ounces of unsalted butter are melted in a sauté pan.  The meatballs go in and are pan-fried on all sides until they have a brown coating.

BURT WOLF:  This is a really easy dish and I could do it with ground turkey or chicken also.

MIKE PICKEN:  Yeah, sure.  If you’re looking for something a little less fattening or something like that.  There’s no reason why you can’t.  Just change your flavorings to suit is all.  I think the herbs that we used here today go very well with the beef, but you might want to use something different for turkey or chicken.

At this point they are removed from the sauté pan and placed into a saucepan which is set aside, while the vegetables are prepared.

Carrots are sliced into bite-sized pieces.  Leeks are sliced into rounds that are about an inch long.  Parsnips are cut into small pieces.  The carrots go into a saucepan with some water, a little sugar and a little butter.  After a few minutes the rest of the vegetables are added.  The carrots are started first because they will take longer to cook.  Some celery goes in, and a piece of paper goes on top to hold in the steam.

MIKE PICKEN:  Okay, Burt, I’ve put all the vegetables in there now.  Just a very, very small amount of water with the butter and the sugar.  The reason for the small amount of water -- I don’t want to boil it off in loads of water which ends up getting thrown away. The flavors are in the vegetables, not in the water.

BURT WOLF:   Less water, more vitamins.

MIKE PICKEN:  That’s right, yeah.  See?  Butter paper on there, just gonna let that cook away for another couple more minutes now.

While the vegetables are cooking a second sauté pan goes on the range.  A little butter is melted in it.  A quarter of a cup of minced shallots are added.  A clove of garlic.  A cup of mushrooms.  Those ingredients are sautéed together until the water dries out.  That should take about two minutes.  Then two tablespoons of coarse-grain mustard are mixed in, and finally an ounce of Scotch whiskey.

BURT WOLF:  Now, flaming or not flaming is optional; if your fire insurance policy covers flambé dishes, by all means go right ahead.  If your fire insurance policy doesn’t, then just heat the whiskey, that’ll be fine.

A cup of beef gravy is added.  A few bay leaves go in.  A few more minutes of cooking and the sauce goes onto the meatballs.  Then it’s into a 350-degree Fahrenheit oven for thirty minutes.  When they come out, the meatballs go onto a plate, followed by the mushrooms, the vegetables and a garnish of herbs.  And that is served with steamed new potatoes.

Mike’s second recipe is for a dish called Chicken Stovies with Clapshot.

MIKE PICKEN:  What I’ve done there is taken the chicken and jointed it down, or your butcher can joint in down for you... I’ve got the breast... got the wing... and I’ve got the thigh bone... I’ve taken the drumstick out and we’re going to use that for the stock.  To that, I’ve added some rough cut onion, sliced up, nice and rough there, into the pan and we just put on the stove down there and just cook it away...

BURT WOLF:  A little butter?

MIKE PICKEN:  A little butter in the bottom as well, yeah, and that’s, the stovie means actually cooking on the stove, that’s where it traditionally comes from.  Stovies are actually a traditional dish that would be made from the leftovers from your Sunday lunch in the old days then.  They would maybe have some meat left and meat needed to do more than one day then, so what they had done is they used that down there to cook that down with potatoes, onions, I left the potatoes out of this one cause I’m gonna top it with the clapshot, it’s a little different dish there.

A cup of chicken stock that has been cooked together with a little cream and thickened with a touch of flour and butter is added.  The creamed chicken sauce is traditional but I tried it with just plain chicken stock and it was still a perfectly fine recipe.  It’s your call.  Then some salt and pepper.  Two minutes of additional cooking, and a cup of cubed pre-cooked ham is added.  A quarter of a cup of chopped flat parsley is stirred in and everything is transferred to a heat-proof casserole.

Now it’s time to make the clapshot, which was not developed by the Toronto Maple Leafs.  It is actually a mixture of bite-sized pieces of turnips, rutabaga and potatoes that have been boiled together in water until they are tender, then mixed with salt, pepper and chopped parsley.

MIKE PICKEN:  Essential when you’re using turnip: plenty of black pepper.  It really just brings the flavor out.

The clapshot goes onto the chicken, about a half cup of bread crumbs go onto the clapshot and the casserole goes under the broiler until the bread crumbs are toasted.  That’s it -- Chicken Stovie with Clapshot.

What also makes Gleneagles attractive is their activity program.  They focused on a series of leisure time undertakings and set up a school for each -- a school that was designed and in many cases is still directed by one of the world’s leading authorities on the subject.  The championship golf course was developed by Jack Nicklaus.

The Equestrian Centre is under the direction of Mark Phillips.

The Shooting School is run by Jackie Stewart.  Not many people know it, but before Mr. Stewart became one of the world’s most famous racing car drivers, he was a champion Olympic shooter.

They have two angling beats for salmon and sea trout on the River Tay, and lochs for brown trout.  The experts explained to me that a salmon beat and trout loch were really just good spots to fish from.

For me, however, the most fascinating school at Gleneagles is the British School of Falconry, where James Knight took me through the introductory course.

JAMES KNIGHT:  This is Talisker.  Now we’ve got about twenty-one birds here at the school.  Most of them are Harris hawks, and the reason we concentrate on them is because of their temperament.  They’re the only birds of prey that we can hand over to the guests, and we know that he’s going to be a hundred percent trustworthy just as he is with us.

There he is.  He’s obviously raring to go.  Now, the most important thing we do with him now -- and I’ll explain it while we’re there -- is we’ve got to weigh him.  Okay?  Before we can use him.  So we take him down the corridor here... and then we’re going to pop him on the scale.  There we go.

BURT WOLF:  He seems to know where he’s going.

JAMES KNIGHT:  Yeah, he gets weighed every day.  The thing to remember about falconry is it’s four thousand years old, okay?  It started in China and Japan as a means of getting food for ourselves, but he’s not going to do that if he’s full and fat, okay?  So he has to be hungry.  He does nothing for us whatsoever, okay?  He purely does it for himself.  So if he doesn’t feel like hunting, he’s not going to do it.  So we have to get him to what we call his hunting weight.  Okay?  And that happens to be one pound, four ounces.  So we’re lucky, he’s just spot on.

JAMES KNIGHT:  Now we’ll try to get him to do a little bit of work for you, and I say “work” because he doesn’t like flying, okay?

BURT WOLF:  Doesn’t like flying?

JAMES KNIGHT:  People always think that birds like to fly and that’s our idea because we can’t fly -- you know, we think it would be great to fly.  But flying for him is work.  And he only does it for a reason, okay?  That’s true of all birds, and with us it’s food, in the wild he’s got to find a mate to build a nest and do all sorts of things, okay, but he’s not thinking “Yippee I’m enjoying this,” okay.  He’s thinking “Yippee I’ve got a bit of beef.”  So to cast him off, you put your arm out straight, okay you can see he’s excited, he’s ready to go, keep hold of the jesses and then I’m just going to take a little step and give him a little push.  Just like an airplane, they always like to take and land off into the wind.  They hate the downwind landing.  So fingers crossed.  So take a little step and give him a push.  There he goes, you see he turns into the wind and lands into the wind.  Now to call him back all I have to do is to put my glove up with some food on and back he comes.  His eyesight is eight times better than ours.  He will see that little piece of beef,  you know, from three or four hundred yards away without any problem.  Right!  So, it’s your go.  So we’re gonna turn these, that’s it, so that your glove is facing into the wind.  I’m just going to step around the side here and I’m going to place the jesses through your thumb, through your middle fingers, perfect, and he’s all yours.

BURT WOLF:  It’s amazing, for over four thousand years we’ve been sending these birds out for our dinner.  Go for it!  And don’t forget...the one with the pepperoni has the extra cheese!  And I hope you won’t forget to join us next time as we travel around the world looking at the things that surround us, and their ORIGINS.  From Scotland, I’m Burt Wolf.

Origins: The Bahamas - #124

Every place in the world has a series of things that give that spot a special character... and make it different from every other place.  When you look at the ORIGINS of these things, you often end up with a better appreciation of the territory -- and that makes it a lot more interesting to visit.  And sometimes, these ORIGINS help us understand why we live the way we do.

The early maps of the New World show the islands of the Bahamas as a chain that runs in an arc from the east coast of Florida to the top of Hispaniola.  Hispaniola is the island which is now divided between Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

When the first Europeans arrived here with Columbus in 1492, they found a group of people called the Lucayans.  The Lucayans were members of an Arawak tribe from South America and had been living in the Bahamas for about 500 years.  They’d learned to make large canoes and used them to cover the distances between the seven hundred islands that make up the Bahamas.  Most of their food came from the sea.  Fish and shellfish.  Turtles.  And lots of conch which is a local shellfish.  They made a primitive form of bread from the roots of plants and tried to practice a little farming.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  People have been practicing a little farming in the Bahamas for over a thousand years, but unfortunately this is one of those situations where practice does not make perfect.  The Bahamas are made out of limestone with a very light dusting of soil on top.  Not the ideal place to start an economy based on agriculture.  As a result, there were no huge plantations and no huge slave populations to work on those plantations.  And that affected the history and the gastronomy of the Bahamas.  When you look at the history of the Caribbean islands that had those plantations and the large slave populations, you see the development of foods that were chosen purely because they were the cheapest and the easiest for feeding those slaves.  And that was never really the case here in the Bahamas.

The main source of protein in the Bahamian diet has always been seafood.  There’s usually just enough vegetation to support chickens, sheep and a few pigs, along with a vegetable garden and a limited selection of tropical fruits.  But that’s only the local stuff.  Being a British colony for well over two hundred and fifty years meant that British ships would be importing the traditional ingredients of the English kitchen whenever possible.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  While I was researching the history of the Bahamas I came across a book by Shelley Malone and Richard Roberts.  It contains picture postcards that were produced during the early 1900’s.  Picture postcards just came into fashion at that point, and most of them were made by local photographers who really had a great understanding of the area.  Today, a book like this will give you great insight into what was actually happening.

This book is called Nostalgic Nassau.  It has cards that illustrate the important buildings of the time... most of which still look they way they did in these pictures.

There are beach scenes... the local inhabitants... the churches... the grand hotels... and the ship you came in on.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  But in amongst these traditional views are a couple of postcards that will show you how people were eating and drinking and how they were cooking.

This card shows a vendor who is offering oranges on a stick, all you can eat for what would be about a dollar at today’s rate of exchange.  The oranges appear to have been peeled and are ready to eat.  This was obviously unusual enough to warrant a photographic card.

The fruit stands in this photo are on Market Street, which is still an important shopping area in Nassau.  Bananas.  Watermelons.  And oranges.

The next photo shows seagrapes at threepence a heap.

Some stands had a large variety but a limited stock of each in a rather informal display.

Others put a considerable amount of effort into their presentation.

Produce came in on one side of the market by donkey cart.

Fresh fish arrived at the back on small boats.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  When the United States government outlawed the manufacture and consumption of alcoholic beverages many people in the Bahamas made great fortunes as bootleggers.

The text at the bottom of this card reads... “Evil Spirits - A consignment of booze - Nassau, Bahamas.”  Under close inspection the two fellows at the dock appear to be men of the cloth, undoubtedly there to advocate moderation.

This card shows an outdoor oven.  And it’s the same type of oven that’s been in use throughout the world for thousands of years.

Wood is burned in the center of the oven until the interior is hot.  Then the coals are pushed to the side and the bread to be baked is set in.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  It was an effective and safe system.  It made efficient use of the fuel, and it was far enough away from the house so that it wasn’t a fire hazard.  And to tell you the truth, the last thing you want in your kitchen in a climate like this is a hot oven.  It was used for baking bread, but it was also used for making casseroles.  The ultimate one-pot dish in the Bahamas is peas and rice.  It’s made over a series of days, with new ingredients going in each day.  Eventually, a cake-like crust forms in the bottom of the pot, and it’s fed to the neighborhood dogs.  Even today, a Bahamian dog without pedigree is known as a “potcake.”

It is amazing that in spite of the fact that the Bahamas were a colony of the English for over two and a half centuries, they’ve managed to maintain a love of good food.  In many other parts of the world, colonization by the English meant certain death for good dining.  But not here.  Bahamians are good cooks and good eaters.

This is Arawake Cay -- a collection of food stalls and restaurants that have turned themselves into an ongoing party for both the locals and the tourists.

Arawake Cay is a strip for eaters, but the place for ingredients is Potters Cay on Nassau’s West Bay Street.  It’s a row of wooden stalls that sell fruits and vegetables and locally caught seafood.

BURT WOLF:  Tell me about the fish...

WENDELL HEASTIE:  These ones are called jacks...

BURT WOLF:  Jacks?

WENDELL HEASTIE:  Uh-huh...They’re nice and early fish... you know they’re nice and fresh.... we tell the people -- like the fresh ones, the inside in here is red...mostly still has the blood circulating inside of it...

BURT WOLF:  Check for the red... shiny eyes...

WENDELL HEASTIE:  Uh-huh... this type of fish is more like a softer fish...

BURT WOLF:  How do you cook it?

WENDELL HEASTIE:  It’s a snapper... you could fry it, steam it, stew it, boil it, you know, it’s your choice of taste.

BURT WOLF:  But the most famous thing here is the conch.

WENDELL HEASTIE:  Oh yeah, they’re nice.  I’ll give you a demonstration of one of them.  Okay, you’ll see like how they live inside.  We’re going to break the shell, right?

BURT WOLF:  Right...

WENDELL HEASTIE:  With a chippin’ hammer... that’s because the shell is hard... use a pointed knife... see?  And you do this like a flick of the wrist, see the flick?

BURT WOLF:  Right...

WENDELL HEASTIE:  And you pull him right out.  He comes right out.  See, now you get two eyes.  Here’s the eye, right on the end there...


WENDELL HEASTIE:  Two eyes and this is his mouth.  The middle one is his mouth.  See, that’s his chest.  See like this here he use, that’s his foot.  Because he live on the ground like that, and he stretch out, and pull himself like that wherever he want to go.

BURT WOLF:  With that one big foot...

WENDELL HEASTIE:  One big foot, yeah.

BURT WOLF:  How do you cook him?

WENDELL HEASTIE:  Well to cook it, you have to beat it, see because all of this is muscle, it’s very tough.  See, like putting a line right in that’s so you could spread it out... you pound it with a hammer or with a bruiser and it’s come out... when you boil it or cook it it’ll be tender.  If you do it like that it’ll be tough, it’ll only draw up from the heat.  If you gonna eat it raw, you don’t have to cook it.

BURT WOLF:  You just chew it...

WENDELL HEASTIE:  You just cut it up in pieces and you could put some like lemon, pepper, onion, tomato, make it into a vegetable salad with conch in it.  And we call it conch salad.

BURT WOLF:  I always saw movies when I was a kid where somebody would play them like a horn.


BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Conch has a big reputation for being an aphrodisiac, but I can’t actually confirm that first-hand.  Here you go, thanks a lot.  These are the strong ones, right?  Okay... Some of us live in hope.

One of the few agricultural products produced in the Bahamas on a commercial scale is the banana.  Spanish colonists brought them to the New World in the early 1500s.  And though we think of them as a fruit, they are actually classified by botanists as the world’s largest herb.  They’re also one of our most nutritious foods.  They’re high in vitamins A, B, C, and contain significant amounts of iron, phosphorus, calcium and potassium.  And we’re still getting information suggesting that potassium helps control high blood pressure.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  There are a number of different types of bananas, but the two most important in terms of eating are the yellow- or red-skinned variety which is sweet and ready to eat, and the plantain which is much more like a vegetable, and is always cooked before it’s eaten.  Bananas appear to have gotten started in Southeast Asia and there is actually an ancient Hindu legend that targets the banana as the fruit in the Garden of Eden.  That particular kind of banana is known as the banana of paradise.

And speaking of paradise, it appears that everyone has their very own version of the place.  Which seems to be a theory that is being tested, rather successfully, on a small strip of land that is just at the edge of Nassau in the Bahamas, and known as Paradise Island.  In 1994, a South African named Sol Kerzner purchased 650 acres of paradise from a company controlled by Merv Griffin, the television star.  Kerzner spent 125 million dollars rejuvenating the place.  As a result, Paradise is now available in two formats -- Atlantis and The Ocean Club.

Atlantis is a hotel complex attached to a fourteen-acre waterscape with a giant aquarium and recreational areas.  A lazy river whose man-made current gently rafts you along for a quarter of a mile.  Five pools, some saltwater, some fresh.  Lagoons.  Waterfalls.  Grottos.  A suspension bridge over a predator pool.  Coral reefs.  An endangered species project that gives sea turtles a safe place to hatch their eggs before they return to the ocean.  And the truly amazing 3.2 million gallon aquarium that lets you walk through its center inside a Plexiglas tunnel.

STEVE KAISER:  Well, we try to really present our exhibits so that we’re really not trying to be an aquarium.  We’re really trying to have that experience of being underwater without getting wet.  And we do this by trying to really balance all our tanks from an ecological standpoint so we have enough fish that eat other fish and so we don’t get overpopulated and we have enough fish that eat algae and ones that stir up the bottom.  And so what we’re trying to really reproduce is what you see out in the wild while you’re diving.

This is a Paradise where children find bliss and families really get a blessed break.

Included in the heavenly aspects of this paradise are the meals produced under the direction of the Executive Chef Michael Cloutier.  Today he’s making a Bahamian Lamb Curry.

He starts by pouring an ounce of oil into a sauté pan and letting it warm up.  While that’s happening, four cups worth of lamb, which have been cut into 1-inch pieces and trimmed of fat, are emptied into a bowl.  A little salt and pepper goes on, followed by three ounces of curry powder and three ounces of flour.  All that’s mixed together until the lamb is evenly coated.  Then the lamb goes into the hot oil and is browned on all sides.

CHEF MICHAEL CLOUTIER:  The French islands use lamb, okay, just because that’s what’s more plentiful there.  The, uh, a lot of the other Caribbean islands use goat.  And I kind of think goat’s probably a little bit better, a little more authentic actually.  It’s a little more tender and it’s not quite as strong as lamb, believe it or not.

BURT WOLF:  I never see it in my market.


BURT WOLF:  And I bet you if they had it, it would never be on special...

CHEF MICHAEL CLOUTIER:  It probably wouldn’t sell too well...

Three cloves of chopped garlic are mixed in, and one tablespoon of tomato paste.  Two ounces of chopped celery and two ounces of chopped onion are added.  A little more stirring and cooking.  Then three cups of chicken stock go in.  Two cups of peeled carrots and two cups of peeled potatoes cut into small pieces are added.  And now it’s time for a little thyme and a bay leaf.

CHEF MICHAEL CLOUTIER:  You want to cover that, turn the heat down, just a hair, okay, and you let that cook for about 45 minutes to an hour.

BURT WOLF:  Just simmering.

CHEF MICHAEL CLOUTIER:  Correct.  Until the lamb is fork tender.

At that point, the Bahamian Lamb Curry is served on a bed of rice.  Paradise enhanced.

Michael’s second recipe is for a traditional French Red Onion Soup -- Bahamian-style.

CHEF MICHAEL CLOUTIER:  Okay, first you add about four ounces of clarified butter...

BURT WOLF:  Would you like to clarify that?

CHEF MICHAEL CLOUTIER:  Clarified butter is butter that has been melted where all the fat solids and the waste settle to the bottom, and you just want the stuff off the top.  Okay?  If you were to cook with the fat and everything in there, it would burn.

BURT WOLF:  So you melt the butter, and you just take the butter off the top with the solids settled to the bottom.

CHEF MICHAEL CLOUTIER:  With the solids settled to the bottom.  Correct.  Then we add about three cloves of sliced garlic, and the reason for that is we don’t want a real strong garlicky taste.  The more you cut garlic, and the more you mince it, chop it, it gets hotter and more bitter.  Okay?  So we want a nice mild garlic flavor, so you want to slice it real thin on an angle.  Okay.  Add that to the butter.  And you want to let that cook -- do not let it get any darker than a real light tan brown.  Okay?  If you go past that point, it’s going to burn and it’s... you might as well just start all over again.

The garlic gets cooked for a few minutes at which point two pounds of sliced red onions are added.  A little stirring.  A little cooking.  Cover goes on and the onions sweat it out for fifteen minutes.  Then two ounces of white wine are added.  And two ounces of Balsamic vinegar.  A little more of the melted butter and two ounces of flour are stirred in.  That cooks together for two minutes, and the stock is added, which consists of three and half cups of beef stock and three and a half cups of chicken stock.  A few sprigs of thyme and a bay leaf.  Then the cover is put on and everything simmers for 25 minutes.  When the cover comes off, Michael adds a half cup of cream, but we both agree it is an optional ingredient.  The soup is ladled out into single serving terrines.  A round of toast goes on top and a few slices of cheese.  The cheese is melted under a broiler and the soup is ready to serve.

The second form of Paradise lies about a half mile down the beach  -- an elegant hotel called the Ocean Club.  Huntington Hartford was the heir to the A&P Supermarket fortune and this was his private estate.  It still has much of the original feeling.  A garden based on the classical design used by Louis XIV at Versailles.  A 14th century cloister brought from a monastery in France to Florida by William Randolph Hearst.  Hearst seems to have forgotten about this little purchase, and he left the stones in a series of crates until Huntington heard about them.  Huntington bought the stones and had the cloister reconstructed stone by stone.  It took over a year to do the work because someone had lost the instructions for reassembly.   Alongside the cloister... tennis courts... and a golf course.  A version of heavenly paradise, with individual areas for rapture... and delight.

Between the Ocean Club and the Atlantis Hotel, there’s plenty of good cooking on Paradise Island.  Today Chef Alfred Williams is going to souse a chicken.  A souse dish is a recipe where the main ingredient is submerged in a cooking liquid -- like “boiling” or “poaching.”  My old Aunt Harriet was a soused dish too, but her liquid was gin.

ALFRED WILLIAMS:  We souse a lot of other stuff, you know, we souse the pig feet, the pig ears... we have the mutton souse, we have sheep tongue souse, it’s every, everything, we souse basically everything here in the Bahamas.  We even souse the scrap from the conch also.

BURT WOLF:  Everything can be soused.

ALFRED WILLIAMS:  Everything can be soused in the Bahamas, yes.

BURT WOLF:  I’ll remember that.

A quart of chicken stock is heated in a sauté pan.  A chicken that’s been cut into parts is salted and added to the stock.  Two ounces of whole allspice is added.  All that simmers together uncovered for 10 minutes.  Then a cup of chopped celery is added and a cup of chopped onions.  A little hot dried pepper goes in.  Finally, two cups of peeled potatoes cut into small pieces.  Twenty minutes more over the heat, and it’s ready to serve.

ALFRED WILLIAMS:  We use a lot of hot pepper here in the Bahamas, we like a lot of spice so if you want to you can have a lot.  It’s up to you, you know?  It’s like the Cajun-type cooking...

BURT WOLF:  You take as much as you can...


Finally, Alfred is going to prepare a Bahamian favorite -- peas and rice.

A little vegetable oil goes into a sauté pan.  A half cup of bits of bacon are added.  A little stirring.  A little cooking.  And then a quarter cup of tomato paste.  A cup of chopped green peppers are added.  A cup of chopped onions, and then a cup of chopped celery.  Everything brightens up when a cup of chopped tomatoes arrive.  A little more sautéing.  Then it’s time for the thyme.  Then two cups of pre-cooked pigeon peas or black-eyed peas are added.  A little stirring.  Then two quarts of chicken stock go in followed by four cups of rice.  Cover goes on and everything cooks for 15 minutes.  At that point the cover comes off, the rice and peas are stirred, and it’s into a bowl for serving.

And now that we’ve eaten -- let’s do junkanoo!

BURT WOLF:  Tell me about junkanoo -- what is it?

STAN BURNSIDE:  Well -- Junkanoo is... Junkanoo!

STAN BURNSIDE:  Junkanoo is the festival, the major festival of the Bahamas.  It combines sculpture, fine art, dance, performance, theater, all in one.  There are two parades.  One parade starts the morning after Christmas.  Remember that these parades go from midnight until six in the morning.  The other parade is the morning of New Year’s Day.  Junkanoo, we believe, is a festival that was brought here by the Africans who were brought here as slaves.

The Africans of course had certain restrictions on their culture, and when they had the opportunity to gather together they really celebrated their culture and Junkanoo is the one part of their culture that they kept very intact.  And over the years, in the New World, it’s developed and it’s evolved right here in the Bahamas so that you have the link with Africa but now it’s shaped into something entirely different.  Because each time a Junkanoo group goes to Bay Street and it develops a theme, all of the art systems of that theme.  For example,  if they have a theme on Great Britain, for example, the Junkanoo artists go and do the research on Great Britain and in the process they get all of the art systems and the design systems of Great Britain and they put that as a part of their presentation on Bay Street. 

And each time a presentation is made on Bay Street all of those art systems become a part of the whole body or visual vocabulary of Junkanoo.  So that at this stage you can say that while Junkanoo at the root is a very very African experience, it’s an amalgamation of all of the different cultures of the world.  When you really think about it, Junkanoo is very modern.  You know when you talk about modern art, nowadays you talk about the hip-hop culture, the whole idea of sampling, and that’s what Junkanoo is.  Junkanoo samples a little bit of everything and it pulls it together and stirs it in a pot and makes a stew, called Junkanoo stew.

Normally the groups start in the neighborhoods.  You know they’re very provincial kinds of gatherings.  You know, I’m from this neighborhood, so naturally I’m associated with this group.

WOMAN 1:  I happen to like the Congos.  They’re not entering this year, and so I guess I’m pulling for the Valleys.

WOMAN 2:  The Saxons.  Yeah.

WOMAN 1:  I think it’s going to be a tough competition between the two.

STAN BURNSIDE:  And the process of that competition of group against group, you have neighborhood against neighborhood, community against community.  So it really starts as a very local thing in each neighborhood where the young kids, as soon as they can get permission from their parents to join a Junkanoo shack, they look forward to being able to go and participate and represent their neighborhood.  Many consider, when you look at some of the pieces, you’ll notice how large they are.  And when you consider that originally these pieces were just masks and each year one group would try to outdo the other and the masks just got larger and larger until we have masks that weigh three hundred pounds.  And that is exactly what happened as a result of the competition.  Everyone wants to be bigger and better and more extravagant and it’s really enhanced and helped the artform to develop very rapidly.  It’s an incredible opportunity for the entire Bahamian community to come together during the Christmas season around this festival.  So you have family reunions and communities getting together around this parade.  So you could say that Junkanoo really is the festival of the Bahamas.

Well, that’s a brief look at the folklore and the food of the Bahamas; I hope you will join us next time as we travel around the world.  I’m Burt Wolf.

Origins: The Food of Rome - #123

Every place in the world has a series of things that give that spot a special character... and make it different from every other place.  When you look at the ORIGINS of these things, you often end up with a better appreciation of the territory -- and that makes it a lot more interesting to visit.  And sometimes, these ORIGINS help us understand why we live the way we do.

There are a number of legends that tell the story of how Rome was founded.  The most popular, though perhaps not the most accurate, is the tale of the twin brothers, Romulus and Remus, the offspring of a local princess named Silvia, and Mars, the god of war.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Silvia was a member of the Vestal Virgins, so her pregnancy at the very minimum can be viewed as a conflict of interest.  It was also a source of embarrassment to her uncle the king, who was not particularly interested in having a couple of kids around who might challenge his right to the throne.  So he put them both into a basket and sent them down the river.  When the basket got stuck on a mud bank the children’s cries attracted a she-wolf who cared for them and fed them and raised them.  And when they eventually grew up, they founded the city of Rome.

The city is now punctuated with works of art commemorating the valiant efforts of the wolf.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  I always love it when the wolf gets a compassionate role.

Whatever its true origins, what we do know is that ancient Roman civilization covered a time period that lasted over a thousand years.  With Rome itself starting out as a small agricultural community, and eventually becoming the capital of an empire that controlled most of what is now Western Europe, England, the Middle East and North Africa.  And in the process, evolving from a self-sufficient village that produced almost everything that its inhabitants ate and drank, into a magnificent city that imported its foods from around the world.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Much of what we know about the eating and drinking of ancient Rome, we learned from a man named Marcus Apicius.  He lived during the first century A.D. and was quite a character.  He attended many of the great banquets, organized a few of his own, invented recipes and demonstrated his cooking skills to his friends.  He may have come up with the original idea for force-feeding geese in order to increase the size of their liver.  In which case, foie gras, which we normally associate with the French, was actually the invention of an ancient Roman.  We know about ancient Rome from his accounts, but Marcus was no accountant.  He was not in touch with his personal finances, and at one point went into shock when he discovered that he had spent so much of his money that he was going to have to cut back on his lifestyle.  The idea of downsizing really didn’t appeal to him, and so he committed suicide.  A big price to pay for not balancing your checkbook.

On the other hand, you have the Emperor Trajan.  One nice thing about being emperor, or a member of the U.S. Congress, is that you can do your big spending from the nation’s checkbook and not really worry about balancing it.  Emperor Trajan was the ruler of Rome from 98 to 117 A.D., and the story of his military skill is illustrated on his column, which is made up of seventeen marble drums that run up to a height of 175 feet.  It stands in the heart of Rome.  Tall deeds on a tall monument.  A bronze statue of Trajan stood on the top until the middle of the 1500’s, when the Pope replaced it with the statue of St. Peter -- which is still up there.

Trajan’s master builder was Apollodoro of Damascus.  Apollodoro was responsible for Trajan’s forum... and for the covered market that stood behind it.  It was put up in the year 109 A.D., and was a very original idea for the time.  An early shopping mall and very successful, especially when you consider the fact that it was all food, wine and flowers.  Not a single shoe store.  It contained 150 different shops set out on a semicircular plan.  There are six floors to the complex and it goes up for over a hundred feet.

The bottom floor was given to shops that sold fruits, vegetables and flowers.  Many different types of vegetables were part of the Roman diet.  Asparagus was a big deal.  So were carrots, and cabbages, onions, leeks, and lots of leafy greens.  Many of the vegetables were served as a first course.  Lentils and chickpeas were important and used as the basis for soups.  And mushrooms were a great favorite.  Fruits were often presented as dessert.  There were apples, berries, plums, cherries, figs, dates, grapes, and my personal favorite... watermelon.  Peaches were brought in from Persia and apricots from Armenia.  There was also a wide range of nuts.  Olives had a dual role, as an appetizer at the beginning of a meal and  as a dessert at the end.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  The second floor was given over to dealers in olive oil and wine.  Most of the wine came from the area that is now Italy, but they also imported wines from Germany, and Spain, and Greece.  The wines of ancient Rome were pretty strong and usually cut with water.  The standard proportions were one part wine to three parts water.  They had a wine that they served at the beginning of a meal called Mulsum... it was wine mixed with honey.  They also served a sweet wine at the end of the meal.  It was made from grapes that were allowed to dry on the vine -- what we would call today a late harvest wine.  They made beer, but most people thought that beer was medicine or just too common to serve to people of good taste.

The third and fourth levels of Trajan’s Market offered spices and gastronomic items considered to be luxuries.  The ancient Romans appear to have had a great interest in spices.  One reason may have been the need to cover the taste of food that had become, shall we say, overripe as a result of the lack of refrigeration.  They may also have needed intense flavors.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  A great deal of lead was used in the ancient Roman cooking equipment, in the pipes that brought them their water, and in the make-up that they used.  As a result, almost everybody in ancient Rome suffered from some level of lead poisoning.  Three of the most common symptoms of lead poisoning are an inability to taste flavor, a general loss of appetite and a metallic taste in your mouth almost all of the time.  The ancient Romans may have needed intense spices just to taste anything at all.

The top floor had large tanks that displayed both fresh- and salt-water seafoods.  The highest price paid for any food was always paid out for fish and shellfish, usually two or three times what they would pay for pork or lamb.  The Romans just loved the stuff from the sea.  Wealthy families kept their own fish ponds, and there was a big business in fish breeding.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  The ancient Romans liked meat but most of it came from pigs, goats and sheep.  Cattle were considered as animals for commerce not cooking.  And besides, the work that they did made their meat tough.  There was lots of wild game and poultry, and hens were raised for their eggs.  As a matter of fact, an egg dish was the most common first course at an ancient Roman meal.

The kitchen of the average ancient Roman family was rather limited in terms of size and equipment.  A rectangle of bricks, set against one wall, was the oven and range.  If the family could afford it, they burned charcoal rather than wood because charcoal gave off less smoke than firewood.  A couple of holes in the top of the oven would hold the pots and pans that were made of ceramic or bronze.  There were also grills that look just like the grills that we use today.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  And in every Roman kitchen a jar of garum.  Garum was a seasoning sauce that was used in most of the recipes in ancient Rome.  It was used pretty much the way we see soy sauce being used in the Chinese community today.  It was made in commercial garum factories, there were different levels of quality and different prices.  But the basic preparation technique was always pretty much the same.  You took a big jar and put in alternating layers of salt and seafood.  And you took the jar out in the sun, and let it sit there for a couple of months until everything turned into a nice, thick sauce.  Doesn’t that sound yummy?  Well, don’t laugh.  Anthropologists have discovered that the demand for garum was so great, that the manufacturers produced a variety without shellfish that was considered kosher and sold only to the Jewish community.

When dinner was served in ancient Rome, and it was presented in the proper environment, the room was known as a triclinium.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  I wanted to show you a real restoration, but I ran into three problems.  First of all, a good restoration is very hard to come by, and the two that there are are under the control of the Italian government --  which was my second problem.  In 1990, the Italian government, like many other governments around the world, was running out of money.  Word came down from the top to find new sources of income.  And one of those sources was a charge that they made to television crews for filming inside their national monuments.  The guy I spoke to from the Italian government wanted 5,000 U.S. dollars for two hours of taping, PLUS a $25,000 deposit, in case I did anything to ruin his ruin.  But the third problem was the one that really got me.  While I was recovering from the shock of this news, I called a friend of mine who is a producer here in Rome.  I asked him, “Is there any way around these fees and deposits?”  And he told me that for the past two years, he has been trying to get his deposit back.  So... let me show you this photograph that I borrowed from a friend.

The table with the food was in the center.  Beds were arranged around three sides of the table.  Three people would stretch out on each bed facing the food.  If there were more than nine people, more beds would come in.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Each person would lie on their left side, holding a plate with their food in their left hand and eating it with their right hand.  The food was chosen to be something that could be eaten out of hand, usually cut into bite-size pieces, or something that could be taken with a spoon.  Knives were never brought to the table... much too aggressive... and the fork hadn’t been invented yet.

Rome is still a great place for good eating and drinking and you can see modern Rome’s love of gastronomy all over town.

The Campo de’ Fiori is in the southern part of Rome’s historic district.  Campo de’ Fiori means “field of flowers,” and during the Middle Ages that’s what was here.  But by the 1500s the district had become the heart of Rome.  In the center of the square is the statue of Giordano Bruno, who was executed in the year 1600.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  At the time, the official word from the church was that the earth was the center of the universe and everything in the sky moved around us.  It was an ego thing.  Poor Bruno, he was only interested in the scientific aspects of the universe and really wasn’t getting the macho message from the monks.  His experiments led him to the belief that, in fact, the sun was the center of the universe and the earth actually moved around the sun.  Well, let me tell you, this was an unacceptable belief.  And worse than just believing it, Bruno was going around and telling that to other people.  Clearly, this man was a heretic.  And the monks burned him at the stake.

Today his statue is at the center of the Campo and one of Rome’s great markets moves around him.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  In most ancient societies everybody ate and drank pretty much the same things.  Of course the rich had a lot more of whatever it was than the poor.  But in ancient Rome, perhaps for the first time, that began to change.  Because the Roman Empire was so huge and in contact with so many different parts of the world, the people of ancient Rome who had the money were able to choose from an extraordinary variety of foods.  Foods that were just not available to people who didn’t have the money.  But they were not just interested in variety, they were fascinated by quality.  And they would spend an enormous amount of time, money and effort getting the best of everything.

When Marcus Apicius heard that the shrimp off the coast of Libya were superior to those available in Rome, he outfitted a ship and sailed off to check it out.  When he got there and found that the shrimp were no better than what he was already using, he turned around and headed back without making a purchase.

And that desire for the “best of class” is still very much part of the attitude of the modern Roman food lover.  One of the first things that you learn as a traveling eater is that almost every town has a special interest in certain foods.  Those same foods may be available in other cities but not at the same level of quality.  And not subject to the same level of interest on the part of the local public.  In New York they would be bagels, pastrami, steak and cheesecake.  In Paris it would be pastry, wine, and chocolate.  Here in Rome, it’s bread, particularly in the form of pizza, ice cream, and coffee.

The place to try “best of class” bread and pizza is the Antico Forno at the edge of Campo de’ Fiori.

For ice cream it’s Gioletti.

And for the best thick chocolate ice cream with a whipped cream topping... the Tartuffo at Tre Scalini in the Piazza Navona.

And almost everyone seems to agree that the best cup of espresso is at Santo Eustachio.

If you would like a little Roman street atmosphere to go along with your coffee, you might take a seat at the Gran Caffe Doney at the Via Veneto.  This was the center of the life that film director Federico Fellini presented in his 1959 movie, La Dolce Vita -- “the sweet life.”  Things have quieted down a bit since then, but the life around here is still pretty sweet, and its been that way since the beginning of the century.

The Caffe Doney is actually built into a hotel called the Excelsior, which opened in 1906.  It still has the elegance and attention to detail that was part of its original plan.  Mario Miconi is the general manager of the Excelsior, but he first joined the staff as a pageboy in 1948. Over the years he has put together a collection of interesting memorabilia that relates to the dining room service that was standard for the early days of this century.

MARIO MICONI:  We have many different items to eat the asparagus.  And I took the one that gives me more sensation... it’s very nice... it’s very easy to use... you see, it’s unbelievable.  It’s been done, and this is like, uh, a jewelry piece.  You can use this.  It’s very, very elegant...

BURT WOLF:  I like the asparagus holder.  I want to take one of those with me when I go out to dinner.

MARIO MICONI:  Could be... remember it’s also for the cigar... you see, sometimes these things... really, I don’t... I mean you have the imagination here brings you... I don’t know.  But so all these things always show the way that a waiter or the server, any server couldn’t take, never with the hands anything.  So the one thing that amazed me more than the others is this one.  I mean... it’s very, very, very nice.  I think it’s very polite because when I take this it’s marvelous.

BURT WOLF:  It’s to hold a chicken leg...

MARIO MICONI:  To hold a chicken see...

BURT WOLF:  But you don’t touch it with your hands...

MARIO MICONI:  So you don’t touch, this was done by the waiters.  It’s very easy to understand, it’s very easy to put it.  But you see that both ways, you eat with your hands but you don’t touch the chicken.  But sometimes now it’s even better to touch the chicken leg because it gives you more taste, but this is very nice.

The hotel has a widely respected restaurant called “La Cupola,” which is keeping up the tradition of “the sweet life.”  But even in ancient Rome you had to finish your main course before you got the sweets.  Which seems only fair if the main course is Bucatini alla Amatraciana.

Chef Vittorio Saccone starts by putting a quarter of a pound of bucatini into a quart of boiling water and adding a touch of salt.  Bucatini is a round dried pasta, like a spaghetti, but hollow down the center like a thin straw.  He stirs the bucatini into the water until it’s completely submerged.

Then he starts on the sauce.  Two tablespoons of olive oil go into a sauté pan to warm up.  A quarter of a cup’s worth of onion is minced and added in.  A pinch of hot dried pepper goes in.  A half cup’s worth of cured pork is cut into bite-size pieces and added to the pan.  You can use pancetta, which is available in most Italian markets, or you can just use bacon.

A few minutes of cooking and a half cup of white wine is added.  Then ten cherry tomatoes are sliced in half and their seeds are pressed out.  Then they’re cut into small slices and added to the pan.  A little stirring.  A touch of salt.  Two minutes of cooking.  The pasta is drained away from the water and added to the sauce.  A few flips to mix everything together.  A little grated Parmesan cheese.  Then a little grated Pecorino Romano cheese and the bucatini is ready to serve.

And for dessert, Chef Saccone is going to make a Romana Sambuca Cheese Cake.  Four cups of flour are mounded up.  Eight ounces of butter go into the center of the flour, followed by three eggs.  A cup of sugar is sprinkled onto the flour, and all of that is blended together by hand into a soft dough.  That goes into the refrigerator for 30 minutes to harden up so it will be easier to work with.

When it comes out, the dough is placed on a floured surface.  It gets a little flour on its own surface and is rolled out to a thickness of a quarter of an inch.  It’s fitted into a round cake pan that’s about one-and-a-half inches deep and nine inches in diameter.  Next, two cups of ricotta cheese go into a mixing bowl; then two cups of dried fruit pieces.  A cup of sugar, and a half cup of Romana Sambuca, which is an anise-flavored drink.  All that’s mixed together until you have a batter-like consistency.  That should take about two minutes of mixing with a wooden spoon.

The dough-lined pan returns... and gets a light coating of pastry cream, an optional procedure.  Then strips of sponge cake are placed on top of the pastry cream to form a base.  The ricotta filling goes in and gets smoothed out on top.  The remaining dough is rolled out, floured, and cut into strips about a half an inch wide and twelve inches long.  Vittorio cuts ten of them, which are used to make a lattice-work on top of the cake.  A wash is made from a beaten egg and painted on top.

Then into a 350-degree Fahrenheit oven for twenty minutes.  When the cake comes out of the oven it’s allowed to cool.  Then it’s taken out of the pan, given a dusting of powdered sugar, and it’s ready to serve.

When the ancient Romans first started making wine, their feel for the craft, in terms of taste, was not very good.  But the good feeling that they got from drinking it kept them highly interested.  To help the flavor along, they often mixed their wine with honey, or herbs and spices, or all of the above.  One result is that the ancient Romans developed a taste for beverages that were sweet and had an herbal flavor.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Much of the time their herbal drinks were considered more in the area of medicine, than in gastronomy, but that was often the case with wines and spirits that had been given an herbal flavor.  Over the centuries one of the spirits with an herbal flavor that had a medical claim to fame and was very popular, was the digestif,  something you drank after dinner to help you with your digestion.  And one of the most popular flavors was based on anise, a flavor that many people associate with licorice.

The ancient Egyptians knew about anise, and so did the ancient Greeks.  The ancient Romans often ended their banquets with anise-flavored cakes, pointing out that anise was a valuable aid to good digestion.  Roman weddings usually included an anise cake for dessert.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Even today, candied almonds with an anise flavored coating are part of weddings in France and Italy.  One scholarly source tells us that at the end of an ancient Roman battle, the generals would give anise flavored candies to their successful troops.  Now, that doesn’t strike me as a really great gift after a battle, but maybe there were little prizes in the boxes.  You know, you never know about these things.  The point is that for thousands of years people have associated the flavor of anise, spirits, good luck, good fortune, the end of a good battle or the end of a good meal.

At this point, the Romans have distilled all of that into a drink called Romana Sambuca.  They drink it after dinner.  They put it into espresso.  Sometimes they even top off the coffee with whipped cream, ending up with a sweet anise-flavored drink that they call Caffe Romana.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  For thousands of years people have believed that certain plants had vital forces and critical energies.  The more unusual the shape and color of the plant, the more powerful these energies.  And the way to get to these force fields was to capture the aroma of the plant... and the way to do that was to burn the plant and capture the smoke... in Latin it was called per fumus... in English we call it perfume.  And one of the most powerful forces came from the anise plant.

Look at that.  An after-dinner drink and a little aromatherapy, all at the same time.  What a combination!  And as if that were not enough, it appears that Romana Sambuca can improve your luck.

WOMAN:  Yes, let’s have a toast with three coffee beans; one for wealth, one for health, and one for love.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  What can I tell you?  It’s Rome.  They have been running great dinner parties for twenty-eight hundred years and they have been in the tourist business since the 13th Century.  They want you to have a good time.  And I want you to have a good time.  And if you have had a good time ...I hope you will join us next time as we travel around the world looking at the ORIGINS of the things that surround us.  From Rome, I’m Burt Wolf.

Origins: Newfoundland - #122

Every place in the world has a series of things that give that spot a special character... and make it different from every other place.  When you look at the ORIGINS of these things, you often end up with a better appreciation of the territory -- and that makes it a lot more interesting to visit.  And sometimes, these ORIGINS help us understand why we live the way we do.

The Gulf Stream is a current of warm water that starts just off the coast of Florida and runs north to Newfoundland, Canada.  It’s fifty miles wide, moves along at the rate of four miles per hour and has a starting temperature of about eighty degrees Fahrenheit.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  As it slides past Newfoundland, Canada, it smacks into a cold current coming down from the north.  The interaction between these two streams churns up the water and causes tiny sea creatures to come up from the bottom.  The tiny sea creatures attract hungry fish.  The hungry fish attract hungry fisherman.  The area where all this is going on is called the Grand Banks.  We don’t know how long people have been fishing on the Grand Banks, but records indicate that the Portuguese were fishing here long before Columbus smacked into the islands of the Caribbean.

In 1497, the King of England sent John Cabot here to find the secret route to Asia.  Cabot was looking for the same passage that Columbus had been looking for on behalf of the King of Spain.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):   Instead of the secret passage, the Spanish explorers found gold.  Not bad.  Instead of the secret passage the English explorers found fish.  But don’t laugh -- the fish put the English in the chips.  In those days, fish was a big deal commodity and a single good catch could make you rich.  Cabot’s New Found Land was important.

Newfoundland became the first colony in the English Empire and it kept its colonial standing until 1949, when it became part of Canada.  Today, it stands as one of the most beautiful and unspoiled parts of North America.  Its capital city is St. John’s.

St. John’s is one of North America’s oldest cities.  Its original attraction was the excellent natural harbor, which is protected by a series of hills that rise up from the shoreline.  The entrance from the sea is less than seven hundred feet wide, which made the town easy to protect.  During the 1700s, a chain was put up across the mouth of the harbor.  It prevented enemy ships from coming in.  Low-tech, but it worked.

The steep cliff that comes up from the harbor mouth is called Signal Hill.  At first, it was used to warn the town that enemy troops were approaching.  Later, it was used to signal the return of merchant ships.  Flags were flown that indicated the nationality of the approaching vessel -- the company that owned it -- and the specific type of ship.  The flag gave the owner of the ship time to get ready for its arrival in port... and it did the same for the wives of the sailors.

In 1901, Signal Hill was used by Guglielmo Marconi to test his long distance electromagnetic waves.  It was at this site that the first wireless transatlantic radio message was received.  It came all the way across the Atlantic from Cornwall, England.

TELEPHONE OPERATOR:  “I’m sorry -- the number you have reached is not in service at this time.  No further information is available.”

The sound that actually traveled across the ocean was a series of three short beeps... the Morse Code for the letter “S.”

Down below, the narrow streets of the city are lined with brightly colored houses.  This street is called Jelly Bean Row.  About 100,000 people live in St. John’s and they love it.  And who wouldn’t?  It’s a city that feels like a village.  Everyone I met was friendly and helpful.  Harbor Drive, Water Street and Duckworth Street run parallel to the docks and are lined with restaurants and shops.

One of my favorite places to eat was the Classic Cafe.  It’s open twenty-four hours a day, and I stopped in for a traditional St.John’s breakfast.  Baked beans with pieces of bacon... fishcakes... Toutons, which are disks of sautéed bread that taste like doughnuts... and fresh coffee.

St.John’s and the area around it are great for long walks, which is essential after a breakfast like that.

If you head over to the northeast corner of St. John’s, you will come upon a village called Quidi Vidi.  It’s a small fishing port and home to the local beer brewer.

Just inland from the village is Quidi Vidi Lake, which is the site of the St. John’s Regatta.

COXSWAIN:  Sit up and look good!  Use the legs!  Keep the oars down for the whole stroke!

The Regatta is a rowing competition held annually on the first Wednesday of August.  It got started in 1818, which may make it the oldest continuing sporting competition in North America.

I’d also recommend a fifteen-minute drive south to the Cape Spear National Historic Site.  The coastal scenery is spectacular and during the early summer months whales stop in for lunch... and icebergs sail by on their way south.

Each spring, as the weather warms up, over 40,000 icebergs break off the glaciers of Greenland and drift south.  On average they weigh just over 200,000 tons and only an eighth of the berg is visible above the water.  About four hundred icebergs pass Cape Spear each year.

And while you’re here you can visit the Cape Spear Lighthouse.  It was built in 1835.  Inside, there’s a reconstruction that lets you see how the lighthouse keeper and his family lived.  There is also a series of walking trails that will take you out to the most easterly point in North America -- the far east of the western world.

A bit further south along the coast of Newfoundland is Bay Bulls and the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve.  This is one of the most important sea-bird breeding areas in North America.  Every summer more than two million sea birds come here to breed.  It’s also an ideal bay for whale watching.  And the ideal way to see both the birds and the whales is onboard one of the O’Brien tour boats.  Actually, the O’Briens themselves are something to see.

JOSEPH O’BRIEN:  [sings a sea shanty, then:]

Alright, that’s it, quiet, quiet, quiet!  Listen here!  Alright, ladies and gentlemen, who don’t got a hat?  Alright, well, don’t look up and smile with your mouth open because there’s going to be like two-and-a-half million birds flying over your head.  Alright?  Next to Steve is the Atlantic Puffin.  He’s got an orange beak, a whitish-grey cheek, a black jacket, white shirt and orange shoes.  Tattooed with feathers, sitting on your finger, he’s eleven inches in his finest hour.  We’re going to definitely see puffins; if we don’t see puffins, we got a white cane we’re going to pass it on to you guys, alright?  Now, next to the puffin is the Northern Gannet.  We call this one the “Newfie Strike-Force.”  He spots his food from a hundred to two-hundred feet up into the air and plummets in the water in a torpedo-like effect.  He’s the size of a bald eagle in his wing-span, he’s got a yellow-crested head and black wingtips.  There’s a gillerbot (sic) now right off this corner of the boat, fluttering right there along side of us.  See the little wing patches?  Oh, he just dove down.  Now, these are wicked good swimmers.  If you’re not into that, well I guess the whales are what’s up for you.

Now, this is how you identify whales: the acrobat of acrobats is coming up -- the Humpback.  This is the Atlantic Humpback, he blows a spray of eighteen to twenty feet high in a balloon-like shape, and he’ll show his hump, he’s famous for his hump, alright?  When he raises up his hump you know that that’s a Humpback, and when he sticks up his tail, that’s when she gets really good.  Because that entitles you to become a crystal-card- packing whale-watcher.  Yes!

Alright, this is it!  Whale watching in the North Atlantic!


JOSEPH O’BRIEN:  I knew that.  Right off the bow about six-hundred feet out, we got a Humpback whale blowin’ and spurtin.’  Remember, he can feel our transmissions in the water of our engine and the waves crashing off the boat.  He’s listening.  He knows you’re out here, so whip it up!  Party time!  Whistle, yeah, everybody whistle, clap your hands... Now, he’s straight down here off the back... Look underneath, right down... See the green in the water?  The whale is right underneath you!  Hey!  Alright!  That’s it!  Hold on everybody!  We’re at the mercy of the wave!  And the pleasure of the whale! 

(Sings sea shanty)

Travel south a little bit further and you will come to Ferryland, the site of a remarkable archeological dig.  In 1621 George Calvert, known to his close friends as Lord Baltimore, established one of the first English settlements in North America.  It was right on this spot and it was called the Colony of Avalon.

The settlers managed to survive the harsh winters, but during the late 1600s the colony was finally destroyed by French and Dutch invaders.  Over the centuries the Colony of Avalon was forgotten as new buildings were constructed on top of the old ones.

Since 1992, Dr. Jim Tuck and his team have been uncovering the original settlement bit by bit.  They’re trying to get a sense of what the edge of the New World was like almost four hundred years ago.

DR. JIM TUCK:  This long, low wall here with the water on one side is the sea wall.  That was the original north boundary of the Colony of Avalon.  And what the colonists did is they built that wall, then they began to fill in the pool or the harbor behind it.  So, that land and even this land we’re standing on is all new land, made land.  If we’d been standing here in 1621, we’d have been standing down about eight feet and up to our chest or something in water.  Now, with this big high tide, those north / south walls that we can see were the walls of a two-bay barn or byre where cattle were kept.  And that the waste ran through that little rectangular opening in the wall, through this other wall, and under those rocks into this little rectangular basin here, which was originally the privy, or one of the privies, for the Colony of Avalon, but after that barn was built became a dung pit, I suppose, or a combination dung pit and privy.  And the floor is well below the high tide line, so every time the tide comes in -- it comes in twice a day -- and flushes the toilet for you.  Didn’t work perfectly, though, which is lucky for us, because there’s a lot of stuff preserved in there.  Everything from thousands, maybe millions of seeds and bones and even a wheelbarrow, believe it or not, that somehow got down in there -- don’t ask me, your guess is as good as mine.

Well, there’s a little story about this patch of cobblestones here.  Captain Wynne wrote back to George Calvert in 1622, and said that he’d built a mansion house and tenements, and kitchen, and brewhouse, and forge; then he said he wanted to make another row of buildings to make the whole a “pretty street.”  So we think this is the east end of Captain Wynne’s pretty street that ran through the center of the village.  It’s a cobblestone street about thirteen feet wide.  These fellows that are digging here are looking to find the rest of the cobblestone street, see exactly what the pattern is.  Once we find that, it’ll be much easier to figure out the town plan.  It certainly is covered with, you know, real upscale artifacts, things like leaded glass windows, and delft or tin glazed ceramics, and the kind of stuff that only the very best New World, very richest New World residents would have possessed.  So, we’re pretty hopeful.

Well, we’re just starting to excavate here... and it’s just those few squares down a very short ways, but we think from the look of all the rocks in here and from those very thin rocks, those grey slates are the slates that were used sort of as shingles on roofs.  So...

BURT WOLF:  You find a lot of stuff at this site.

DR. JIM TUCK:  Oh, thousands, and hundreds of thousands... We must be close to a million artifacts -- individual specimens -- by now.  And we’ve only done seven, or eight, or nine percent, so there’s an awful lot more to go.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):   The history of Newfoundland is filled with firsts.  It was the first colony in the British Empire.  It was the first place to develop an annual sporting competition in North America.  It received the first transatlantic radio signal.  And it was the first place where transatlantic flights took off.

Being further east than any other land in North America, it made good sense for early transatlantic pilots to start from Newfoundland; Amelia Earhart did, Charles Lindbergh did, and so did many of the great balloonists.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  When man decided that it was time to fly, he based his early experiments on nature. It was the natural thing to do.  Clearly, the plane is designed in imitation of the bird.  But the balloon is clearly the result of man’s perverse creative genius.  There is nothing in nature that makes use of a lighter-than-air device for flying.

This particular balloon is shaped like a maple leaf, the traditional emblem of Canada, and it travels around the world promoting Canadian tourism.

The early superstars of ballooning were the Montgolfier brothers.  In 1783, near the city of Lyon in France, they used hot air from a straw fire to launch a balloon that was thirty-three feet in diameter, and they got it up to a height of a thousand feet.

Benjamin Franklin was in Paris while the Montgolfier brothers were experimenting, and he immediately saw the military potential of the balloon.  He wrote that it was inexpensive, easy, fast and could be used by an observer to see what the enemy was up to.  In addition to his many illegitimate children, Franklin may have been the father of the spy satellite.

During the Second World War the Japanese bombed the United States and Canada with over one thousand unmanned balloons. In order to avoid any panic, both governments and the press agreed to cover up the story.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  And the U.S. government claims that the UFO’s that landed in New Mexico during the 40s were high altitude balloons carrying test dummies.  Sure.

The maple leaf has become the graphic symbol of Canada, and from a gastronomic point of view it makes good sense.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Canada is one of the few places in the world with the unique climate that is necessary in order to produce maple syrup.  But if you were going to choose a graphic symbol for Newfoundland, you would probably have to choose the cod.  From the very beginning of this island’s history, the cod has been extremely important.  And it’s still very much part of the daily diet of this province.

Almost every restaurant I visited in St. John’s served battered and sautéed cod tongues.  They have the texture of an oyster and the small ones, as everyone warned me, are better, but the question is, better than what?

And then there is Fish and Brewis -- dried salt cod soaked overnight, fist-size rocks of dried bread called hardtack, also soaked overnight.  Then both are mixed together and garnished with pieces of fried pork fat.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  A favorite in April is Seal Flipper Pie, and I ask you: what would Fall be like without Squirrel Stew, Rabbit Ravioli, or Caribou Bourguignon?  These are the traditional dishes of this area, and they taste like home to the Newfoundlander, but I suspect they are an acquired taste.  There are, however, a few traditional recipes with instant appeal.

And I was taught two of them by Steve Watson, who is the executive chef at the Hotel Newfoundland.

The Hotel Newfoundland is one of the Canadian Pacific Hotels, and I have stayed in many of them over the years.  They’re usually the top hotel in the city, which is the case here.  Well designed, with everything that a modern traveler needs and a staff that reflects the traditional friendliness of the Newfoundlander.

Chef Watson has won a number of awards for his elegant offerings, which are usually based on local products.  Newfoundland rack of lamb, fed on seagrass... Deep water lobster from the Grand Banks -- very sweet... Scallops, shrimp and lobster in a saffron sauce with a puff pastry scallop shell.  But today I have asked him for a more down-home approach.

During the 1400s, when Portuguese sailors first fished the Grand Banks, they called the nearby island “Terra de Baccalaos”... which means “the land of the dried codfish.”  These days the island is known as Newfoundland.  But if you spend time in any Newfoundland kitchen you will quickly discover that it is still the land of dried codfish.  And one of the most traditional ways of preparing that fish is to make fishcakes.

Little cubes of pork fat have been sautéed in a pan.  A cup of chopped onion is added.  A pinch of sage goes in. A few minutes of cooking and the pan comes off the heat.  A pound of dried cod has been soaked in water overnight and now Steve is flaking it into small pieces.  If dried cod is not available, you can poach fresh cod and then let it dry out for ten minutes.  It should flake up pretty much the same way as the soaked dried cod.  When all the cod has been broken up into small pieces, the onions are added.  Then three pounds of boiled potatoes are passed through a ricer and into the bowl.  If you don’t have a ricer just mash the potatoes with a fork.  All that gets well mixed and then formed into little cakes that are about three inches in diameter and about an inch thick.  Steve works on a floured surface and uses a spatula to make the job easier.  Nice technique.  Looks like the Wayne Gretzky school of fishcake forming.  A little of the rendered pork fat gets heated in a sauté pan.  Now if rendered pork fat is not your thing, a little vegetable oil will do fine.  Then the fishcakes are cooked for five minutes on each side or until they have a golden crust.

BURT WOLF:  If I stand any closer to this fire, I’m gonna have a little golden crust of my own!

Onto the serving plate... a little fresh dill... a touch of tomato sauce, and they’re ready to serve.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  One of the most traditional meals in Newfoundland is called a boil-up.  A big pot of water is brought to a boil; carrots, cabbage, potatoes and other vegetables are thrown in... plus the catch of the day.  And if there wasn’t much of a catch that day, you’d toss in some salt meat.  A very efficient use of the steam coming up was to steam a pudding for dessert.  The most traditional pudding is called a “Figgy Duff.”  And any day on which a figgy duff was served was known as a “duff day” -- a very duff day.

Here’s how it’s made.  First Steve puts on a pair of gloves because it’s all made by hand and he’s a neat guy.  Three cups of bread crumbs go into a mixing bowl... followed by three-quarters of a cup of all-purpose flour.  Then one and a half cups of raisins are mixed in.  One and half teaspoons of ground nutmeg are added... and one and a half teaspoons of cinnamon.  The rising agent is one and a quarter teaspoons of baking powder.  Then a pinch of salt and more mixing.  The liquid ingredients are one cup of dark molasses... a half cup of melted butter... a quarter of a cup of water, and finally an optional quarter cup of dark rum.  If you’re not using rum just add a little more water.  Then there is much mixing and a change of gloves.  The dough is transferred into a plastic bag...

BURT WOLF:  Is this a special kind of bag?

STEVE WATSON:  It is for our operation, but in the home you could just use, like, the Baggies...

BURT WOLF:  Oh, okay.

STEVE WATSON:  The Ziploc Baggies will be more than adequate.

...and the plastic bag goes into a cloth bag.  But you can just wrap it in a bit of toweling.  Twist it tight and tie it off at the top.  Then it’s into the pot of boiling water.  This particular pot is also boiling our supper. An hour and a half later the bag comes out, the pudding is unwrapped... and it’s ready to serve.  A slice of the duff goes onto a serving plate... a bit of whipped cream... strawberries... mint leaves... maple syrup and it’s a figgy duffy day.

It was easy to learn about the food of Newfoundland; like the people here, their recipes are very straightforward.  Their humor, on the other hand, took a little bit of work, but it was well worth it.  Newfies, as the locals are sometimes called, have a great sense of humor and they love to display it.  Amy House is a master of the craft and she travels throughout the province demonstrating her vision of the Newfoundland character.

BURT WOLF:   What’s the food like in St. John’s?

“MAGUERITE MacGILLICUDDY”:  Oh, that’s what’s good.  Now you don’t get nothing exotic around here, you know.  My husband Ramsey, eh?  You know, you can’t cook nothing exotic in my house.  He’s strictly a meat and potatoes man, eh?  Like the other day, I tried something new, gave him crushed pineapple for dessert.  He said, “Whoever chewed that up can eat it.”  Oh yeah!  Like we live on salt beef and cabbage and stuff like that around here, right?  You know?  We don’t go for that vegetarian stuff -- there’s no one down here that’s orgasmic.  You know, yeah.  Well, you see, Newfoundlanders, you know, like, people in across Canada and down to States, you know, they think we’re slow, eh?  But we’re not slow, down here; we got one up on you really, you know.  Like, we’re known as being unemployed, you know, but we’re not unemployed!  Don’t talk so loose, my son!  Listen, we come here years ago -- five hundred years ago -- the ocean was full of fish, the woods was full of wood, we were full of hunting, we had moose and bison... There’s nothing left to hunt, there’s nothing left to cut down, there’s not a fish left out in the ocean... Look!  We’re not lazy!  We’re not unemployed!  There’s no work in Newfoundland, ‘cause all the work is done!  Look, we got to go up to the mainland now, do their work for them, and then we’re going into the out migration down to the States.  We’ll be down to do your work for you in about 2001.  Yeah, yeah...

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  There’s one more bit of information I’d like to give you about the unique aspects of this place, and that’s a word about the time in Newfoundland.  Now, normally as you travel around the world through one time zone to another, you travel in increments of one hour.  But that’s not the case here.  When you travel from east coast time to Newfoundland time, you travel in an increment of an hour and a half.  And the people here love that.  They feel that if at some point in the future the world comes to an end, it will end here a half hour later.  And until that time, I hope you will continue to join me as I travel around the world looking at the ORIGINS of the things that surround us.  I’m Burt Wolf.

Origins: San Antonio - #121

Every place in the world has a series of things that give that spot a special character... and make it different from every other place.  When you look at the ORIGINS of these things, you often end up with a better appreciation of the territory -- and that makes it a lot more interesting to visit.  And sometimes, these ORIGINS help us understand why we live the way we do.

On March 6, 1836, three thousand troops under the command of the Mexican dictator Santa Ana overwhelmed a hundred and eighty-nine Texans at the Battle of the Alamo.  Six weeks later the army of Texas under the command of General Sam Houston defeated Santa Ana, and Texas became an independent nation.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  The battle cry of the army of Texas was “Remember the Alamo.”  And the people of Texas have been doing that ever since, especially here in San Antonio, which is the home of The Alamo.  I like San Antonio a lot, particularly because it doesn’t forget.  It remembers its past and does everything it can to preserve it.  At a time when many cities are becoming standardized and it’s getting harder to tell one from the other, San Antonio stands out as different -- and in the nicest way.

The first thing that sets it apart is the San Antonio River, which runs smack dab through the center of town.  Richard Hurd is the Superintendent of River Operations.

RICHARD HURD:  The San Antonio River as it stretches through the downtown area of San Antonio, has the River Walk, which is a linear park area along the banks of the river.  And the River Walk history really goes back 75 or 80 years, and this development you see today is an evolution of what’s occurred over that time.  Habitation along the river goes back several thousands of years when Indians first settled along the river and really it was a source of water.  The water in the San Antonio River emerges from springs about three miles north of downtown.  We’re the largest city in the United States who gets their source of water from an underground source exclusively.  And the downtown area really grew up around that river.  What you have today is a very beautiful park area along the banks of the San Antonio River, and adjacent to that park area you have some very nice commercial development that is grown up over the years, and I think one of our real success points is it did occur a long period -- it really evolved.

BURT WOLF:  But it really is a river, and it runs through it.

RICHARD HURD:  Oh yeah.  Yeah.  It’s a river.  But it’s fairly slowly sometimes.  And fairly rapidly sometimes.  It has its own free-thinking, free spirit.  I mean, it’s just subject to the elements just like any other river.

And we’ll be moving into the Arneson River Theater, here.  Which is an amphitheater which was part of the original WPA construction.  Arneson was the engineer on the project during the WPA construction; he died during the project and they named the theater in his memory.  But, on the one side you have grass steps, seating, on the one side of the river, and on the other side you have a stage.  During performances you’ll have barges passing along the front of the theater.  And a beautiful wooden stage for flamenco-type dancing and performances.  During the summer months there’s an event there every night of the week.  From Memorial Day through Labor Day, there’s something there every night.  It’s great for viewing, makes it a little tough on keeping the grass on the steps, but we adjust.

The waterfall we’re coming up against, this was donated by an anonymous donor during Hemisfair ‘68, and it’s recirculated river water.  We have pumps located behind the fountain that draw water out of the river and circulate it through the features.  And it’s really a beautiful feature.  One of the comments that I’ve heard in ‘68 was this area had too much concrete, too much stone.  Twenty-five years later we can see that with the growth of the landscape, that it’s really softened it tremendously.  It’s still very attractive in here.

Spain’s colonization of North America started in Mexico and moved north into what is now Texas.  France’s colonization of North America started in Canada and moved south into Louisiana.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Eventually the French and Spanish began to bump into each other, and not in the friendliest of ways.  The Spanish wanted to keep the French from moving west and they thought one way they could do that would be by colonizing Texas with missions.  So they set missions up along the east coast of Texas.  You can get a pretty good idea of what an early Spanish mission looked like by visiting the Mission San Jose right here in San Antonio.

LEE WILDER: The mission was not a church.  A mission was an entire community.  It was run by the Indians.  They were self-governing.  And then as they built the walls, they built their homes into it.  And you can see that they would have two-room apartments throughout the compound.  Here at Mission San Jose they had eighty-four two-room apartments built into the protective walls.

BURT WOLF:  Were they condos or you rented them?

LEE WILDER:  They were sort of like condos; they did own them.

Within the missions, of course, they learned about Catholicism.  They learned the religion, and they learned the way of life.  This is a very interesting part of the mission.  While this is a reconstruction, this is what the entire front of the church would have been in.  They frescoed the entire front, and in the 1920s they were able to determine the pattern and the colors well enough to reconstruct this particular section to show people what the entire front of the church looked like -- in highly decorative geometric designs of red, blues, and yellows.

The church here at Mission San Jose was built in the 1780s.  It was not the first church, but it became the most elaborate and was known as the Queen of the Missions.  Now, every part of the church instructed the neophytes in some manner.  The shape, the configuration, and most specifically the fine artistic statuary on the front of the church.  And keep in mind that the entire front was frescoed with those bright geometric designs.  Must’ve been a startling sight to anyone coming in.

And on Sunday mornings there’s a perfect example of cultural blending and preservation -- a Mariachi Mass.

LEE WILDER:  Even today, the church is an active parish.  The community still uses these grounds for festivals, and carnivals, and special uses.  The government, in the form of the National Parks Service, has come in and again we’re collaborating with the church in the preservation of these magnificent missions for future generations.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  For hundreds of years the Spanish and the French were in direct competition -- and that was even true when it came to the cooking of their friars in the colonial missions.  Throughout most of North America, the Spanish friars took second place to the French friars.  But that was only because the French friars had earned their reputation frying potatoes, and in actuality it was the Spanish friars who brought the potatoes to North America.  It’s a very confusing situation.  But there’s nothing confusing about the food in San Antonio.  It’s good, and much of the history of the community is reflected in the recipes.

There are at least twenty restaurants in San Antonio that are worth a visit and they’re not hard to find.  We went to a spot called El Mirador.  We had Chilaquiles, which are scrambled eggs that are made with tortilla chips, onions, tomatoes, and jalapeño chilies.  They came with refried beans, fresh tortillas and coffee that had a hit of chocolate in it.  It’s a real down home place with good food at breakfast, lunch and dinner.

This is the restaurant Mi Tierra, which has a number of things going for it.  In terms of free publicity (which may be good or bad, depending on your politics), President Clinton likes to jog and apparently be photographed in his Mi Tierra T-shirt.  The assumption is that he is trying to jog off the calories that he picked up in the restaurant.

EUSEBIO TRUJILLO:  This is our traditional coconut candy.  We use a little bit of food coloring to give it the pinkish presentation..

BURT WOLF:  A little bit...!

EUSEBIO TRUJILLO:  It really is attractive, it’s appealing to the people, it makes it look very tasteful.  And here we also present our traditional coconut square candy.  It’s a solid square of coconut, it’s sweetened, and we present the traditional colors of the Mexican flag -- the red, white, and green.  Here we have our candied oranges.  And what we do here is we serve a freshly squeezed orange juice for breakfast every morning, and where we used to throw away the orange peel, now we send it to our candy man, and he does the same process, the candy process, and instead of having to pay a higher cost for waste management, here our customers assist us in paying us to carry it away.

BURT WOLF:  Recycle!  I like that.

EUSEBIO TRUJILLO:  Recycle!  Zero waste concept is what we call it.

Another specialty that’s very nutritious is our candied pumpkins.

BURT WOLF:  Ah ha.  What makes it nutritious?

EUSEBIO TRUJILLO:  Oh, ‘cause it’s a pumpkin, and so it’s one of the major, what’s that?  The major food...?

BURT WOLF:  Major food groups.  Candy is one of the major food groups.

EUSEBIO TRUJILLO:  Yes.  What we do here is we also use the pumpkin to its fullest.  The seeds from the pumpkin we set out to dry, and we grind them up and use them in another recipe in our kitchen.

BURT WOLF:  I love that.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Now, this is my favorite cookie, it gets the national award for recycling.  It’s called “la piedra” -- the stone.  When anything crumbles or breaks or falls apart up here in the bakery, they don’t throw it out, they put it into a big bin.  Then they take it back by the ovens, mix it with a little moisture, shape it like this, rebake it, and sell it to you.  The stone!

We also had a fine meal at Boudro’s.  It’s in a building that was put up in the late 1800s and it’s right on the River Walk.  The food is American Southwest.  Guacamole made fresh at tableside.  Cheese and black bean soup.  Crab tostados.  And sweet potato cake.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Texas also has some rather unusual packaged foods that make reference to the state in one way or another.  Texas is big -- 265,000 square miles of land.  So when Texas makes a jelly bean -- that’s what you get.  One jellybean to a mouth full.  And let us not forget to remember the Alamo Crackers.  It says on the box, “We will never surrender when it comes to good taste.”  I think they meant “good flavor,” I’m not sure there’s anything in “good taste” about this.  But if we’re moving in that direction, could I put ice cream on this and end up with PIE ALAMO?  You’re right, you’re right -- I never ever should have said that.

Please allow me to redeem myself by introducing you to Sally Buchanan.  She is the President of the San Antonio Conservation Society, which was organized in 1924 and has been working since then to preserve the best of this city.

SALLY BUCHANAN:  The women who formed it were interested in far more than just buildings.  They wanted, also, the natural resources -- the old historic parks to be protected, too.  Because they were as much a part of the character of San Antonio as the old buildings, the streets, and anything else we have around here.  And they lobbied for years to keep those bits and pieces of our old heritage, whether it was street names, whether it was the character of the river and to make it more beautiful, or whether it was the missions which we went at hammer and tong, tooth and nail, and bought up property around it in order to put the mission, particularly San Jose Mission, back together.

The Wulff House, which was built by Anton Wulff in 1870, was bought by the Conservation Society as its headquarters in 1974.  And it is a house that has the service areas down below grade a bit so it’s cooler.  You know, we are at the level of Cairo and Delhi on the latitude -- about that -- so our sun is high overhead.  So you want to do whatever you can to defend yourself from the sun.  You look and notice that it has very tall windows, and inside very high ceilings which gives it a wonderful cross-ventilation.

BURT WOLF:  It’s a natural air-conditioner.

SALLY BUCHANAN:  It’s as natural air-conditioning as you can get.  Anton Wulff was our first Parks’ Commissioner here, and he built this glorious building that is at the beginning of the King William Historic District.

We are at the Edward Steves Homestead which is owned by the Conservation Society and one of the two places in King William’s Street in the district where you’re able to go in one of these grand houses and see how people lived.  When you go in the house you will see stenciled ceilings, incredible innovations for that time, mercury switches, lamps that are fitted with electricity and gas, and a wonderful marketry table in the back room, which the employees of Edward Steves made for him in the shop.

Another landmark in San Antonio is San Fernando Cathedral.  The first foundation stone was laid in 1735 by the Canary Islanders.  Santa Ana hung his red flag from the church and used the tower as an observation post during the Battle of the Alamo.

This is the Governor’s Palace.  No governor actually lived there; it was a residence for the local military officers.

In front of it is the Military Plaza.  This was the earliest permanently settled spot by European immigrants.  After the revolution it was the commercial center of San Antonio, and home of the “Chili Queens.”

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Starting in the 1880s and continuing through the 1940s, food stands were set up every night in the plazas of the city.  They were staffed by young ladies who were chaperoned and assisted by their families.  They served very spicy chili to customers who were accustomed to much blander recipes.

The women eventually became known as “The Chili Queens.”  Stephen Crane, author of The Red Badge of Courage, visited the Chili Queens in 1895 and described the food as tasting “like pounded firebrick from Hades.”  Chili received its first exposure to the international public when a San Antonio Chili Stand was set up at the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  That fair was known as the Columbian Exposition of 1893.  It was there to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Columbus’s arrival in the New World in 1492.  They wanted to open in ‘92, but the construction ran so late that they didn’t get open until ‘93.  Sound familiar?  The Chili Queens disappeared in the 1940s, but they arrive every year once again on Memorial Day Weekend in a celebration of their memory.

Situated directly on the banks of the San Antonio River is a building that has been designated a historic treasure.  The planning for the main structure got started sixteen years after the fall of the Alamo by four brothers of the Society of Mary who arrived in San Antonio to build a school.  In the 1930s it became the home of St. Mary’s University School of Law.

When the law school moved to a larger campus in 1966, the property was purchased by a graduate of the school named Patrick Kennedy.  Pat’s intention was to renovate the site and turn it into an elegant hotel.  But this was his old law school and he loved the place.  As he walked through the structure he remembered his experiences and made sure that the design of the new building would conserve the old building.

Today, the library where Pat spent his time preparing to pass the bar is the hotel bar, which he tries never to pass.

The restored structure is known as La Mansion del Rio.  It’s a member of the Preferred Hotels & Resorts, and it can restore your belief that luxury hotels are still around.

The main restaurant is called Las Canarias.  The name pays tribute to a group of settlers that came to San Antonio from the Canary Islands in 1723.  And their namesake restaurant makes a significant contribution to the local gastronomy.

Ralph Herrmann is the chef at La Mansion and he’s going to do a little cooking for us.  His first recipe is for Blackened Red Snapper on a bed of Grilled Pineapple Rice.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Rice first came to Texas hundreds of years ago with the Spanish.  As a commercial product, it showed up in Texas right after the War Between The States.  And the same things that made rice important then are the things that make rice important today.

White rice has an almost unlimited shelf life.  And brown rice will hold for about six months.  All rice is easy to cook.  It’s high in complex carbohydrates, which makes it one of the healthiest fuels for your body.  It has a neutral flavor which allows it to blend with other foods.  And it is inexpensive.  On a more modern note -- it has no fat, no cholesterol and no sodium.

RALPH HERRMANN:  Okay, we’re going to add clarified butter to the pan.

Ralph starts his recipe for Pineapple Rice by pouring two tablespoons of clarified butter into a sauté pan, or you could use a vegetable oil and the results would be pretty much the same.  Then in go two cloves of minced garlic and two tablespoons of minced shallot or onion and four tablespoons of chopped green onion.  That sautés for a minute, after which the grilled pineapple is added.

That’s a whole pineapple that has been cut, cored, sliced, grilled and chopped.  Then a red bell pepper that has been roasted, seeded, and chopped.  A little salt and pepper.  And finally, two ounces of pineapple juice.  All that cooks together for about two minutes, at which point it is mixed into the four cups of precooked rice.  The rice is then molded with the aid of a cup and placed onto a serving plate.  A fillet of blackened red snapper goes on... a bit of grilled baby squash... and a sauce of avocado vinaigrette.

Ralph’s next recipe is for a Honey and Avocado Pico de Gallo, which could be served with fish or poultry.  And finally, for dessert, he’ll make a Honey Flan.

There are more than three hundred varieties of honey in the U.S., and the flavor of a particular honey depends on where the bees buzzed.  The flower that the bee tapped will determine both the flavor and the color of the honey that the bee will be making.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  In general, the lighter the honey the milder the flavor.  But darker honeys have interesting flavors and that’s why I use them.  Honey can add nice flavor notes to seasonings and sauces and dressings.  And while I’m in Texas, I should point out that one of the most common uses for honey is in barbecue sauce.  You know, if you come to Texas and you don’t say “barbecue” at least once, you’re in big trouble.

Ralph’s recipe for Honey Pico de Gallo begins with an onion being sliced in half, peeled, and chopped.  A half cup’s worth goes into a mixing bowl.  The ends are removed from six Roman tomatoes.  Then they are quartered, the cores are removed, and the remaining portion of the tomato is sliced into strips, cubed and placed in the bowl.  An avocado is quartered, peeled, diced and added.  The ends are cut from two Serrano peppers.  Then they are diced and mixed in.  Two cloves of crushed garlic are sliced, minced and added.  The juice of two limes goes in, plus a pinch of salt -- and finally the key ingredient: four tablespoons of honey.  A little mixing.  Two tablespoons of chopped cilantro.  A little more mixing and it’s ready.  Ralph uses the sauce for a dish of grilled chicken breasts.

Next up is the Honey Flan, but while we’re on the subject of honey, here are a few tips.  Don’t store honey in the refrigerator.  Just keep it in the jar at room temperature.  If it gets cloudy, which is part of the natural process of crystallization, heat it gently and it will return to its original liquid state.  You can use a warm water bath or after you make sure there’s no metal on the container you can put it in a microwave.  A little stirring and the crystals will dissolve.

And now -- a honey of a dessert.  Five whole eggs are whisked together in a mixing bowl.  Two cups of half and half are added.  Then three ounces of orange blossom honey.  A little mixing.

A vanilla bean is sliced.  The seeds and the meat are removed and added to the mixture.  If a vanilla bean is not easily available then a tablespoon of vanilla extract will do the job.  At this point the mixture is put aside for a few moments while two ounces of honey are heated and caramelized in a sauté pan.

As soon as the honey starts to turn brown it’s divided into eight ramekins.  Ralph is only using two, but you get the point.  The ramekins are tilted and turned so the caramelized honey coats the inside.  Then the ramekins go into a water bath and the water bath goes into a pre-heated 350-degree Fahrenheit oven for fifteen minutes.

When they come out, the flan is unmolded onto a serving plate and garnished with a sauce made from chopped Granny Smith apples, red apples and strawberries that have been diced and sautéed in a little honey.  Finally: a touch of mint.

The single largest group of European immigrants to arrive in San Antonio came from Germany.  In many cases they lived next to the native Mexican population, with each community exposing their cultural traditions to the other.  They influenced each others’ approach to business, art, architecture, food and particularly music.

At some point in the late 1800s the Mexican population in southern Texas adopted the accordion from the German settlers.  By the 1920s, the German polka and the waltz joined with the Mexican mariachi and produced a type of music called conjunto.  The Mexican 12-string bass guitar partnered with the German accordion.

Later a standup bass and drums were added.  The early lyrics dealt with experiences that were shared by both groups -- economic hardship, racial prejudice, tough times -- stories that gave conjunto its standing as true folk music.

Every May the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center sponsors a five-day festival of conjunto music, and people come from all over the world to celebrate this sound.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Well -- those are some of the things I’m going to remember about San Antonio, and I hope that you will remember to join us next time as we travel around the world looking at the ORIGINS of some of the things that surround us. I’m Burt Wolf.

Origins: Hong Kong - #120

Every place in the world has a series of things that give that spot a special character... and make it different from every other place.  When you look at the ORIGINS of these things, you often end up with a better appreciation of the territory -- and that makes it a lot more interesting to visit.  And sometimes, these ORIGINS help us understand why we live the way we do.

For hundreds of years, Canton has been the capital city of southern China.  It sits on the banks of the Pearl River, which empties out into the South China Sea.  At the mouth of the river, about eighty miles from Canton, is the little island of Hong Kong.  People have been living on Hong Kong for over six thousand years, and until the middle of the 1800s it was a quiet place with a small population that made a living from the sea.

But that is no longer the case.  These days Hong Kong is one of the busiest and most modern cities in the world.  And perhaps because it is physically so small -- only seventeen square miles -- it loves the idea of being big in every other way.

It has the busiest container port in the world.  It is the world’s largest exporter of clothing, watches and fashion jewelry.  It is one of the world’s largest banking centers.  It is building the world’s largest airport.  It has the world’s largest Chinese restaurant, which you might expect, but it also has the world’s busiest McDonald’s.  It has constructed the world’s longest outdoor escalator.

Hong Kong is also one of the world’s top centers for trade.  Which is only fitting, since Hong Kong’s growth began as the result of a trade war between England and China in the middle of the 1800s.  And trade has been the source of Hong Kong’s growth ever since.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  During the 1700s and 1800s the English were buying teas, silks and porcelains from the Chinese and paying for them with silver... with so much silver that they began to run out of reserves.  They needed to find something to sell to the Chinese to get their silver back.  And what they found was opium.  They found it in India which was a British colony at the time and they forced it on the Chinese.  They centered their opium dealings in the Chinese city of Canton.  The Emperor of China hated the drug trade and declared it illegal.  He even tried to have it stopped by sending a letter to Queen Victoria.  Listen to this: “I am told that in your country opium smoking is forbidden under severe penalties.  This means you are aware of how harmful it long as you do not take it yourselves, but continue to make and tempt the people of China to buy it, you will be showing yourself careful of your own life, but careless of the lives of other people, indifferent in your greed for gain to the harm you do to others; such conduct is repugnant to human feelings and at variance with the Way of Heaven.”  And what did Queen Victoria do in response to this letter?  Zip.  Nothing at all.  Her drug trade continued as before.

So the Emperor ordered a blockade of the port of Canton.  He cut off their food and water and demanded that the English hand over their opium stores.  After six weeks, Captain Charles Elliot of the Royal Navy surrendered 20,283 chests, with 150 pounds of opium in each -- altogether over three million pounds of narcotics.  The British withdrew from Canton and took refuge at the mouth of the Pearl River on the island of Hong Kong.  The British government in London responded to the Chinese by sending in the marines.  The English attacked China in what has become known as the Opium Wars.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  The Chinese were no match for the English.  And they very soon agreed to give Hong Kong to the English and to open up their ports to the opium traders.  Nice little business for the British as long as you skip over the fact that they  were inventing the international drug trade.  Ah, but those were the bad old days, and now Hong Kong is living in the good old days.  Days in which Hong Kong is a global financial center, and the collective high comes from economic success.  Opium is out. Adrenaline is in.

But where does all this economic success come from?  What are the origins of Hong Kong’s wealth and power?

Hong Kong has no vast agricultural areas.  Hong Kong has no wealth of raw materials.  Hong Kong has no reserve of valuable minerals.  It would seem that Hong Kong has none of the things that traditionally make a community wealthy.  But Hong Kong does have two things that make up for everything that’s missing.  The first is a unique geographic position.  Hong Kong is at the crossroads of Asia and it is the commercial entrance gate to the Chinese mainland.  To take advantage of its geography, Hong Kong has built itself one of the most modern ports in the world.  It handles over ten million containers each year, which makes it the busiest container port in the world.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  The second thing that Hong Kong has is a population with a cultural tradition that loves “efficiency.”  Efficiency is basic to the Chinese character and it comes out in everything that is a basic part of Chinese life.

For thousands of years the Chinese have cooked in woks.  A wok is easy to make. Easy to store.  Easy to use, and most important, it is very efficient in terms of fuel.  Most Chinese recipes are masterpieces of gastronomic efficiency.  Lots of well-balanced nutrients for the least cost.

The Chinese junk is an amazing example of efficient nautical design.  Easy to build, it carries a large amount of cargo space and makes almost perfect use of the local winds.  The Chinese also invented the magnetic compass, which was certainly a great step toward more efficient travel.

And with all due respect to Mr. Gutenberg and his bible, the Chinese had movable type centuries before the Europeans.  They also invented paper, which gave them the original prize for efficient information storage.  And next time you open up your wallet, please bear in mind that it was the Chinese who came up with the idea of paper money.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  So, Hong Kong has a harbor that’s ideally placed for trade and a population with a five thousand year old history of efficiency.  What do you make with those two ingredients?  Well, you end up with an economy based on bringing something into Hong Kong, efficiently changing it to make it more valuable and then shipping it out of Hong Kong at a price that makes money.

Made-to-measure clothing is an important part of Hong Kong’s tourist economy.  A shirt or suit made to your own precise measurements is at the top of the shopping list for many tourists.  And there are over four thousand tailors in Hong Kong ready to meet the demand.

The most famous tailor in Hong Kong is Sam’s.  He certainly has the most famous clientele.  Sam feels that a good tailor must never talk about his clients.  For Sam, inside leg length is a privileged communication and I agree.  But if you look around the walls of his shop you can get a pretty good idea of the people Sam keeps in stitches.

BURT WOLF:  Now, when I’m looking for a suit and I want to be able to tell a really good suit from a not so good suit, what do I look for?

MANU “SAM” MELWANI:  Well, you look at the first -- you look at the quality of the fabric you buy from.  After buying the quality of fabric, you look at then, the stitching.

BURT WOLF:  The stitching... how can I tell good stitching?

MANU “SAM” MELWANI:  Well, before you go for the quality, you look at it, right, if it doesn’t fit you, it’s not worth at all to look at it...


BURT WOLF:  Okay, it has to fit right when I first put it on...

MANU “SAM” MELWANI:  First look at it according to your shoulder, according to your neck, if the suit is away  from the collar it’s just not worth it at all.  Once the suit fits you...

BURT WOLF:  Right...

MANU “SAM” MELWANI:  ...then you go for the hand stitching, buttonholes, all these, like this...

BURT WOLF:  Real buttonholes...

MANU “SAM” MELWANI:  That’s right...

BURT WOLF:  Okay, hand stitching...

MANU “SAM” MELWANI:  All the way....

BURT WOLF:  Oh, stitching all the way down in here....

MANU “SAM” MELWANI:  To hold the shape of the lapels so it doesn’t go off...

BURT WOLF:  I never noticed that.  So there’s stitching in here to hold the shape of the lapel.

MANU “SAM” MELWANI:  So that it doesn’t wear out.

BURT WOLF:  Oh, that’s very nice...the jacket is perfect.  I will try on the pants now, but I’ll do that privately.

Perhaps most important these days in terms of Hong Kong’s economy are the financial services.  In most cases these are Western commercial concepts that the people of Hong Kong have adapted for the needs of an Asian population.  Information services, investment banking, insurance, accounting.  And they are constantly developing new and more efficient ways of doing business.

The Chinese words Hong Kong mean “Fragrant Harbor,” which is a perfect description of the place.  No matter what happens to it, it always comes up smelling like a rose.  Hong Kong has also been described as being like a rubber ball -- the harder you throw it, the higher it bounces.  And it appears that at the heart of Hong Kong’s ability to bounce back are two things: a population that can easily adapt to change and a government that supports business as the world changes.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  The government believes that if someone wants to start a business he’ll probably  know enough about that business to make the venture a modest success.  And it is their job to do everything they can to help that person become successful.  They also believe that everybody is going to pay their taxes and they believe that for two reasons.  First of all, they feel that people are basically honest.  And second, they feel that they’ve kept the taxes here in Hong Kong so low, that it costs more to cheat them than to pay them.

Because Hong Kong has been faced with an extraordinary level of change, it has mastered the techniques of transition.  The key word is flexibility.  They know when it’s time to make a shift.  If you have a small factory that is making typewriter keyboards and typewriters are no longer a growing business, but computers are, it’s time to shift to computer keyboards.  No problem.  No rigidity.  They’ll make the change tonight.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  During the 1970s when China introduced the series of economic reforms, Hong Kong money started moving into the mainland, and Hong Kong itself began to lose some of its manufacturing jobs.  Now, in most parts of the world that would have led to a recession.  But not here.  Hong Kong just shifted gears and went from an economy based primarily on manufacturing to an economy  based primarily on services.  Particularly services in banking and insurance.  Hong Kong also became a point of entry for foreign corporations who wanted to do business in China.

The whole town is constantly involved in finding a dynamic state of balance, literally from minute to minute.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Everyone has come to realize that change by itself is really nothing to fear, and that more often than not change just creates new opportunities for profit.

For over one hundred and fifty years Hong Kong was a commercial outpost of England.  A center for entrepreneurial operations.  A hotbed of capitalist activity.  And since the middle of the twentieth century, all this free enterprise has been going on right in front of the world’s largest communist government.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  On the surface, it would appear that mainland China and Hong Kong were in conflict -- capitalism versus communism.  But that is a western view, and Hong Kong and China are in the east.  The world of the Taoist.  The masters of flexibility and integration -- the combiners of opposites.

Hong Kong has become the commercial window on the world for the mainland, and Beijing likes to keep that window open with the money blowing in.  Hong Kong is Beijing’s banker.  The Hong Kong investment community is China’s main source of foreign currency, currency that is very much needed.  On the other side of the coin, the Bank of China in Hong Kong is the second largest bank in the city and one of the three banks that issue Hong Kong’s money.  A capitalist city bringing money to a communist country and a bank owned by the communist country issuing currency for the capitalists.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Inscrutable -- like so many marriages that work.  And Hong Kong works for the mainland in other ways.  Hong Kong is Beijing’s communications center, source of investor funds and technical know-how, gateway for tourism, and trade base from which the mainland deals with the rest of the world.  It is the school where Beijing is learning about free enterprise and putting those lessons to practice in the provinces that are nearest to Hong Kong.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  The majority of the business community in Hong Kong believe that China and a number of other Asian countries are developing in ways that will transfer the economic centers of the world from Europe and America to Asia.  They also believe that Hong Kong will become the transfer agent.

In 1841, England took Hong Kong from the Chinese Emperor by force.  In 1982 British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher went to Beijing to discuss transferring control of Hong Kong back to China.  Suddenly the residents of Hong Kong were confronted with a future in which Hong Kong would lose its status as a British colony and be handed over to a communist government.

And a lot of people got very nervous.  The stock market took a dive.  Highly inflated property values dropped.  Capital flew out of town.  Large corporations began thinking about moving their headquarters.  And thousands of people decided that they were going to immigrate to some other country.  At one point, Hong Kong was losing over 40,000 people a year.  But that has all changed.  Hong Kong, as it has done for decades, quickly lost interest in panic and settled down for a closer look at what was really happening.

The Buddhists believe that in every event there is a Teaching, and if you understand the Teaching, the event, no matter how negative it may look on the surface, will eventually produce something good for you.  So the question for Hong Kong became... what is the Teaching?

Guy Lam is a mechanical engineer.  But he is also one of the most respected attorneys in Hong Kong.  His specialty is international law.  Guy was born in China and raised in Hong Kong, but when he wanted an education, he left.

GUY LAM:  Well, I was eighteen, and I was at an age of going to university.  And going to school in the colonial system, any higher education is a very difficult task.  The British make sure there are only so few spaces at the university level.  So it is quite common for people between the age of eighteen after secondary school to go to university elsewhere, such as U.K., U.S., and Canada.  And I went in Canada.

BURT WOLF:  During the early ‘80s when it became apparent that Hong Kong was going to be given back to the Chinese Communists, lots of people left.  Why did they do that?

GUY LAM:  The fear of Communism.  It was a nightmare in China, I would say, in the last century or so.  So, with that as a background, it’s understandable many Hong Kong Chinese would not want to be part of nightmare; and therefore, they left.

BURT WOLF:  You came back.  Why?

GUY LAM:  We realized the nightmare was not so much of a nightmare after all.  It was actually an opportunity.  With China opening up -- which was never expected -- with Hong Kong prospering from the opening up of China, I would say Hong Kong is more like California during eighteenth century, nineteenth century when it first joined the U.S.  The “Wild West”?  Now this is the “Wild East.”  The land of opportunities.

BURT WOLF:  What role do you think Hong Kong is going to play in the future?

GUY LAM:  Well, I think Hong Kong will inevitably be the widow to the world for China, and in fact is has been, even though it’s not part of China yet, it has served as such purpose.  If you compare the industrialization of China in the last ten, twenty years to that of the U.S.S.R., China prospered, and U.S.S.R. -- the former U.S.S.R., now Russia -- went down the pipes.  The difference, one major difference, is Hong Kong.  China has Hong Kong to bring to it the finance expertise, legal expertise, the capital, whereas Russia has none.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Over ten percent of the people who left Hong Kong have returned, and each year there is a net inflow of over 100,000 people a year.  In the end it was a pretty traditional teaching for the people of Hong Kong -- in this case, change was merely a shifting of the earth that allowed people to find gold in a new place.

In spite of being part of China, Hong Kong looks very western, and in many ways it is.  But when you get up close it becomes quite clear... this is a Chinese culture, outside and in.  And everything that is traditionally Chinese is very important to the people of Hong Kong.

Take for example the practice of fung shui.  Fung shui is a Chinese Buddhist art that adjusts a building so it stands in proper relationship to the spirit force of life called the Ch’i.  The man in charge of making the adjustment is called a geomancer.  This is Raymond Lo, who’s one of the master geomancers of Hong Kong.

RAYMOND LO:  Geomancy is a study of how the environment is affecting the well-being of people.  So, basically, we talk about how the landscape will generate a kind of prosperous energy and then we have to measure directions and we also have to measure time.  So, in fact, it’s a science which talks about how you can prosper at a particular time and space dimension. 

BURT WOLF:  How do you do it?

RAYMOND LO:  Basically, you have to use a very important tool.  So this is the ancient Chinese compass.  So because we need to measure direction accurately we have to apply this instrument.  So it’s not much different from an ordinary compass.  You see that it’s a magnetic needle pointing north / south.  But it has got a lot of information which tells you the implication of different directions or you can say what kind of Ch’i, the word Ch’i is very fashionable, so all the information there tells us that if you measure a building facing this direction, what are the implications?  What is the implication of that tree in relation to that building, the implication of that road, in relation to that building.

The Bank of China Tower has been a controversial subject in the fung shui circles in Hong Kong mainly because it was built with a lot of sharp edges.  Pointing, one of the sharp edges is believed to be pointing to the back of the Hong Kong governor’s house.  So, in Chinese fung shui principles basically we prefer very harmonious kind of shape.  Like we prefer circles, we prefer regular rectangles, and sharp edge is usually considered as a source of hostility and horror.  So there are people who consider this to be responsible for the conflicting relationship between the British government and the Chinese government since the building was there in about 1985.

BURT WOLF:  I’m going to watch out for all the pointed buildings near my house, that’s for sure.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Hong Kong’s Regent Hotel has excellent fung shui. Very early in the planning stage a geomancer was consulted.  And he pointed out that the great dragons of Kowloon who lived just up the road from here, would pass through this spot each day on the way to their bath in the harbor.  The very spot where they entered the water was where the Regent was about to be built.  And that would have been bad fung shui.  Actually, very bad fung shui.

The solution: glass.  It appears that dragons don’t mind going through glass.  They come in straight through the front doors.  There’s one door for each dragon.  Then they cross the lobby and enter the bay through forty-foot-high windows.  The geomancer also pointed out that dragons often control the flow of wealth and it would be a good idea to place the check-in area and the cashier alongside the dragons’ path.  The owners of the hotel did just that and the hotel has been successful ever since.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  And the geomancers do pretty well too.  They get paid about two dollars per square foot when they’re working on a private apartment and a major commercial building can bring in a fee of well over one-hundred thousand dollars.  The moral of the story is clear -- a clean dragon is a happy dragon.  And good fung shui can help you clean up.

And if you would like to clean up your plate, the Regent Hong Kong can help you with that, too.  Their Shanghai Club restaurant is one of the most well-respected and romantic spots in town.  Today, Chef Cheung Kam Chuen is going to prepare a dish of Fish with Eggplant.

The wok is heated; in go two cups’ worth of eggplant, cut into strips.  Thirty seconds of cooking and the eggplant is drained.  Fresh oil goes in, then a filet of grouper that has been cut into sticks that are an inch square and about three inches long.  They were dipped in beaten egg and then rolled in cornstarch prior to their arrival in the wok.  They stir-fry for a minute; the wok is cleaned and reheated.  Then in goes some garlic, ginger, red chili pepper and chili sauce.  Hot stuff!  The fish comes back, the eggplant returns, a half-tablespoon of sesame oil goes in, plus a half-tablespoon of soy sauce.  A little stirring, followed by a teaspoon of cornstarch that has been dissolved in water.  Then it’s into a serving bowl with a garnish of cilantro and scallions.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  That’s a brief look at some of the stories that make Hong Kong the unique place that it is.  But what happened to Captain Charles Elliot of the British Navy, where this story began?  The man who took Hong Kong from the Chinese emperor in 1841 and had the original vision of this place as a commercial center?  What happened to Captain Charles?  Well... the Lords in London didn’t think that he had made such a good deal with the Chinese.  They wanted more.  And so they banished him to the most insignificant political post they could think of.  They made him British Consul to Texas.  Yeah, I know, it’s hard to find people who appreciate your work.  And yet,  you have stood with me during this program and that makes me feel appreciated.  And I hope you will stand with me again during our next program as we travel around the world.  I’m Burt Wolf.

Origins: A Taste of Virginia Beach - #119

Every place in the world has a series of things that give that spot a special character... and make it different from every other place.  When you look at the ORIGINS of these things, you often end up with a better appreciation of the territory -- and that makes it a lot more interesting to visit.  And sometimes, these ORIGINS help us understand why we live the way we do.

The English colonization of North America began in two different places and with two very different styles.  The Pilgrims who showed up in Massachusetts in 1620 came to the New World to pursue their search for religious freedom.  They were known as Puritans and they were devoted to a plain and simple way of life.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  In general, when the Puritans saw something that looked like it was going to feel good to the body, they decided that it was going to be bad for the soul and should be avoided.  On the other hand, you had the colonists that showed up in Virginia in 1607.  When they saw something that looked like it was going to feel good to the body they asked for a large case of it and wanted it to be delivered to their home as soon as possible.  They came to Virginia seeking wealth and power.  They wanted to live a lifestyle as close as possible to the King of England and they did everything they could to have that happen.  Both groups, however, were very interested in keeping their English traditions.  Especially when it came to eating and drinking.  If there was a foodstuff that grew in England, they wanted to grow it here in the Colonies.

The early settlers in Virginia took up residence along the James River, at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay.  These days it’s where you will find the city of Virginia Beach.  For over four hundred years, the people of the Virginia Beach area have been surrounded by a great variety of seafood -- oysters, sturgeon, lobster, crabs, shrimp.  In fact, Captain John Smith wrote home that he had seen so many sea bass in the Chesapeake Bay that he thought he could walk across their backs without getting wet.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  In order to reduce their dependency on foods being imported from England, a group of Virginia colonists went to live with a group of friendly Native Americans.  Of all of the new foods they learned about, the most important was probably corn.  They quickly discovered that cornmeal could be used just like wheat flour to make bread.  They also found out that corn was a great vegetable.  You could eat it fresh off the cob during the summer, or you could dry it for later use in the winter when you would mix it with water and beans and meat.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  During the 1600’s, the colonists in Virginia built a little wooden shack and designated it as the central market.  During the Revolutionary War, the British burned it down.  So they built another one.  And the British burned it down during the War of 1812.  But the people of Virginia are very resourceful.  In retaliation against the British they invented the grilled vegetable sandwich which continues to increase in popularity while British imperialism continues to decline.

These days the official farmers’ market is in Virginia Beach.  There are also about two dozen farm stands in the area, and a number of pick-it-yourself farms.  The Virginia Beach Cooperative Extension publishes a list of the locations and the foods that are available month by month.  And during the late summer, the trucks are filled with fresh corn.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Virginia also became famous for its pork.  Pigs can be raised without much supervision.  As a matter of fact, the early Virginia colonists would fence their pigs out, not in.  They lived on whatever the settlers would discard and what they could find in the woods.  During the 1600’s, the Virginia planters began developing a crop of peanuts.  They used it as a cheap food source and fed it to the pigs.  Pigs developed a very special flavor.  The most famous pigs from Virginia came from an area called Smithfield, just down the road from here.  They became so popular in the United States and in Europe that Queen Victoria of England had a standing order for six Smithfield hams every week.

Pork is still a favorite part of the Virginia diet.  This is Thomas Malbon, whose barbecue business is truly a movable feast.

THOMAS MALBON:  Today we’re cooking a 140-pound hog on open coals and slow-roasted 24 hours overnight and cook it about 250-275 degrees.  The meat is cooked long enough and slow enough it’ll just fall right apart, you don’t even need a knife, the bones come right out of it.

BURT WOLF:  That really is so tender!

THOMAS MALBON:  Yes.  And the tender pork tenderloin which is a favorite of most -- just dip right in the sauce.

BURT WOLF:  Yes, I can do this.  Mmmmmm. Mmmmmm. Mmmmmm.

You call Tom, you tell him where and when you want to have your party and how many folks’ll be there.  Then all you’ve got to do is be ready to pig out.

THOMAS MALBON:  We’re having Snowflake Rolls, coleslaw, Texas caviar -- which is black beans, black-eyed peas, and navy beans, celery and some bell pepper.  Potato salad, cucumber salad with bell peppers and tomatoes, homemade baked beans, baby-back ribs.

BURT WOLF:  Oh yeah!  Mmmmm!

THOMAS MALBON:  Barbecue chicken, and Silver Queen sweet corn.

BURT WOLF:  Silver Queen sweet corn.

THOMAS MALBON:  Grown locally.

BURT WOLF:  I’m ready.

And if you have any room after that, you could visit a restaurant on the beach called Timbuktu, where Jordan Cross is going to prepare a Killer Fudge Cake.

JORDAN CROSS:  About six years ago, my parents wanted me to do my own desserts for my bar mitzvah.  So, I started baking... and that’s the first time I made it.

BURT WOLF:  How many people came to your bar mitzvah?

JORDAN CROSS:  About fifty, but I only did one of the cakes.  And I did a couple of the other desserts.  But that was the first time that I baked.

BURT WOLF:  That is a great story.

Jordan is not the executive chef here.  He’s not the pastry chef, either.  He’s not even a chef.  Jordan’s a busboy!  But you’d never know it from his recipe.

Jordan starts by greasing the bottom of two 9-inch round baking pans and then lining them with parchment paper.  Next, over simmering water, he melts together six ounces of butter and six ounces of unsweetened chocolate.

JORDAN CROSS:  Now that it’s all melted, I’m going to take it off and let it cool, while I’m doing the rest of the recipe.

Six whole eggs go into a mixing bowl, followed by three cups of sugar, a half teaspoon of salt, and one tablespoon of vanilla extract.  All those ingredients are whisked together for a minute, at which point a cup and a half of flour goes in and a cup and a half of chocolate chips.  The melted chocolate is poured in, and when everything is thoroughly combined this batter is divided equally between two baking pans.  Then it’s into a 350-degree Fahrenheit oven for thirty minutes.

While the batter is baking, an icing is made.  A cup and a half of sugar goes into a small saucepan, plus two tablespoons of instant coffee.  Then a cup of cream is added and the pan goes onto the range.

JORDAN CROSS:  I stir it until it boils, and then as soon as it starts to boil I let it simmer for six minutes without stirring.

The pan comes off the heat and five ounces of unsweetened chocolate go in.  As the chocolate melts, four ounces of unsalted butter are added.  And finally, two tablespoons of vanilla extract are whisked in.  That’s the icing, and it goes into a freezer for about ten minutes to cool down and thicken up.

BURT WOLF:  At which point, the sauce is ready and the cakes come out of the oven.

JORDAN CROSS:  Alright, and the first thing we want to do is loosen the crusts from the side.  Alright, now I’m going to put a cake plate on top and flip it upside down.  And you want to peel off the waxed paper.  And now I need to put a layer of icing on the first cake.

BURT WOLF:  Go for it!

A layer gets iced... the second layer goes on... the top and the sides are iced... a little decoration of roses of icing... white chocolate shavings and the cake is ready.  Now that is a Killer Chocolate Cake!

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  The restrictions on trade that had been placed on the American colonies by the English King came to an end with the end of the American Revolution.  There was an enormous increase in interstate and international trade.  That increase in business led to an increase in ship traffic along the Atlantic coast. And the increase in ship traffic led to an increase in ship wrecks.

This was the problem.  And this was the solution. In 1878, the federal Lifesaving Service established a series of life-saving stations at six-mile intervals along the coast.

The only life saving station left standing today on the east coast is right here on the boardwalk in Virginia Beach.  And it is a museum dedicated to the history of the service.

FIELDING L. TYLER:  There were, according to records which we have here, along the coast of Virginia, some six hundred wrecks between the start of the Lifesaving Service and 1915 when the Lifesaving Service merged to form the Coast Guard.  So there were quite a few.  And most of them were captured in the log books of the lifesaving stations along this part of the east coast.

There were three primary methods that they would use for lifesaving in this station and in most all the stations in America.  The first was the surf boat, which would envision the crew of this station or any other station going out to the wreck in the boat, being maybe taken down the beach by on a vehicle or being pulled by a cart taken out to there, go out to the wreck and save individuals and the equipment and all the stuff on the boat.  The second method that they used was the surf car.  The surf car looked like a large torpedo that was used to bring people from the beach or from the ship to the beach in more than one at a time.  In this case, this metal device would be sent out to the shipwreck on a line, load in more than one survivor, in this case I think usually about two or three would get into this device, close the door, signal to the beach, and we would bring this back over the surf, over the water, to the beach.  Not a very widely used device, but a device certainly used here at the lifesaving stations along the east coast.  The third method was the britches buoy.  The britches buoy was a sort of a life ring with a pair of -- looks like a man’s pair of britches on it.  And they would move that back and forth from the beach to the shipwreck, sort of like pulleys between two apartment buildings in New York.  This model depicts a very small coastal schooner that’s gone aground right here in front of the lifesaving station at Virginia Beach.  The schooner is foundering in the surf, behind it you can see the surf men from the station have set up the britches buoy apparatus.  This is a method of rescue that would bring him all the way back to the beach one at a time, then the crew will send the britches buoy back out to the ship, bring another survivor on and bring him to the beach.  This is one of the major methods of lifesaving service in the old days here at Virginia Beach station.

The original line, how they got the britches buoy out to the shipwreck, was they would fire it from a very small cannon called a Lyle Gun -- the line-throwing cannon --shoot that bad boy out to the shipwreck, then they would pull the line in -- hopefully the survivors would pull the line in -- and establish the line between the two, and then the crew here at the station would run the britches buoy or run the surf car out there, bringing the survivors back and forth.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Eventually, the lifesaving activities of the U.S. Lifesaving Service became part of the responsibilities of the U.S. Coast Guard, which was founded in 1790 by Alexander Hamilton who was then Secretary of the Treasury.  That was only one of the important things that Hamilton did for our nation, but it appears that his undying fame will actually rest on the fact that he is the face on a ten dollar bill.  Such are the twists and turns of fate.

These days the United States Coast Guard is the smallest of our five armed services.  It’s made up of about 45,000 men and women who are charged with an amazing variety of responsibilities regarding our waterways.

They maintain our navigation systems, including lighthouses and buoys, as well as our ship-to-shore emergency radio networks.

They play a central role in the enforcement of customs and immigration laws.

They serve as a military force, and are sent all over the world, from the Caribbean to the Persian Gulf.

They quickly respond to environmental threats from oil spills and other hazardous substances.

They are essential to communities victimized by flooding.

They provide the ice-breaking capabilities for federal and scientific organizations, keeping the sea lanes open from the polar regions to the Great Lakes.

And, of course, the Coast Guard is famous for their search and rescue missions.

This camcorder footage is from one of their rescue choppers.  A family of four, including a three-month-old baby, is trapped on a drifting sailboat in fifty-mile an hour winds -- and although the footage is not the sharpest, the sound track will give you a clear idea of what these heroes are like.


RESCUER 1:  Okay, basket down?

RESCUER 2:  Okay, basket is going down.  Basket is halfway down, basket is holding five feet over water.

RESCUER 1:  Copy.

RESCUER 2:  Mario has the baby.  Basket hit the water.  Easy, right.  Easy, right.  Easy back and right.  Easy back and right.  Hold... Hold... Basket is on the water.  Basket is out of water.  Okay... you lost them in a wave...  Easy right, easy right... basket is in the water, wave’s pulling them away again... Easy right, basket’s in the wave... easy right, yes... basket’s at them... Okay, now drop the basket, pick up slack, easy back... pick up slack in cable, easy back... Hold position.  Hold position, woman is getting in basket, hold position.  Pick up slack in cable.  Easy right, easy right... Pick up slack in cable, easy right.  Hold, hold... Easy back, easy back... Pick up slack in cable... Left, easy left... Pick up slack in cable.  Easy left... Prepare to take the load.  Easy right, easy right, easy right... okay, taking slack, taking slack... Prepare to take the load... Taking load.  The woman and baby are clear of the water... take it back left.  Clear.  Move back and left...  Clear, move back and left.  They’re coming up.  Now bring them up slow.  Bring them up slow.  Hold altitude... Bring them up slow.  Basket’s halfway up... It’s swinging pretty good.  Hold... Hold position... They’re still about ten feet below the cabin...

RESCUER 1:  Okay, there’s no rush... There’s no rush... We got somebody on board.

RESCUER 2:  Bring them up slow.

RESCUER 1:  Okay, she’s coming up good.

RESCUER 2:  Okay, okay, bring them on up.

RESCUER 1:  I have someone inside, so don’t worry about it, Bob.  Dan, you look back down there.

RESCUER 2:  But I’m not bringing them in back first, I want to bring them in face first because that’s the only way I’m going to get it around the tank.  Okay, I’m bringing them up... I’m bringing them in.

Yep -- Alexander Hamilton would be proud to know that his Coast Guard is alive and well -- and one of its busiest stations is right here at Virginia Beach.

Virginia Beach has become one of the most popular tourist attractions on the east coast.  And if you’ve got a couple of Hamiltons to spare, let me recommend a great restaurant -- it’s called Lucky Star, and today its chef, Amy Brandt, is preparing Southwestern Beef.

AMY BRANDT:  Start with an eight to ten ounce of filet mignon -- this is beef tenderloin.  Your butcher can clean it for you or if you’re adept at doing it yourself, do that.  And you wrap the bacon around the meat, and it can be secured with either a toothpick -- I have this fancy metal pick that we use here at the restaurant that works well, so that it’s secured all the way around and this because it’s a leaner cut of meat the bacon helps to protect it and also adds flavor.  Before the beef is cooked, we season it with a Southwestern spice mixture that we make here.  It’s similar to a Cajun mixture: salt, pepper, cumin, dark chili powder made with ground anchote chili pepper, thyme, oregano -- I use a Mexican oregano, it has a little bit different flavor, and that’s about it.  A little paprika for a little coloring.  I use a cast iron pan to cook the steak because of the thickness and the heaviness of the pan, it holds a lot more heat and allows the meat to cook more evenly because it’s a bigger piece of meat that we’re cooking in this pan.  If it was something thin, you’d be able to use a sauté pan.  But I want something that’s going to hold the heat evenly and allow the meat to cook evenly also.  This does make a little bit of smoke in the house so you can grill it outside.  You could also use the cast iron pan on, say, a gas grill outside.  Let it get fairly hot and then do it -- do your cooking outside.  I like to cook it on all sides, especially the side with the bacon, that gives it a little bit of crispness, helps to flavor it.

BURT WOLF:  So you just sear the outside surface ‘til it’s dark and then into the oven.


BURT WOLF:  Roughly how long at 400?

AMY BRANDT:  I would say, to get some information about internal temperature for cooking meats.


AMY BRANDT:  And get an internal temperature thermometer.  If you like it medium rare it’s approximately 130 to 135, and then it goes up from there to medium, medium well, well.

BURT WOLF:  So what are you going to serve with this?

AMY BRANDT:  These are black bean cakes.  They’re black beans have been cooked, cooled and ground.  They’re mixed with diced red bell peppers, green onions, cilantro, chili powder, cumin -- again staying with the Southwestern -- little salt and black pepper and if you like it a bit spicier, which I do, a little cayenne pepper.  They’re dredged in cornmeal and then sautéed.

BURT WOLF:  I can do that.

AMY BRANDT:  Pretty darn easy.  Don’t need a whole lot of oil, just enough to coat the bottom of the pan.  You can see in the bottom of the pan that the cornmeal has turned brown, and that gives me an indication that it’s time to turn the bean cakes themselves.  If the cornmeal in the pan is brown, then the cornmeal on the bottom side of the bean cakes is brown.  And that’s true with any sautéing; if you’re sautéing fish or chicken that’s been dredged in flour, then you know if the cornmeal -- I mean, if the flour in the pan is brown, then the chicken on the other side is brown and it’s ready to be turned.

BURT WOLF:  Good thing to know!

AMY BRANDT:  This dish is served with a red chili sauce.  It’s tomato-based, onions, garlic, fresh tomatoes, roasted poblano peppers...

BURT WOLF:  Mmmmmmm...

AMY BRANDT:  ...roasted bell peppers, cilantro -- you can really smell that a lot in this.  The bean cakes go on top of that.  The bean cakes are garnished with a little bit of sour seasoned sour cream that I’ve put in a squeeze bottle, gives it a little bit of artistic flair while you’re adding the sour cream.  Then we’re going to put the beef in the middle, make sure to take out the toothpick or skewer, whichever you used, first so you don’t injure anybody.  And then we’ll garnish the beef.  We’re using roasted pepper strips.  They’re poblano peppers that have been roasted and peeled and seeded and cut into strips -- that goes on the beef.  And then it’s garnished with feta cheese.  You can use a cheese called “queso blanco” which is a fresh Mexican cheese, very similar to feta in taste, but the feta is much more available so that’s why I use that.  That goes on top, and I like to make sure that a little bit goes onto the plate as well -- it mixes well with the flavor of the sauce as well as with the beef.  And that’s that!

For hundreds of years Virginia Beach has been dominated by its relationship to the sea.  Between the Atlantic Ocean and the Chesapeake Bay, you will find an extraordinary selection of seafood.  One place to sample the local specialties is Chick’s Marina Oyster Bar.

Chick’s opened in 1987 as a down-home neighborhood eatery.  But the freshly-shucked oysters, local fish and simple, straight-forward cooking have given the place a wide and devoted following.  You can sit up at the inside counter, or out in the open dock room.  We ate through the menu and our collective favorites were: Crab Soup Annapolis, Blackened Crab Cake Sandwich with homemade coleslaw, and Chocolate Volcano Pie.

Another location for the local catch is the Lynnhaven Fish House.  The Lynnhaven Fish House was opened in 1979 right on the same beach where the first colonists stopped for four days before they moved up the Chesapeake to establish their settlement at Jamestown.  If the restaurant had been here at the time, Captain John Smith would certainly have taken Pocahontas here for lunch -- most likely at one of the tables with the great views.  I recommend Steamed Lobster, Homemade Hush Puppies, Crab Louie, and Coconut Cream Pie.

One of the other, less edible ways that Virginia Beach honors its relationship with the sea is the program of dolphin watching trips sponsored by the Virginia Marine Science Museum.  During the summer months, the boats leave from Virginia Beach every afternoon.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  The great planters of Virginia lived on huge estates which kept them rather isolated from the rest of the world.  And it is in that sense of separation that we find the origins of southern hospitality.  When somebody finally did show up, you wanted to keep them around as long as possible and have them tell you what was going on in the rest of the world.  George Washington actually had two servants stationed at a crossroads with instructions to stop any interesting travelers and bring them home for dinner.  And if my experience in Virginia Beach is any example, southern hospitality is still very much alive and well.  And it is in that tradition that I would like to invite you to join me next time as we travel around the world.  I’m Burt Wolf.

Origins: Charlevoix, Quebec - #118

Every place in the world has a series of things that give that spot a special character... and make it different from every other place.  When you look at the ORIGINS of these things, you often end up with a better appreciation of the territory -- and that makes it a lot more interesting to visit.  And sometimes, these ORIGINS help us understand why we live the way we do.

About three hundred miles east of Montreal, on the north bank of the St. Lawrence River, is the Canadian region of Charlevoix.  And for almost two hundred years it has been locked in an epic struggle.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  A struggle to find a balance between its love of traditional rural values and the demands of a modern industrial society.  The questions are clear.  Can a thousand years of French peasant tradition defend itself against two hundred years of the English industrial revolution?

Will the baguette be freshly baked in a wood-burning stove or defrosted in a microwave?  Could cabernet give way to Coca-Cola?  Can French passion be replaced by a stiff upper lip?  Stay tuned as this majestic battle unfolds along the shores of the St. Lawrence River.

The first European to explore the area was Jacques Cartier, who sailed through in 1535.  He was working for the king of France and searching the northern waters of America for a new route to the riches of the Far East -- the same route that Columbus did not find for the King of Spain while searching in the south.

During the early 1600s France decided to take control of this area and they sent Samuel Champlain over to check things out.  While Champlain was sailing up the St. Lawrence he tried to anchor here and was very unhappy with the little cove he found.  The water dried up at low tide, which would leave a ship stranded.  Not good.  So he marked the area on his charts with the words malle baye, which means “bad bay.”  For the next three hundred years the place was known as La Malbaie.  But it seems unfair to be named after your least attractive feature.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Bad bay or not, the place became a trading post for furs, a district for lumbering and a great spot for fishing.  It was a French colony in the New World with great promise, but the incompetent officials in Paris believed that a colony existed only for the benefits of the mother country, and the area’s natural attributes were ignored.  A little like my family wanting me to be a doctor when it was clear my skills were as a painter.  But when the French screwed it up with North America, it was on a much larger scale.

England, however, had a better grip on the economics of the situation and attacked the French colonies in Canada.  In 1759, General Wolfe, who was not one of my ancestors, stormed the cliffs of Quebec and took control of Canada on behalf of the King of England.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  At the end of the war, each British soldier was offered a grant of property here in Canada.  It was a great way to set up a landed gentry that would be loyal to the King of England.  Two officers, both of Scottish decent, and loyal friends in combat, decided to take their property here at La Malbaie.

One was Captain John Nairne, who clearly could have gotten work as a George Washington lookalike.  The other was Ensign Malcolm Fraser.  These retired officers and a small group of demobilized soldiers joined the French peasants who were already here, and they gave the region a unique character.  Within one generation the Scots were speaking French.

After New France surrendered to England, La Malbaie became prosperous by supplying lumber and foodstuffs to the growing city of Quebec.

It also attracted a small group of tourists who were interested in the charms of unspoiled nature and good fishing.  And while we’re going back to nature, how about making the trip in a floating palace -- a steamer that offered the most luxurious accommodations possible... elegance... refinement... grandeur.  These folks liked a lot of nurture in their nature.

A relaxing view of the St. Lawrence... a little stream for fishing... lots of tall trees in the background... A big summer house filled with your friends and family... Ah yes -- nature.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Up to this point, as I mentioned, the area was known as La Malbaie but, you know, you really can’t have rich people going off for their summer vacation to a spot called “the bad bay,” so the government took this magic moment to rename the area.  And they named it after the first man to take a genuine interest in the history of the French colonies in North America.  It was a Jesuit priest named Francois-Xavier de Charlevoix.  And that is how Charlevoix got its name.

The steamship companies that brought people up and back between Charlevoix and Quebec City realized that they could increase their business by building hotels.  And in 1899 the Richelieu and Ontario Navigation Company put up the Manoir Richelieu.  The architecture was monumental.  The setting was magnificent.  There was a saltwater pool.  Tasteful decorations.  The Manoir orchestra played each afternoon.  The management tried to offer every possible service to their distinguished clientele.

 The Manoir Richelieu is still here and trying to do what it has done from the beginning.  And much of the original artwork is still here and very interesting.  Above the entranceway is a large painting of Queen Isabella listening to Christopher Columbus make his report after the voyage of 1492.  It depicts the dramatic moment when Columbus described the route that took him from Spain to the New World.  “Right, left, right, then straight for three thousand miles.”

Columbus was a lucky guy, and so are many of the guests at the Manoir.  Directly across the road from the front entrance is the Charlevoix Casino.  You can pass a few moments at the slot machines... play a little blackjack... or take a turn on the roulette wheel.  You’ll be pleased to know that any money that you leave behind will be spent on good works by the government, who owns the facility.

Charlevoix has remained an important resort area, and there are many citizens who are dedicated to maintaining its heritage and making it accessible to everyone.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Charlevoix, like many communities around the world, would like to preserve the craft-skills that are a part of its tradition, expand support for its museums, and increase tourism.  Now, on the surface that sounds like three different problems that would require three different solutions, but Charlevoix has come up with a program that handles all three, and at the same time.

It’s called an Economuseum, and it is a marriage between a museum and a small business -- a small business that is based on a craft that is traditional for the area and has the ability to make the entire operation financially independent.  The Saint-Gilles papermakers are a good example of this new form.

Part of the building is a papermaking facility that uses 17th century techniques.  Sheets of pressed cotton are washed, chopped, and pounded into pulp.  The fibers are broken up to the point where they remain suspended in water, forming a kind of soup called “half stuff.”  The half stuff is transferred into a tub that has a mixer on one side.  At this point the papermaker adds flower petals.  The flowers will give each piece of paper an individual pattern.  A wooden frame covered with a metal mesh, like a screen, is dipped into the soup.  As the frame is lifted out it becomes coated with a thin film of the water-fiber mixture.  The frame is shaken to spread the fibers evenly and let the water drain out.  This sheet of newly-formed paper is removed from the frame and placed between two sheets of felt.  A number of paper and felt sandwiches are piled together and placed into a press where they are subjected to enormous pressure, which squeezes out the remaining water.  Then the felt is removed and the sheets are pressed again to improve the surface.  After that they are hung up to dry.

The paper is then made into salable products: writing sheets and envelopes... blank books... flowers... note papers... graphics... all of which are sold in a shop on the other side of the building.

In the middle of the structure is a museum dedicated to the art of papermaking.

And this is not the only Economuseum in the neighborhood.  There are more than two dozen nearby and each covers a different craft that needs to be preserved.  Right across the street from the papermaker is the Economuseum that builds boats the way they have been made here for hundreds of years.  For folks on a more modest budget they build models of the same vessels.  And because Economuseums must plan everything based on generating their own financing, they are very realistic about what they can do.  From the design of the building, to the objects they offer for sale, there’s no room for delusions of grandeur.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  The Economuseums have demonstrated their ability to provide permanent employment in a realistic business environment, to preserve the craft traditions of the region, to educate the public and to attract tourists.  And surprisingly, they have been able to do all of this with funds that they generate completely from their own activities.

The Economuseums are just one example of the craftwork of Charlevoix.  Standing between the papermakers and the shipbuilders is the workshop of the santon artists.

Santons are small terra-cotta figures that depict traditional aspects of French country living, community folklore, and religious beliefs.  There are over a hundred different pieces in the collection.  The art started centuries ago in Europe with the production of Nativity scenes that included a manger, Mary, Joseph, the baby Jesus and the three wise men.  Eventually people and buildings from the towns were added -- a chapel, a windmill, farmers, loggers, cooks, spinners.  The sculptors tried to include most of the local characters.  They even have a television reporter waiting in the cold for his camera crew.

Each figurine starts as a small sculpture which is used to make a mold.  When the mold is ready, the clay is pressed into one side of the form.  Then the back side of the mold is set in place.  The clay rests in the mold for about ten minutes, during which it loses some of its moisture.  Then the mold is opened and the artist completes the detailing of the form.  After that the sculpture is fired in a kiln.  The kiln temperature rises to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit and bakes and hardens the clay for ten to twelve hours.  When the figurines come out of the kiln the clay has turned to terra-cotta.  It cools down and goes off to the painters.  This is a meticulous hand process that represents a craft that has been part of French country life for hundreds of years -- and the artists are determined to preserve it.

Eighty-five percent of the people living in Charlevoix can trace their heritage back to France, a heritage that they honor in many ways -- especially when it comes to food.  To make their point they have set up a program called La Route des Saveurs, which could be translated loosely as “the road of the good eaters.”  It’s a partnership between a group of restaurants and a group of food producers. And their objective is to take foods that are grown in Charlevoix and use them to prepare recipes in traditional ways -- and the older the tradition, the better.

This is the Moulin Banal.  The word banal comes from banalites, which is an ancient grain tax that the lord of the land would levy on his tenant farmers who were legally obligated to grind their wheat at the lord’s mill.  It is a water-powered mill that grinds flour the way water-powered mills have been grinding flour for hundreds of years.  A stream is dammed to build up a supply of waterpower -- power that you can use when you need it.  The pond deals with water in the same way a battery handles electricity.  When the miller wants to mill he opens the gates and lets the water hit the waterwheel.  The wheel turns and in turn, turns a set of belts that power the equipment in the mill.  The miller empties a sack of wheat into the system.  It’s sifted to take out any rocks or twigs that have come along from the field.  Then the wheat is pulled up above the millstones and slowly fed between them.  The stones rub against each other and in the process grind the wheat between them.  The ground wheat is sorted by size, bagged and sent off to the baker.  And if you think the miller is traditional, wait ‘til you see the baker.

Every morning at 7:30, rain or shine, hot or cold, Herve Gobeil gets up, goes out to the oven behind his shop, chops his wood, puts the logs in the oven, and starts the fire.  On special occasions, like the visit of a television crew, he wears the uniform of a medieval baker.  By 8:15 the walls of this ancient oven are sufficiently hot to start the baking.  The flame is gone and the hot coals have been removed.  The loaves of bread go in.  Anthropologists believe that this oven design goes back to the Greeks of 600 BC.  The roof of the oven curves up as it pulls away from the door, which causes the hot air inside to circulate around the bread.  That results in a more even heat and a richer surface on the loaf.

As Herve’s breads come out of the oven they give off a mouth-watering perfume.  They are crusty, coarse and dense.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  On one side of the relationship between the food producers and restaurants you have millers, fruit and vegetable growers, cheesemakers, honey gatherers, and about a dozen other businesses that use techniques that go back for hundreds of years.  On the restaurant side you have a group of what are called Auberge.  An Auberge is traditionally a restaurant in the countryside, what we might call a “French country inn.”  Some of them are very simple, and some of them are very sophisticated.

But either way, when they are on “the road of the good eaters,” their menu includes dishes that are made with products produced by craftsmen working with the traditional techniques of this region.

The Auberge des Peuplier was the first country inn in the region.  Peuplier means “poplar tree,” and the two poplars are right out in front.  You can stop in and taste a local fish called “omble.”  It’s served in alternative slices -- one smoked, the next sautéed.  The garnish is made from turnips.

Next stop is the Auberge des Trois Canard.  I had my first meal here in 1990 and the place keeps getting better.  The original owners were three English doctors, and they called the place “The Three Docs.”  When a Frenchmen purchased it he thought it had been called “The Three Ducks” -- so he translated the name into French as the “Trois Canards,” which means “the three ducks.”  If you like, the chef will present you with a starting plate consisting of smoked local salmon, smoked eel, a local whitefish, local mushrooms, and a sauce flavored with saffron.

Then there’s the Auberge La Pinsonniere.  It’s a member of the Relais Chateaux and has won a number of awards for its cooking.  One of the signature dishes is a trilogy of veal: the liver, the sweetbreads, and a slice of loin.

Finally there is the Auberge de Falaise, which means “the cliff.”  And this particular cliff was the favorite vacation spot for American tourists during the 1800s.  Great views outside... good food inside.  Spiced local lamb on the bone, served with a cylinder of potatoes mixed with local bacon... a pasta flavored and colored with squid ink and saffron and garnished with sea parsley.

Before we leave “the road of the good eaters,” I thought we should do a little cooking with Henry Meesen, who’s the executive chef at the Manoir Richelieu.  Today he is preparing a popular Canadian fish called Arctic Char, but the recipe will work just as well with skinless, boneless pieces of salmon.

Henry starts by carefully cleaning and cutting three leeks into small pieces.  Two tablespoons of olive oil are heated in a sauté pan.  The leeks go in, with a little salt and pepper.  They’re sautéed for two minutes, at which point they are turned out into a bowl to cool.  One-ounce pieces of fish are sautéed in a little oil for about a minute on each side.

A six-inch disc of pastry dough is set on a paper-lined pie plate.  A couple of tablespoons of the leeks go onto the dough.  A layer of half the fish goes onto the leeks.  Then a second layer of leeks and a second layer of fish.  An egg wash is painted over everything and a top disc of dough goes on and is pressed down around the edges with a fork.  A pizza cutter is used to trim the dough.  Then another bit of painting with the egg wash.  A little decoration is cut onto the dough and it’s into the refrigerator for a minimum of four hours -- but it can actually be held in the refrigerator for up to twenty-four hours.

HENRY MEESEN:  Puff pastry cooks very good at 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  In these ovens it should be in the middle, and around the middle, so it cooks evenly from the top to the bottom.  Twenty minutes approximately.

A sauce is made by sautéing two tablespoons of shallots, a half cup of white wine, the juice of three oranges and a cup of chicken stock.  Plus a little beurre manie, which is a mixture of half butter and half flour that will thicken the sauce.  A little salt, a little sugar and a pinch of cayenne pepper.  Five minutes of cooking and the sauce goes onto the serving plate, followed by the fish in the pastry and a garnish of cranberries and asparagus tips.

Henry’s second recipe is for a red pepper soup served in a red pepper.  Two tablespoons of oil are heated in a large pan.  As soon as the oil is hot he sautés a cup worth of chopped onions.  Then in go six sweet potatoes that have been peeled and sliced into small chunks.  Seven red peppers are cored, cleaned, sliced and placed into the pan.  A few minutes of stirring and cooking and in go six cups of chicken stock.  A sprig of thyme and a bay leaf are added and a cover goes on.  Thirty minutes of simmering and the vegetable solids are strained away from the stock.  The vegetables go into a blender and are turned into a puree.  You can add a little of the stock to get things started.  Then the vegetables are returned to the pot along with the stock and heated.  That’s the soup, and it’s served in a red pepper.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Clearly, Charlevoix’s French heritage places a stress on good food.  But I wouldn’t want you to think that everything you’re going to get to eat here is serious stuff.  Charlevoix, like just about every other place in the world, has a series of down-home foods that are thought of as the “local stuff.”  And, as usual, there is a particular place with a reputation for preparing those foods authentically.

Allow me to present Chez Chantal.  Conveniently located next to the train tracks and directly in front of the docks.  In the early 1900s, a Native American woman used the building to sell baskets to tourists.  Wishing to expand her product group, she began serving soup to the local dock workers and ice cream to the tourists.

In 1987, Simon Bouchard saw the potential of the food division and purchased the building.  He dropped the basket line and concentrated on the snack food.  Today Simon and his family run the business and it has become renowned among local gastronomes for two of the great lunch-counter dishes of Quebec.  The first is poutine -- crisp French fried potatoes that have just been made from scratch, carefully blended with small curds of soft, locally-made farm cheese, then bathed in a rich gravy and elegantly presented in a handy container that you can even take with you.

The second is guedille -- strips of newly-harvested lettuce, chucks of locally-grown ripe tomatoes, ribbons of tender baked chicken, and all blended with a velvety mayonnaise and served in a delicately-toasted hot dog bun.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  But let me tell you, this food  tastes great and it will stand up to any snack food anywhere in the world.  Simon Bouchard -- keep up the good work.

And before we leave Charlevoix, I would like to show you a few more good works -- works by Mother Nature, which is what originally attracted visitors to the region.

You can take a two-hour boat trip up the Saguenay Fjord, which cuts north from the St. Lawrence River.

You can hike and camp in the High Gorge Park.

You can go whale watching on the St. Lawrence, where six species of whales take up residence from late May to late October.

Charlevoix is located in the Canadian Shield, which is the oldest land formation on our planet.  The landscape is so beautiful that the area has been designated by the United Nations as a World Biosphere Reserve -- and it’s all easy to see.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Quite a place.  The first European settlers to come here were self-sufficient craftsmen and craftswomen, who were pretty much capable of making anything they wanted, and very proud of their history as French country peasants.  The second group to come along were from Scotland, equally proud and independent.  And it is the work of these two groups in preserving their history, their traditions and their origins that makes today’s Charlevoix so interesting to visit.  And I hope this has all been interesting for you and that you will join us next time as we travel around the world looking at the ORIGINS of some of the things that surround us.  I’m Burt Wolf.

Origins: Alaska - #117

Every place in the world has a series of things that give that spot a special character... and make it different from every other place.  When you look at the ORIGINS of these things, you often end up with a better appreciation of the territory -- and that makes it a lot more interesting to visit.  And sometimes, these ORIGINS help us understand why we live the way we do.

Fragments of the earth’s crust drifted together to form Alaska.  And they are still very much in the process of drifting and forming.  And what they have formed is already the largest state in the United States of America.  It’s twice as large as Texas and has fifty percent more coastline than all the states in the lower 48 put together.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  The native tribes who lived here along the southern coast of Alaska had actually developed a rather capitalist society.  They believed that each family should own their own goods and encourage the family to pursue their own individual economic goals.  Amongst the Tlingits, the more stuff you had the more respected you were and the more privileges you received from the society.  America was really early into this entrepreneur thing.

The Spanish were probably the first Europeans to explore this coast, but the Russians were the first to try and take control.  The Russians showed up in 1741.  Actually, it wasn’t really a Russian.  It was a Dane named Vitus Bering who worked for the Russians, and eventually lent his name to the Bering Straits.  When his crew got back to Russia, they showed everybody the sea otter pelts that they had acquired -- skins that were immediately judged to be the finest fur that anyone in Russia had ever seen.  That did it.  The exploration and the exploitation of Alaska was underway.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  The word Alaska comes from a native phrase that means “the object towards which the actions of the sea are directed.”  But it wasn’t only the Russians who were directing their actions towards Alaska.  The British were beginning to nose around.  Captain James Cook came through in 1778 and picked up a few otter skins of his own.  And to make matters even worse, the Spanish were thinking about coming back.  They’d been down in Los Angeles, and when they realized that the movie business wasn’t going to begin for another hundred years, they started moving up along the coast to see what was happening here.

Sure, Alaska was beautiful, and the sea otters made a great fashion statement, but by the 1860s Russia wanted out.  Well, actually what they wanted was to sell out before somebody just took Alaska away from them without making a payment.

A Russian agent went to see William Seward, who was then the U.S. Secretary of State, and somehow convinced him that buying Alaska was the deal of a lifetime.  And at 7.2 million dollars -- or 2 cents per acre -- it was.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  For hundreds of years, the Gastineau Channel along the southern coast of Alaska was a quiet fishing ground for the local Tlingit tribes.  All that changed in 1880 when a Sitka mining engineer offered a reward for any tribal chief who could bring him a piece of gold-bearing ore and show him where that ore came from.  A Tlingit clan elder by the name of Kowee brought in the sought-after sample, and George sent a couple of prospectors down to check out the location.  One of them kept a diary that has the following entry:  “We knew it was gold, but we were surprised to see so much of it, and not in particles -- in large streaks running through the rock and in lumps as large as peas and beans.”  I like these guys.  Not only did they know about gold, they were into good eating.

Their names were Richard Harris and Joe Juneau.  They staked a 160-acre townsite and the gold rush was on.  Originally the town was called Harrisburg, apparently because Harris could read and write and Juneau couldn’t, so Harris did the recording of the claim.  Eventually, however, Juneau got his name back.

Unlike many gold rush towns, Juneau survived and even prospered after the gold rush was over.  Today it is the state capitol of Alaska, and home to about 30,000 residents.  Juneau is on the small side in terms of the number of people who live here, but in terms of area it is actually the largest town in North America and second largest in the world.  It covers 3,108 square miles.  The city clings to the base of two mountains that top out at over 3,500 feet above sea level and literally lock Juneau into its waterfront cove.

There are no roads or rail links into Juneau.  If you’re coming in or going out, it’s by plane or boat.  The boat part is particularly important.  Each summer almost half a million visitors come to Juneau on cruise ships.  Fortunately, they don’t all come at the same time the way the gold prospectors did in the 1800s.

As a tourist there are a number of things of interest in Juneau.

The easiest access to a spectacular view of the area is from the Mt. Roberts Tramway.  Its base is right in front of the dock where the cruise ships tie up, and its top is 1,750 feet above... overlooking Juneau and the Gastineau Channel.

For me, the single most interesting place in Juneau is the St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church.  It was constructed in 1894 at the request of a Tlingit chief, and stands as one of the oldest original Orthodox churches in Alaska.  Subdeacon Basil welcomes visitors and explains the history and meaning of the structure.

SUBDEACON BASIL:  The interesting thing about this church is that this building was not built by Russians.  There were never any Russians here in Juneau.  Most of the time when people come here, they’re expecting that there was a Russian community here and Russian missionaries, and they built this church, and that there are possibly descendants of the Russians still here now.  But the case is, ironically, here in Juneau, the native Tlingit tribe themselves built this church rather than Russian missionaries.  And they did that because when the missionaries from the lower 48 were coming here, they were doing services in English and sort of decimating the native cultures.  The natives themselves contacted Russia because they wanted a church that would protect their culture, and encourage their culture, and do services in their language, and Russia responded generously by sending this church, a priest and everything necessary for services.

BURT WOLF:  The iconostasis is very interesting.  What does it mean?

SUBDEACON BASIL:  Well, in general, the iconostasis itself, you know, is usually the first thing that attracts anybody’s attention.  Whenever you come in, it -- the structure itself is actually built in Russia and shipped here.  And the meaning of the iconostasis is not as a wall of separation.  Usually when someone comes in and sees it for the first time, they think, “Well, why are you separating the altar from this area?  It must mean that the priests are more sacred or holy and the people are unholy.”  Which is not the case at all.  The iconostasis, which is this screen, and it actually still exists in Western churches as an altar rail.  And most of the people in the west have unfortunately probably forgotten the meaning of the altar rail.  What it is is when you look around yourself in creation, you see the created world, you see the cosmos, you see people, you see ravens, you see the grass, and mountains, and the fixtures in this church.  And it’s almost as though it’s on a screen before your eyes.  But God is always here present, too -- He’s perpetually present.  But you don’t see God.  What you see is creation, the cosmos.  Well, that’s what this iconostasis represents -- it is a model of the cosmos.

And then those doors, which we call the royal doors, are closed -- that is an image of what we see in the world.  But, if one allows oneself, the eye of your heart opens, and those doors open, and you see God through creation.  So that’s the goal of Christian spirituality, is that you should be seeing God in every blade of grass, in every person most especially.

And we have these six icons, these paintings on here, and they shouldn’t be seen as the iconostasis -- as a solid wall -- but actually a wall with six windows.  These we call icons windows into Heaven, and they are portraying people who are filled with the presence of Christ, and it’s portraying Christ himself.  And each icon is precisely that -- a window into Heaven.  And the reason why most of the time iconographic style or Byzantine art is very unrealistic, it’s very unwestern, European portrait style, is that in trying to portray Heaven, you’re actually showing something that’s a higher dimension of reality, because Heaven is not going to be the three dimensions of space and the fourth dimension of time that we’re familiar with.  You’re going to be looking into a world that’s going to be a higher dimension of reality.  So the iconographers have always used various techniques to symbolize that to us.  And one of them is that the people, the individuals on icons, tend to be almost two-dimensional -- kind of flat.  And then objects will be out of perspective or out of phase.  You’ll see especially objects that should be cubes or like books, you’ll see too many sides of the pages of the book, or various objects are all in wrong perspective.  And again it’s continuing to try to emphasize to you that you’re looking from a three-dimensional world into a higher dimensional world to portray that sort of idea. 

BURT WOLF:  The Orthodox Church has a very distinct cross.

SUBDEACON BASIL:  Right.  It’s not the only cross that’s used in orthodoxy, but it’s very, very much used and it’s very well known and we sort of become identified by it.  It’s an attempt to portray more detail of the crucifixion.  The top bar is the sign that was hung above Christ’s head under the orders of Pontius Pilate that says: “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews” in the various languages.  Then at the very bottom, you see where His feet were nailed to the cross.  And it’s pointing out at an angle, that bar, because it’s pointing to the two thieves on the right and the left.  And it brings them to mind.  And on the right, there was the thief who asked Christ to remember him when he came into His kingdom.  And then Christ says, “This day, you will be with me in paradise.”  So, it points upwards because that means a soul ascended into paradise according to Christ’s statement.  And to the left, it points downward to the thief who rejected and despised Christ.  And so each time we see that cross, that sort of decision is being placed before us; are we accepting or rejecting Christ on the cross?

The top of the church is -- usually, people who drive by perhaps on a Sunday morning and just see the church would think of it as an onion dome, but of course it doesn’t have anything to do with onions.  What it represents is what it looks like.  It’s a candle flame, and it’s representing the flame of the Holy Spirit that came in the church at Pentecost.

Behind the mountains that form Juneau’s backdrop is the Juneau Icefield, over 1,500 square miles of ice cap, and the source of thirty-eight glaciers, including the Mendenhall.  Mendenhall Glacier is just thirteen miles outside of Juneau and it is one of the few drive-in, walk-up glaciers in the world.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  The Mendenhall in Mendenhall Glacier was Thomas C. Mendenhall, the Superintendent of the U.S. Coastal and Geodetic Survey at the time that the border was surveyed between Canada and the United States.

As moisture-filled air comes in from the Pacific Ocean, it runs into the peaks of the coastal mountains.  The encounter causes the air to give up its water vapor and it does so in the form of snow... over one hundred feet of it each year.  Because the air is so cold up here, the snow never melts.  It just gets heavier and heavier, and packs together so tightly that the air between the molecules is lost.  In the process, it transforms itself into glacial ice.  Under this extraordinary pressure, the ice begins to flow.  The Mendenhall Glacier flows down the Mendenhall Valley for twelve miles at the rate of two feet per day.  But it never gets anywhere, because at the same time that it is flowing, it is also melting.  Each day, large chunks of ice break away from the glacier and float off into the lake at its base.  The process is known as “calving.”  In addition, glacial ice just melts away at the front edge.  When the rate of Mendenhall’s flow is compared to the rate of its melting, you end up with an annual withdrawal of about thirty feet.  And it’s been withdrawing since the 1700s.

My home away from home on this trip has been the Royal Caribbean cruise ship Legend Of The Seas, and its next port of call is the town of Ketchikan.  Some folks refer to it as “the first city” because it’s the first major city that you get to in Alaska when you’re coming North along the coast.  Like many communities in this area, Ketchikan started out as a fishing camp.  In this case, it belonged to the Tlingit people.  When European and American settlers came in, they built the waterfront area on pilings that ran out over tidal flats.  It extended the community’s life in many ways -- particularly during Prohibition, when smugglers would row in under the stilts and pass whiskey up into the houses through trap doors.

These days, however, Ketchikan’s fame rests on totally legitimate activities.  It is a major port for people who are interested in charter fishing.  There’s excellent salt water fishing for giant halibut, red snapper, cod and salmon.

Ketchikan is also a center for native art and culture.  About ten miles up the road from town is Totem Bight.  In 1938, the U.S. Forest Service began a program designed to preserve and restore the totem poles that were part of the native villages, and Totem Bight is the present center of their work.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  A totem pole is not an object of worship; it is a silent storyteller that presents the folklore of the people who carved it.  The Tlingits tell a story of a carved log that washed up on the shore and inspired their people to create totem poles.  The Haida tell a story of a master carver who created a housefront and a number of poles during a single night and then taught the villagers how to carve.

This is the kind of community or clanhouse that was built during the early 1800s.  It would have housed between thirty and fifty people who shared the same family lineage.  Each individual family would have had its own space for living, but the fire was shared.  Household gear and blankets were stored under removable floorboards, and foodstuffs were hung from the rafters.

MARY KOWALCZYK:  The screen on the front is a stylized raven.  Paintings on the front of a house were usually just for people who had a lot of wealth.  This stylized raven has two eyes that are elaborated into faces.  First of all, if you can imagine taking a head of a raven, cutting it down the back, and pulling it open so that it would be on a two-dimensional surface, that’s how you would be looking at this.

BURT WOLF:  Oh, isn’t that interesting?  I never understood how they saw it that way.

MARY KOWALCZYK:  And the two eyes, like I said, are stylized, elaborated into a face.  The red u-shape that’s upside-down represents the beak.  The u-shapes on either side of the oval door there represent the tail and the sides represent the wing.  The native people utilized all their spaces when they did a design, so they didn’t want to leave anything uncarved, or anything undecorated, and so that’s how come they filled the face of the house in that way.

The low oval entrance through the totem pole was typical.  It was a good form of protection during periods of conflict.  The straight black beak on the top figure tells you that it is Raven.  A carved box at his feet contains daylight.  Below, there is a mink and a frog standing next to a figure of a man, who represents the story of how the man brought life to the killer whales by carving them.  The figure with the large turned-back beak at the lower end of the pole is Raven-at-the-Head-of-Nass, the powerful chief who owned the sun, moon, and stars.  Below the chief is Raven’s mother.  The legend represented here is the story of Raven creating daylight and bringing it into a darkened world.

Our last official area for exploration was Misty Fjords National Monument, which is just south of Ketchikan.  You can get to Misty Fjords by plane or by boat -- but that’s it.  There are no roads to Misty’s 2.2 million acres of wilderness.  Hundreds of thousands of years ago huge glaciers pushed down from the north.  As they moved along, they carved cliffs that plunge hundreds of feet into the sea.  The granite rock formations display black strips of magma that were formed sixty million years ago when earthquakes cracked through the rock.  Waterfalls pour down from sources hidden in the clouds.  This is truly one of the most beautiful places on earth.

Having satisfied everybody’s hunger for nature, the Legend of the Seas’ crew turns to satisfying everybody’s hunger for dinner.  Actually, they have been feeding us five times each day -- breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner, and a late-night snack.

But there were a few recipes that I thought you might enjoy taking a closer look at.

Lutz Koch is the executive chef, and his first dish is for a Halibut with Wine Sauce.  Four halibut fillets are seasoned with a little salt and pepper.  A tablespoon of butter goes into a sauté pan.  As soon as the butter melts, the halibut goes in, followed by a quarter of a cup of fish stock.  A cover goes on the pan and the fillets simmer for eight minutes.  While the fillets are cooking, the sauce is made.  A tablespoon of butter goes into a saucepan and is stirred until it melts.  Then a quarter of a cup of shallots are added.

BURT WOLF:  You know, if you don’t have shallots, you can use chopped onions, it’s still fine.

A half cup of white wine goes in and everything boils for two minutes.  A half cup of fish stock is added, and simmers for two minutes more.  Then a cup of light cream goes in and cooks for an additional two minutes.  The liquid is then thickened with one tablespoon of cornstarch that has been blended into a half-cup of cold water.  A few drops of Worcestershire sauce.  A bit of stirring.  Salt and pepper.  A half teaspoon of lime juice, and finally a teaspoon of chopped fresh dill.  Everything is mixed together, simmers for a minute, and we’re ready to plate.  The fish goes down, the sauce on top, and a sprinkling of fresh dill.  This is a nice dish to serve with rice or boiled potatoes.

CHEF LUTZ KOCH:  Okay, we have some chicken breasts, we make a nice walnut sauce with it.  And what I have to do first -- I salt and pepper them, on two sides, of course, and dip them afterwards in flour.  If you have a nice family’s chicken [sic], you will see this will be excellent dish for the Sunday dinner.

Two tablespoons of olive oil are poured into a hot pan and then heated.  The chicken breasts go into the pan, skin-side down.  They’re cooked for four minutes on each side and then removed from the pan.  Half of the oil is then drained out, and a half-cup of chopped onions go in.  Then two tablespoons of balsamic vinegar are added.  A minute or so of cooking, and then a half-cup of white wine goes in.  A tablespoon of cornstarch that’s been dissolved in a mixture of water is blended in to thicken the sauce.  Next, three-quarters of a cup of chopped walnuts.  A minute or so of cooking to heat everything up, and the chicken returns.  Eight more minutes of cooking, and the dish is ready to serve.  Some chefs add a touch of cream and a little Scotch whiskey or port wine to the sauce.  The vegetables go onto the plate, then the chicken, the sauce, and a few more chopped walnuts on top.

Finally, there is Baked Alaska.  After all, we are cruising in Alaskan waters.

CHEF LUTZ KOCH:  ...and I will show you; you need three-color ice cream, and we cover this with sponge cake, and after the sponge cake we use meringue.

BURT WOLF:   Oh, that’s easy.

CHEF LUTZ KOCH:  Easy.  Very easy.

BURT WOLF:   Okay.

It’s kind of like aluminum siding.

CHEF LUTZ KOCH:  After the sponge cake you use meringue.

BURT WOLF:  Whipped egg whites with sugar.

CHEF LUTZ KOCH:  Sugar.  Plenty of sugar.

BURT WOLF:  Let’s put it on.


BURT WOLF:  The sponge cake and the meringue work as an insulator, so when the heat heats the ice cream, it doesn’t melt.

BURT WOLF:  Now, normally at home you would finish this off by taking a blowtorch and just browning it on top, but no open flames are allowed on ships.  So we’re going to do this by flaming some rum and pouring it on top.


Did I say “no open flames?”  I meant “no open gas flames.”  This is fine.

This whole dish has a glacier-like quality... especially the receding edges.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Well, those are some of the more beautiful and interesting parts of southern Alaska, and thanks to the cruises on the Inside Passage, they’re comfortable and easy to get to.  And I hope it will be easy for you to get to us next time as we travel around the world, looking at the ORIGINS of some of the things that surround us.  I’m Burt Wolf.

Origins: Grand Cayman - #116

Every place in the world has a series of things that give that spot a special character... and make it different from every other place.  When you look at the ORIGINS of these things, you often end up with a better appreciation of the territory -- and that makes it a lot more interesting to visit.  And sometimes, these ORIGINS help us understand why we live the way we do.

The motto on the national emblem of the Cayman Islands reads: “He Hath Founded It Upon The Seas,” which is an excellent description of the place and its history.  Three islands -- Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, and Little Cayman -- make up the country, which is a crown colony of Great Britain.  No point on any of the islands is more than a few minutes’ drive from the sea.  The first people to take any interest in the area were sailors who stopped in during the 1500s for fresh water and turtle meat.  Fishing and shipbuilding were the main businesses for hundreds of years, as well as sending young men off to join the navy and the Merchant Marine.  Then a tourist business based on people who loved water sports, particularly underwater sports.  And finally, the development of an off-shore banking industry.  The Cayman Islands are definitely “founded on the seas.”

One of the leading authorities on the history of the Cayman Islands is Dr. Philip Pedley, who is the director of the Cayman Islands National Archive.

DR. PHILIP PEDLEY:  And this is a small, charming map from a French source.  And it says here: “Iles de Cayman.”  This is what I call the first European picture or image of any of the Cayman Islands.  It’s almost certainly a picture of Cayman Brac, dated 1590.  And you can see the turtles that Columbus himself saw.  And you can see, eating up the turtle eggs, the “caymanos” (sic) after which Cayman is named.  He was a large crocodile that lived, as the accounts say, both in the sea and on the land.  So it was aquatic and terrestrial.

Now what we’ve got here is two of the images -- two of the pictures -- that go along with this picture of Cayman Brac.  And Columbus, when he passed the sister islands in 1503 called this Las Tortugas, but that name gave way in the next thirty years or so to this creature.  On this map you can also see, interesting enough -- and this is one of the things that confirms that it is Cayman Brac -- the bent trees...

BURT WOLF:  Oh, yes!

DR. PHILIP PEDLEY:  ...bent over by the wind.  Now, that’s sort of significant in the history of Cayman Brac because shipbuilding was a strong industry over there -- a strong tradition.  And the shipbuilders would simply go up onto the bluff, which is a hundred and forty feet above -- rises to a hundred and forty feet above the sea level -- and select the exact curvature of the wood they were looking for.

            And here we have a very interesting little booklet, which I call the first example of tourist literature in the Cayman Islands.  It’s a letter written by the commissioner, Commissioner Cardinal, to the rest of the world: “Dear Sir of Madam” wherever.  And it’s an invitation to come and enjoy an unspoiled paradise.  And it’s signed by “the whole of Cayman.”

These days, Grand Cayman is divided into five districts.  George Town is the smallest.  It’s also the seat of the government, the center of the nation’s banking and business interests, and the most populated.  It’s on the sheltered western side of the island with the best port.  The duty free shops are here, so you can do your duty and shop in an almost guilt-free environment, justifying your expenditures on the basis of how much you saved.

ANITA EBANKS:  Well, I want to introduce you to George Town and the harbor.  And at one time this was called the Hog Stys -- the whole area.

BURT WOLF:  Because they kept pigs here?

ANITA EBANKS:  Yes.  And supposedly all the people on the island had them penned in in a certain area.  And on a bad day if you were downwind from was very smelly.  So it was called the Hog Stys... And then sometime during the early 18th century, Governor Bodden decided it would be good to name it George Town in honor of George the Third.  And I guess if it hadn’t been changed, we would be sending post cards and letters from Hog Stys, Grand Cayman.

BURT WOLF:  Doesn’t sound like a great place to go for a vacation.  George Town is a great improvement.

ANITA EBANKS:  This is Fort George.  This was the first of several batteries around the island -- the first line of defense against Spanish marauders from Cuba.  You know, this was Hog Sty Bay, so they’d probably steal some of their hogs and maybe some of their turtles and poultry.

BURT WOLF:  You can actually see the outline of where the old fort was.

ANITA EBANKS:  Yes, it was about five feet high on the sea side.  The land side was only about two feet high.  And the walls were about three feet thick, and they had various embarcadiers for about maybe ten cannon.  Most of the cannon were about four- or six-pounders.  And the two that are there now are recreated there out of cement in fact, and they are replicas of six-pounders.

In the early days people would go down to the beach and go beachcombing to find whatever might be washed up so that they could use to just help with their way of life.  I mean, we were very isolated, so it might be a favorite piece of wood might be washed up.  And one morning back in about 1846, a Mary Webster from Frank Sound supposedly was doing some beachcombing early in the morning, and she saw this strange kernel on the beach.  And she planted it and it grew into an almond tree.  And supposedly that’s where all the almond trees that you find on the island today are descended from.  I think they’re really lovely -- various shades of orange and red.

The most unusual house in George Town was built by Carroll Henderson.  In 1935, he started buying conch shells.  When his collection passed the 4,000 shell point, he used them to construct his dream house -- conch shells anchored in a twelve-inch thick concrete wall.  He could only set thirty shells a day, so it took over two years to build the place.  But when it was finished, it was so well made that during the second World War the U.S. Navy used the house as a bomb storage depot.  Today, it is the home of Mike Henderson, who is the son of the original builder.  It’s a private residence, but Mike doesn’t mind if you come by to take a look.

Next to George Town is the northwest part of the island, which is known as West Bay.  The old Bothwell residence is in West Bay and it stands as a typical example of traditional Cayman architecture... gingerbread trim...  and a sand garden.

The central part of Grand Cayman is called Bodden Town.  Bodden Town is the home of the oldest building on the island.  It was built in 1780; rock walls three feet thick, nice view up top, underground dungeons below.  What else could you ask for?  It’s called Pedro Castle.

The Cayman Islands National Trust has an extensive program for preserving historical information about the islands, and making that information available to visitors.  The Trust publishes a series of booklets that outline historical walking tours of both West Bay and Bodden Town.

In one of those bursts of creativity that often overcome early settlers, the eastern end of Grand Cayman is known as East End.  It’s one of the least populated parts of the island and still has a very rural lifestyle.  Tourists drive over to the district to take a look at the blowholes.  Waves dive into the underground caves.  Holes in the top of the caves allow part of the wave to escape in a plume of spray.

If you’re in the neighborhood on Friday, Saturday or Sunday and you’re thirsty, you can walk across the road and get some fresh coconut water.

LINDO PARSONS:  The coconut water is what you drink direct from the coconut.  The milk is gathered by gratering the coconut into small pieces.

BURT WOLF:  Grating.”

LINDO PARSONS:  Or today in modernized equipment, we put the small pieces in the blender, chop it up in smaller pieces, take it and wash it in water, and strain it through a strainer.  What comes out of there is the milk.  What remains is what is called “trash” locally.  That is converted into candies and coconut tarts.

Just down the road from the blowholes is a stretch of beach from which you can see what’s left of a group of ten British ships that foundered on the reef in 1794.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  The event became known as the “Wreck of the Ten Sails.”  The lead ship that was doing the navigation sent back a signal to the rest of the fleet that read: “stay clear.”  The sailor who interpreted the signal read it as: “all clear.”  Talk about losing something in the translation.

The next district on the island is called North Side.  It was the last part of Grand Cayman to be settled and it has the smallest population.  North Side also has the most fertile land and the island’s best farms.  For many years, the lack of roads kept it isolated from the rest of the island.  These days, however, the roads have improved.

And there’s a public ferry from the busiest part of the island at Seven Mile Beach to the tip of North Side.  The ferry goes up and back throughout the day and will deposit you on Rum Point, which is considered by many to be the most beautiful beach on the island.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Rum Point appears to have gotten its name as the result of a ship that wrecked on the reefs in front of it.  The ship was carrying a cargo of barrels filled with rum that floated ashore.  When they were discovered by the local residents, they also got wrecked.  These days there are a number of bars and restaurants on Rum Point that will help you recreate the experience.

About two hundred yards to the west of Rum Point is one of the most interesting underwater attractions in the world.  The area is called Stingray City, and it offers snorkelers and SCUBA divers an opportunity to hang out with a couple of hundred stingrays.  I went out to the city on a sixty-five-foot catamaran named The Spirit of Paloo.

DIVE INSTRUCTOR:  One of the nicest places for you to touch a stingray is on the underside of his wing.  You could also touch him on the top, but it’s not quite so smooth, it’s a little more leathery.  You do not have to worry about the tail stinging you when it’s touching you -- they physically have to do this.  Okay?  So you can touch the tail if you’d like.

VANESSA BELLAMY:  Their mouth is on the bottom, their eyes are on the top and we feed them squid, that’s how we get them up on the surface.  You might have noticed as you’ve been watching me, they come close and their nose is at the front.  Everybody says, “Oh, they seem to like you.”  No.  They swim forward, that way we can hold on to them better so everybody else can get a good look at them.  The only thing that’s dangerous about a stingray is they do have a little bit of a barb on the end of their tail that they sting with.  But the only way they do that is when they settle in the sand to rest and somebody comes along and steps on them, then they come up and sting them.  Here, the rays here, they’re very, very nice.

Going out on the Spirit of Paloo is a very modern experience -- but if you would like to slip into a recreation of the past, you might ship out on the Jolly Roger.

PIRATE:  Okay, she was built back in 1986, it’s a replica of a seventeenth century Spanish galleon.  She’s sixty-seven feet in length, she weighs sixty-two and a half tons, has fifty-seven fully working pieces of rigging, including eight sails. 

You guys are here to enjoy yourselves!  Therefore, no long faces!  Like yours, you scurvy dog -- SMILE!

Okay, I’ve got two containers down on the sides as well; the small one’s got fruit punch, the big one’s got rum punch.  Please just go and help yourselves, guys.  Now, this rum punch is very delicately flavored; it’s got parrot droppings in it, battery acid, I think it’s got some gunpowder in there, as well.  We haven’t seen the ship’s cat in about a week, so if you find some fur in your glass, you’ve found the cat.

NO LINE DANCING ON THIS VESSEL!  This does include the Macarena, and the Electric Slide.  Any line dancers will be shot.  Oh yes!

Being the world’s fifth largest financial center, it’s fair to assume that Grand Cayman is home to a fair number of people who are hungry for wealth.  Ahh, but there’s also a large number of people who are just... hungry for good food!  And fortunately, there are dozens of places on the island that can meet their expectations.  One of the many spots that I liked is called The Cracked Conch.

The Cracked Conch has a number of things going for it.  The most obvious is a great location on the shore of Northwest Point.  Wonderful views and an almost constant breeze that makes it a pleasure to eat out on the porch.

The next thing you’ll notice is the owner -- Susie Soto, who is not only a distinguished restaurateur and the president of the Cayman Restaurant Association, but most significantly she was the first runner-up in the 1997 Glamorous Granny Contest!  She has sixteen grandchildren.

And finally, the good food.  As usual, the crew ordered the restaurant specialties.  Emily Aronson, our executive producer, had turtle steak... Rob Weller, our cameraman, had turtle burger... John Blackman, the soundman, had a bacon cheeseburger (for which the restaurant has a local reputation)... and I had the conch chowder.  For dessert: key lime pie... coconut cream pie... Sinful Chocolate Brownie Sundae... and the Mud Slide Pie.  I don’t know what the other guys had for dessert.

The Lighthouse at Breakers is a good place for lunch or dinner.  It’s on the south shore of the island, right on the water.  Big screened-in porch with excellent views.  One of the owners is from Italy, and you can see his influence in the menu.  Many of the dishes are a blend of Italian and Caribbean tastes: penne pasta with local lobster, and Swordfish Positano.  But the proximity to the U.S. is also apparent -- Jerk Chicken Caesar and Pizzaiola Burgers.  For dessert:  Tortuga Rum Cake... Phyllis’ Nutty Starfish... and Mont Blanc.  They also have cookies to go -- Rum Raisin, Tropical Granola, Chocolate Walnut Biscotti, and Coconut Shortbread.

This is Seymour’s Jerk Centre.  Seymour spent some years in Jamaica mastering his recipes for jerk pork and jerk chicken.  And he’s built quite a following.


CUSTOMER 2:   One order of jerk pork.  You really eat the hot sauce?

CUSTOMER 1:  Yeah, I do; I love the hot sauce.  Oh, lots.

But his real fame is based on a drink that is somewhat short on taste but long on side effects.  It’s called “Mannish Water.”  It’s made from goat heads, goat bellies, goat feet and, uh...other goat stuff.  But taste is not the source of its strength.  Mannish water’s power derives from its real or perceived value as an... “energy builder.”

MAN 1:  As the olden days, as the olden people would say, “it gives you stamina.”

MAN 2:  Your stamina!

MAN 3:  Yah, mon, give you good stamina.

SEYMOUR: Gives you that extra boost that you need.

It’s a potent beverage, and in spite of its lack of caffeine, it seems to keep people up at night.

As you snorkel along Seven Mile Beach, you might do yourself a favor and come up at the new Marriott resort.  Great beachfront property, and an excellent beachfront restaurant called The Peninsula.  It’s completely open to the beach on three sides, and the dishes are inspiring: Turtle Fingers... Cayman Black Bean Soup... Blackened Mahi-Mahi... Tortuga Rum Shrimp... and for dessert, Passionfruit Tiramisu... and Key Lime Mousse.

And now for a plate that is completely different.

According to our latest geological information, the earth is made up of a series of huge plates that float on top of a hot liquid core.  As these plates bang into each other they change the shape of the earth’s surface.  Now there’s a piece of information to make you feel secure.  The geologists also tell us that a few million years ago the plates that were floating around under what is now the Caribbean Sea pushed up a mountain range that formed Cuba and the Cayman Islands.

125,000 years ago the sea level around these islands was twenty feet higher than it is now.  Then an Ice Age came along and sucked up a lot of the water on the planet.  The sea bottom, which was made of coral and sand, was suddenly exposed and turned into rock.  Over the centuries it eroded to the sharp pinnacles which are now known as ironshore.

There’s a particular form of ironshore that was formed on Grand Cayman over two million years ago.  When one of the early British commissioners was shown this area, he said that “This must be what Hell looks like.”  The name stuck and the district is officially known as Hell.

One of its main attractions is a post office that will stamp your cards with a postmark from Hell.  There’s also The Devil’s Hangout, a gift shop run by Ivan Farrington -- who will do everything he can to make your visit a living Hell.

IVAN FARRINGTON:  Well, I’m great, young man.  How the hell you doing?

BURT WOLF:   Oh, I’m doing fine -- I had a devil of a time getting here.


BURT WOLF:   I understand at one point you tried to change the name to Paradise?

IVAN FARRINGTON:  Yes, and business went straight to hell.

BURT WOLF:   What do people buy when they come in?

IVAN FARRINGTON:  Most of ‘em buy t-shirts, and all of ‘em buys postcards to send back to their friends.

BURT WOLF:   So you can really say, “I’ve been to Hell and I sent you this card.”


BURT WOLF:   Well, I actually came here because I was wondering, do you have a good recipe for Devil’s Food Cake?


But I do!

If Ivan Farrington clearly draws his inspiration from Hell, then Miss Gladwyn Lassie Bush clearly draws her inspiration from Heaven.

Miss Lassie is an untrained artist who has been free to develop without influence or interference from the professional art world.  The first evidence that Miss Lassie was at work came to the notice of her neighbors, who passed her home and realized that someone was painting visionary scenes on the building.

Miss Lassie is what’s known as an intuitive artist.  She draws her visual understanding of the external world from deeply religious inspirations.  She paints her internal visions.

MISS GLADWYN LASSIE BUSH:  Well, all of my paintings is naturally what comes to my mind’s eye.  I can’t paint physically.  I have tried it, but I have failed.  But if it enters my mind’s eye, I can really imitate what I see in my mind’s eye.

BURT WOLF:   You started by painting your house.

MISS GLADWYN LASSIE BUSH:  Yes, I did.  I did.  I started my painting because it was all I had was the wood to paint on.

BURT WOLF:   People thought that was a little strange.

MISS GLADWYN LASSIE BUSH:  Oh!  They said I was crazy.  Two of my friends said that I was crazy -- disfiguring the windows with the foolish paintings.

BURT WOLF:   Is there one or two paintings that you like the best?  Favorites?

MISS GLADWYN LASSIE BUSH:  I love my “Betrayal” which is on glass.  The “Betrayal” which is there.

BURT WOLF:  Why do you think that you have these visions and most people don’t?

MISS GLADWYN LASSIE BUSH:  I don’t know.  I wouldn’t say that some people don’t or other people don’t, but just as I tell you what I see, is as plain in my mind’s eye as looking at you physically right now.

BURT WOLF:   It looks like you’re getting famous.  How does that feel?

MISS GLADWYN LASSIE BUSH:  I can’t make that go around my aged head.  To be like how I would be if I was the age of some of these young folks, maybe I would be a fool, jumping up and down and rejoicing.  But, to me, it’s just a natural way.  Now, I’ll be frank with you;  I am glad that my painting has found a place in the world -- very glad of it.  But I can’t make it really settle in this old, worn, gray head.  I might go real crazy if I done it.

BURT WOLF:   If you start believing what people say about you, you’d go crazy.

MISS GLADWYN LASSIE BUSH:  Yes, yes, yes, yes.

BURT WOLF:   Yes, I think that’s true.

MISS GLADWYN LASSIE BUSH:  So, I should keep myself in control.

BURT WOLF:   Do you think that there’s one really important message that all of your paintings send?

MISS GLADWYN LASSIE BUSH:  My chief paintings is concerning the great son of God.  Of all the paintings I love them best.  I am a great sinner, but I believe in Him.  He’s not going to condemn me for my beliefs.  I might be rejected for some of the sin, but not for the unbeliefs.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Well, that’s a brief look at the Cayman Islands.  The story of these islands is definitely the story of the sea.  And I hope you will see your way clear to join us next time as we travel around the world.  I’m Burt Wolf.

Origins: Chicago - #115

Every place in the world has a series of things that give that spot a special character... and make it different from every other place.  When you look at the ORIGINS of these things, you often end up with a better appreciation of the territory -- and that makes it a lot more interesting to visit.  And sometimes, these ORIGINS help us understand why we live the way we do.

Twelve thousand years ago this was a huge glacial lake.  It covered what is now North America’s midwest.  As it receded, it left wide prairies, the Great Lakes, and shores of swamp.  The marshlands that were right here, at the southwest corner of what we presently call Lake Michigan were overgrown with wild onions -- onions that gave off an intense odor.  The native tribes called the place Checagou, which means great strength.

Today we call that spot Chicago -- and it is stronger and sweeter than ever.  Chicago is the most American city in the United States.

The origin of Chicago’s importance lies in its location.  To the north and east are the Great Lakes, and the St. Lawrence Seaway running out to the Atlantic Ocean.  To the south is a network of rivers that join the Mississippi and flow down to the Gulf of Mexico.  Chicago is the control point between these two waterways and people have been using it as a central trading post for thousands of years.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  The first permanent settler was Jean Baptiste Point DuSable.  He was the son of a French-Canadian merchant and an African-American slave.  In 1779 he set up a trading post on what eventually became the most important shopping street in Chicago.  His sense of place was absolutely perfect.  His sense of timing, well... maybe he was a little bit early.  But you’ve got to give him credit for being the first guy in the neighborhood, and that’s very important because today Chicago is clearly a city of neighborhoods.

A neighborhood at the heart of the city is called The Loop, which is a reference to the elevated train that loops through the area.  The Loop and the streets around it are the cultural epicenter of the city.

There’s the Museum of Contemporary Photography with an outstanding collection and excellent study facilities...


            There’s the world famous Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Lyric Opera.

The Museum of Broadcast Communications will give you a look at the history of radio and television in Chicago.

You’ll also find the Shedd Aquarium, the Field Museum and the Adler Planetarium.

The Art Institute of Chicago is one of the great museums of the world with an important collection of French Impressionist and post-impressionist paintings.

Walk across the bridge over the Chicago River and shop along The Magnificent Mile.  Chicago is the place where the big storefront window was invented.

One of the great things about Chicago is its waterfront.  Many American cities have waterfronts -- New York, San Francisco, New Orleans -- the problem is accessibility.  In most of the waterfront cities very little of the waterfront is easy to get to.  But that’s not the case in Chicago.  The lake front is an integral part of the town.  Lake Shore Drive runs for 124 blocks and it offers residents and tourists easy access to beaches, water sports, outdoor dining, space for biking, jogging and roller skating.  Plus dozens of boat tours.

One of the most successful developments in resent years is Navy Pier.  It juts out into the lake for over half a mile and is packed with attractions.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Chicago has always been a haven for African-Americans coming up from the south, but the two biggest migrations took place after the First and Second World War.  They settled in the south side of Chicago because it was close to the train station where they arrived, and it was near the available work.

Today, the Bronzeville district is being restored and has become an important area for African-American heritage tours.

Between 1840 and 1925, tens of millions of people immigrated from Europe to the United States.  The majority passed through Ellis Island in New York.  But when they got off that island they passed on to other cities and one of the most popular was Chicago.  Irish, German, Italian, Polish, Eastern Europeans and Scandinavians came to Chicago.  Today, this town has more Eastern Europeans, Scandinavians and Greeks than any other American city.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  My grandmother and my mother were immigrants to Chicago.  They came from Warsaw and they arrived here in 1910.

This is a picture of my mother and her sister, taken in a Chicago photo studio in 1915.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  The neighborhoods that developed around each of these immigrant groups are still here and they have been joined by Asians and Mexicans.  What makes these ethnic neighborhoods different from those in other American cities is that here in Chicago they are easy to get to and they welcome visitors.  As a matter of fact, the Chicago Office of Tourism runs tours into the neighborhoods each week.

One of the most significant events in the city’s history was the Great Chicago Fire, which took place in 1871.  The cause is still under investigation but the results are well documented.  Within days after the fire, the city passed a law calling for all new buildings to be constructed of fireproof stone and brick.  Chicago began to rise again.  The new construction presented an extraordinary opportunity for talented architects.  The construction that took place after the fire and the enormous work that went into the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893 led to the development of the Chicago style of architecture... a style that has influenced the entire world.

Rolf Achilles is an art historian who teaches at the Art Institute of Chicago and writes about the architecture of his city.

ROLF ACHILLES: Chicago’s a unique architectural museum.  Here you can study the whole history of contemporary modern architecture from the mid-nineteenth century to the end of the nineteenth century.  Thin-wall construction, thick-wall construction -- everything is here.

The Reliance Building -- a radical departure from traditional architecture.  It’s a whole new way of building in 1891, and it’s a superb example of the Chicago school of architecture.  It sets a trend that goes around the world; the big plate glass windows in the center let in lots of light, it flows in about fifteen feet on the inside, allows for maximum workspace.  The walls are very thin, compared to traditional wall strengths.  It’s all about selling space and floor space.  The more floor you’ve got, the more you can rent.

Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe had designed these two towers in 1949, we’re at 86880 North Lake Shore Drive.  Mies was a classicist.  He loved Greek architecture, and what we’re seeing is a square Greek column; fluting on the outside, light goes across, casts shadows, the building always in transition.  Radical in its day, it becomes the standard form for corporations to build in because there’s an enormous amount of space rentable inside.  It’s a functional building, and corporations do like function.

BURT WOLF:  And he got away from the corners and kept it round like a column by that little thing that he does.

ROLF ACHILLES:  Right, the little thing that we can see precisely the way he works around the corners is something the Greeks never really solved, but Mies did in the course of the 1940s and ‘50s.

Twenty years later, students of Mies Van Der Rohe designed the John Hancock Building, which at the time was the world’s tallest building.  The support structures, which you can see in those X’s, are on the exterior of the building, which made the outside stronger and gave more rental room on the inside.  Chicago architecture is often driven by two forces: the desire for artistic achievement, which has produced some of the most beautiful buildings in the world, and equally important -- the desire to be profitable.  Chicago architecture is the blending together of culture and cash.

As Chicago rebuilt after the fire, it took on a greater importance than ever before. Chicago’s location made it the transportation hub for America’s agricultural heartland, which in turn made it a center for food processing.

The Chicago Union Stockyards opened on Christmas Day in 1865, and were big enough to hold 10,000 head of cattle and 100,000 hogs.  In those days, our nation was more interested in pork than beef.  At first the yard just fattened and shipped live cattle.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  And then Gustavus Swift arrived from New England and started slaughtering and packing the beef and shipping it all over the country in a new invention -- the refrigerated railroad car.  At first, the railroads tried to stop him because they made a lot more money shipping a live cow, but he was too swift for them and eventually won out.

The salt needed to preserve meat in the days before refrigeration made Chicago a salt trading center which led to Chicago’s Morton Salt Company.

In 1879, a man named John Stuart moved his mill from Canada to Chicago.  Today, it’s known as The Quaker Oats Company.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  William Wrigley was a baking powder salesman.  And every time you gave William an order he threw in a free piece of chewing gum.  Unfortunately, the baking powder business was failing, but everybody loved William’s gum.  So in 1906 he went out of the baking powder business and into the gum business and introduced Wrigley’s Spearmint.

But Chicago is also a great place for restaurants.  Ambria has been called the most popular restaurant for Chicagoans.  Contemporary French food, excellent service, and a beautiful art nouveau setting.

Perhaps the most influential restaurateur in Chicago is Richard Melman.  He runs a company called Lettuce Entertain You, and since 1971 has built over seventy restaurants -- including The Everest Room, Shaw’s Crab House, and The Big Bowl.  He is a true lover of traditional Chicago food, the down-home stuff.

The Chicago Stockyards made this city the beef capital of the world, which is presently reflected in its love of steaks, hot dogs, and Italian beef sandwiches.

RICH MELMAN:  Well, I don’t know of any other place that has Italian beef but Chicago.  They take this roast beef and they cook it with a lot of herbs and spices and so forth like that; they cook it very well done, they cut it real thin, they dunk it in their wonderful au jus --  that’s maybe another key -- it’s served on great Italian bread, and I put a little sweet peppers on top and I think it’s heavenly.  I mean, it’s a real treat to me.  I can’t go more than three or four months without having one, I get cravings for it and this is where I come when I get the cravings.

BURT WOLF:  You need a little Italian beef running through your blood all the time.

RICH MELMAN:  Absolutely. Absolutely.  It just tastes great.

BURT WOLF:  And they have this Elegant Dining Room that they advertise.

RICH MELMAN:  Well, that’s what they say.  I don’t know how elegant it is...

BURT WOLF:  Elegance is in the mind.

BURT WOLF:  That is definitely a deep dish.

RICH MELMAN:  Oh yeah, this is a meal.

BURT WOLF:  Well, it’s not the traditional pizza that I grew up eating.

RICH MELMAN:  No.  You know, Ike Sole, the guy that created this pizza, you know, supposedly the story goes, that he wanted to create a pizza that was more than just a snack, that was really a meal.  And this is what he came up with, and this started the thick pizza craze all over the city of Chicago, and it really has become something that’s all over the country now.

BURT WOLF:  Why do you think it’s so popular?

RICH MELMAN:  You know, it’s an acquired taste probably, I know that people in Chicago love it, and I think that’s certainly one of the important things.  And I think it’s also inexpensive.  You get a whole meal, you know, three or four people can eat out of a pizza here.  You got two of these slices, that’s just about enough.  I think you probably eat for under ten dollars.  I mean, that’s why I like it.

And then there is the authentic Chicago-style hot dog.  It starts as an all-beef sausage in a natural casing that snaps when you bite it.  It’s grilled or boiled -- boiling keeps in the juices -- and they are served on a steamed poppy-seed bun.  But that’s just the foundation.  Chicago’s history as the home of the skyscraper seems to have affected its approach to hot dogs.  The yellow mustard goes on, then the green relish, chopped raw onions, a slice of pickle, peppers and finally tomatoes.  This is as much about construction as it is about cooking.

BURT WOLF:  Is there a method for eating these?

RICH MELMAN:  I think the trick is not to get it in your lap.  And I think you want to hold it over -- I’d hold it straight up.  Good hot dog.  They’re very famous for their cheddar fries.

BURT WOLF:  French fried potatoes and Cheddar cheese.

RICH MELMAN:  Mmm hmm.  Yep.

BURT WOLF:  Anybody ever hear the word cholesterol?  Or is that kind of like a foreign language?

RICH MELMAN:  Well, people know what cholesterol is... I don’t know if you want to eat this every day.

BURT WOLF:  Ah, that’s the secret: everything in moderation.

RICH MELMAN:  Exactly.  Exactly.

BURT WOLF:  I’ve been pretty moderate so I’m going to have another bite.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):   And I love the names of some of the hot dog stands: Relish The Thought; Red Hot Mammas; Dog Day Afternoon; Wiener’s Circle; and my personal favorite... Mustard’s Last Stand.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  As I mentioned, Chicago’s first permanent resident was half French-Canadian and half African-American, so Chicago’s African-American heritage goes all the way back to its beginning.  And you can feel the impact of the African-American heritage throughout the city.  But Chicago’s African-American culture has extended it’s importance throughout the world.  A perfect example of what I mean is the Chicago Blues.

The Blues is a musical tradition that became the roots of rock and roll.  Willie Dixon was one of the great men in the business, and before he died in 1992 he founded The Blues Heaven Foundation.  The foundation is housed in the old Chess recording studio on Chicago’s South Side.  The primary objective of the organization is to educate blues artists in the business aspects of making music.  Willie Dixon’s daughter Shirli is a director of the foundation.

SHIRLI DIXON:  I was at a friend’s house and she was listening to the radio, and on comes this song “Whole Lotta Love.”  And I said, “You know, that’s my dad’s song.”  Well, as we looked at the album there were other songs on there that he was credited for, but not this one.  And he says, “Oh sure, I wrote that song for Muddy many, many years ago and I’m sure they’re paying me for it, we just need to go look up the royalties and make sure I’m being paid.”  Well, no payment.  It was really tough for him to decide to do anything about it, so it took two years before we decided that there was no way to resolve it.  And his idea was, “If I ever get through this, if I’m ever successful, I’ll make sure that my fellow bluesmen and women will not have to go through the same challenges that I’ve had with this” and with other songs that have had samples of his sound.

We have a copyright and research area as well as a number of attorneys that volunteer their time to assist the artists when there is an issue in a contract.  And what we call it is “moral persuasion.”  Because we have to make sure that when the artist goes in that they know there’s people behind them in order to get the issues resolved.

If you’re visiting Chicago and would like to school yourself a little in the blues you can stop into any one of a half-dozen good clubs.  One of the best is Buddy Guy’s Legends.  Eric Clapton called Buddy the world’s greatest guitarist.

BUDDY GUY:  I was checking into a hotel in New York, and I wear this ring which says “Blues” and the couple who was checking me in was husband and wife and they made a comment that, “Ooh, blues, it make you cry.”  And I looked and I said, “Oh yeah?”  And I gave them two passes to come and see me that night, and the next morning when I got ready to check out, they were crying saying, “Because I danced all night, I didn’t hear nothin’ sad by you.”  I said, “Stop going by what you hear.  Only a little bit of  what you see.  Go see for yourself.”  It’s almost like a good meal, you know?  I’m from Louisiana, you know, if you don’t eat it yourself, can’t nobody really tell you how good it is.  I mean, you can sit there and imagine how good it is, but you gotta go taste it yourself.  And to me, that’s what blues is -- go and listen to it and then come back and tell me whether you like it or not.

When I pick up my guitar, I’m going to give you everything I got and more.  And a lot of young people, I think, today say is, “I just want to show you who I am.  I don't have to give you my best, I’m just that good.”  And that doesn’t go too far with me.  You know, I’m not that good.  You know, I just have to give you everything I got, then even if you don’t like it, you can look inside of me and say, “You know, that guy gave me all he had.  And that’s all he got.”

Buddy uses his club to present some of the finest talent in the business.  Tonight we’re listening to Lynne Jordan.

One thing that is sure to help keep the blues away is a visit to Chicago’s Four Seasons Hotel.  It’s located on the Magnificent Mile, and its rooms start on the thirtieth floor!  The hotel has all the elegance and professionalism that has made the Four Seasons group famous, but it also has a few touches that are unusual.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):   When you check in, they can issue you a “900” card that will get you discounts on the things you buy in the shops downstairs.  They have special suites designed for families traveling with children, baby bathrobes and children’s toys are included.  They have the only rooftop running track in the city and they have an in-flight menu.  When you check out, they will make a basket of food for you that tastes good, is good for you and will free you from eating on the airline.

Their restaurants have some of the highest ratings in the city.  Today the sous chef, Douglas Anderson, is going to make one of the hotel’s signature dishes -- a warm Chocolate Cappuccino Tart.

He starts by melting two and a half ounces of butter in a quarter cup of heavy cream.  That gets poured over eleven ounces of bittersweet chocolate, which has been flavored with a teaspoon of instant coffee.  The chocolate melts and cools down a little as it’s mixed, at which point five egg yolks are blended in.

Eight egg whites have been whisked together with a quarter cup of sugar, until they stand in peaks.  Chef Anderson uses granulated sugar, because confectioners’ sugar usually contains cornstarch, which would affect the recipe in ways we’d rather not talk about.  The egg whites are carefully folded together with the chocolate.

CHEF DOUGLAS ANDERSON:  It’s so important that you take your time with this and you use a rubber spatula and not a whisk, because if you use a whisk and knock out those beautiful airpockets, what will happen is your soufflé will never rise.

What we have now is the batter for a chocolate soufflé, which is used to fill little cups made of chocolate shortbread.  This is a standard shortbread recipe with a little added cocoa -- but the soufflé mixture will work just as well in a ramekin.  The tarts go into a 400 degree Fahrenheit oven for twelve minutes.  When they come out, they’re served with a caramel sauce and a dollop of pecan ice cream.

One of the manifestations of Chicago as the most American of American cities is its love of sports.  The Chicago Cubs play at Wrigley Field, which is one of the oldest major league baseball stadiums still in use.  It has been refurbished but not redesigned, and it feels the way a baseball park must have felt in the old days.  It’s a wonderful experience to come out to an afternoon game and see what baseball was like when it became our national sport.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  I have an enormous respect for baseball.  It can teach you one of the great lessons of life.  If a batter were to a hit a ball three out of ten times, he would be batting three hundred, which would make him a superstar.  The other half of that equation, of course, is that he would be failing seventy percent of the time.  Baseball can teach you to accept failure, feel good about yourself, and keep on trying.

In addition to the Cubs, Chicago has the White Sox.  The White Sox play baseball at Comiskey Park.  In addition, there are the Bears... the Blackhawks... and the Bulls.  There is an entrance fee for professional sporting events, but Chicago has an unusual program of events that are free.

The Mayor of Chicago and the Commissioner of Cultural Affairs believe that a city cannot survive unless the citizens enjoy their environment.  They also believe that tourists must be able to join the local residents having a good time.  To make that possible they have set up a series of free festivals, cultural events and recreational activities.  And it appears that Chicago has more free cultural events than any city in the world.

There are Latin music festivals, jazz festivals, blues festivals, gospel festivals.

There are free rides on the elevated trains that go through the Loop with guides that explain the architecture and history of the area.

And then there is a food festival called The Taste of Chicago, which celebrates the ethnic history of the city.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Free events like these remove cultural barriers and offer an opportunity to people, both tourists and residents, to enjoy each other and the event.  And I hope you enjoyed visiting Chicago with me and that you will join me next as we travel around the world looking at the ORIGINS of some of the things that surround us.  I’m Burt Wolf.

Origins: The Gold of the Yukon - #114

Every place in the world has a series of things that give that spot a special character... and make it different from every other place.  When you look at the ORIGINS of these things, you often end up with a better appreciation of the territory -- and that makes it a lot more interesting to visit.  And sometimes, these ORIGINS help us understand why we live the way we do.

The northwest corner of Canada is known as the Yukon.  It contains some of the most beautiful landscape in North America.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  The people of the first nations have been living in this area for tens of thousands of years.  The first Europeans to show up were the Russians.  They popped in in the 1830s and began trading with the tribes on the coast.  Right behind them were the English, they came in the form of the Hudson’s Bay Company and began doing business with the trappers in the interior.  At some point, the Hudson’s Bay Company decided that they owned the territory and were therefore able to sell it to the Canadian government which they did in 1870.  The whole territory was basically ignored even by the Canadian government until 1896.

That was they year that gold was discovered, and over a million people started making plans to rush off to the Yukon.  About 100,000 got started on the trip but only about 40,000 actually made it.  There had been gold rushes before -- California in 1849, then in South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand, but the Klondike gold rush was the first gold rush to be treated as a media event.  The Western nations were feeling the effects of a pronounced economic recession.  Many people in Europe looked to North America as a land of opportunity.  Many people in North America looked to the western frontier for the same reason.  Combine North America, the western frontier, and tales of getting rich quick, and you have an irresistible attraction.  Major newspapers around the world covered the ongoing stories every day.  The reports seemed to give people a reason to hope that there was still a place in the world for the independent entrepreneur, the rugged individualist, the fortune hunter.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  My favorite version of the Yukon gold rush story starts with Skookum Jim, Dawson Charlie, George Carmack and George’s’ wife Kate, fishing in the Yukon River.  A fellow prospector gives them a tip about a spot called Rabbit Creek and they head over to check it out.  Within hours of their arrival they find gold.  Carmack described it in his diary as “like seeing slabs of cheese on a bedrock sandwich.”  The next day, August 17th, 1896, he staked the claim, and changed the name of the area to “Bonanza Creek.”  And I want you to know, that was fifty years before anybody had heard of Hoss or Little Joe.  When he filed his claim in town a couple of weeks later, every prospector in the Yukon headed for the spot to stake their claim.  But as far as anyone outside the Yukon knowing what was going on, it was at least a year before they heard anything.

Then on July 14,1897, the steamer Excelsior docked in San Francisco with a ton of Klondike gold onboard.  The word was out.  Three days later the Portland landed in Seattle.  There were sixty-eight miners onboard carrying over a million dollars’ worth of gold.  And there were five thousand people on the docks trying to figure out how to get their piece of the action.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Suddenly, the Canadian government decided that they had to take control of the region... and for a number of good reasons.  Most immediate was that if there was no federal presence in the territory they might lose millions of dollars in tax revenue.  And second was the whole question of keeping the Yukon Territory part of Canada.  The border was in dispute, and ninety percent of the prospectors were U.S. citizens.  At any moment they might declare the area part of the United States.  After all, they had done just that with California in 1849 when gold was discovered there, and they might do it again.  Clearly, this was the moment to bring in the Northwest Mounted Police.

In 1898, two detachments of mounties arrived.  They were under the command of Superintendent Sam Steele, whose name was a pretty good description of his character.  Since ninety percent of the people showing up to search for gold were from the United States, his first job was to inform them as firmly as possible that they were now on Canadian soil.  It was also his task to make sure that no prospector entered the territory without enough supplies to last one full year.  He stationed his men at the top of the mountain passes leading into the Yukon.  Their orders were to turn back anyone who did not have the required amount of equipment.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  A year’s worth of supplies weighed about a thousand pounds, and would’ve looked pretty much like the stuff behind me; not a big deal to transport if you were barreling down a paved highway in a late model RV that you rented for the gold mining season.  But in those days the Klondike was a tough place, and getting to the gold was the toughest part of all.

Most of the people rushing to the gold took a steamship from Seattle, Washington to Skagway, Alaska and then headed over the mountain passes into the Canadian Yukon.  The passes were difficult and dangerous.  Pack animals couldn’t make it.  And neither could most of the prospectors.  The Chilkoot Trail to Lake Lindeman was only a distance of twenty miles, but much of it was on a forty-degree angle and reached up to a pass that was almost 4,000 feet high.  Many people died trying to get up it.

The White Pass was also available.  It was not as steep, or as high, but it was fifteen miles longer than the Chilkoot.  And if you were lucky enough to make it to the top, you would be greeted by the mounties who were there to make sure you had the full year’s worth of supplies.  The average prospector had to make the climb twenty times in order to get his or her supplies to the top of the pass.  And no one wanted to stop and take a rest.  If you got out of line it could take hours before someone would let you get back in.  Over seventy feet of snow fell on the passes that year.

Those who got through headed for the shores of Lake Lindeman or Lake Bennett and waited for the ice to break up.  The area surrounding Lake Bennett was denuded of trees, which were used to build 7,000 rafts, barges and plank ships.  As soon as the spring thaw arrived, they headed off -- a 500-mile ride down the Yukon River to Dawson City and the gold creeks.

That’s the last bend in the river just before Dawson.  The point where it narrows was a favorite fishing spot for the First Nations people.  They called it throndike, which means “water hammer.”  It was the place where they hammered poles into the river bottom to trap fish.  Eventually the settlers ended up pronouncing the word... ”Klondike.”

That’s the town of Dawson, on the same slab of frozen earth where it was founded over a hundred years ago.  And that’s the turn-up into Bonanza Creek, where the gold was discovered -- the spot that was holding the world’s attention.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  The people who were rushing for the gold eventually became known as stampeders.  And when they stampeded into Dawson, one of the things they found out was that the claims with real potential for good gold had been staked out over two years before.  Many of them just gave up and headed home.  Some of them figured they’d stick around, try and beat the odds and find gold anyway.  And some of them decided if they couldn’t actually take the gold out of the creeks, maybe they could take the gold out of the pockets of the people who took the gold out of the creeks.  As a matter of fact, more people became wealthy from selling things to the prospectors than actually prospecting.  But by 1899, just three years after the first strike, the gold rush in the Klondike was over.  Gold had been discovered in Alaska and people were rushing over there.  I guess that’s the way it is when you go for the gold... rush, rush, rush.

The Klondike gold rush produced considerable material wealth, but it also generated another form of prize -- a prize to be found in the writings of Robert Service.  Service was born in 1874 near Liverpool, England, but he grew up in Glasgow, Scotland.  His first job was as a bank clerk, but he grew restless and headed off to the west coast of Canada.  In 1904 he ended up as a bank clerk again, but now he was working in the Yukon.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  By the time Service settled into this little cabin on the edge of Dawson, the gold rush was over.  But the people who had been part of it were still here, and they told their stories to Service.  He took that material, and turned it into some of the most memorized poems in the English language.  I think my favorite is about Sam McGee:

There are strange things done in the midnight sun

By the men who moil for gold...

The Arctic trails have their secret tales

That would make your blood run cold;

The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,

But the queerest they ever did see

Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge

I cremated Sam McGee.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  His poems paint an extraordinary and vivid picture of what life was like during the Klondike gold rush.  When they were published, he became a reporter for the Toronto Star and traveled to the South Pacific, and then to the South of France were he died in 1958.

In the hundred years or so since gold was discovered in the Yukon, over one billion dollars’ worth has been taken out of the ground.  The area continues to yield gold -- over fifty million dollars’ worth each year.  Most of it is taken out by large commercial mining operations, but there are still a few hardy individuals who work their own claims.

Leo Twordik’s claim is a good example of what I mean.  It’s on Bonanza Creek, just a few miles from where the original discovery claim was staked in 1896.  I was assured by a mutual friend that Leo would be glad to see me and that he was a very hospitable fellow.  All I had to do was drive up the creek road and make a right at the skull-and-crossbones.  Sure.  Right at the skull-and-crossbones.  What kind of a nut do you think I am?  Clearly the kind that would make the right.

BURT WOLF:  Hi... Leo?  My name is Burt Wolf.  I’m making a television program about the history of the Yukon and Rob Toohey said that if I came by you might show me around your claim...?

LEO TWORDIK:  Yes, come on in Burt.

BURT WOLF:  Thanks.

LEO TWORDIK:  Welcome to the Yukon.

BURT WOLF:  Nice to meet you.  So, what do you actually do when you’re out there looking for the gold?

LEO TWORDIK:  Ah!  Heck!  You just, like a real farmer got to follow his nose, and I’ll always go back to a saying by my dad, because that’s who trained me... and if you’re a real good farmer, you just feel it, and gold is sort of a feeling.  You got to feel where the gold is, you got to back your memory banks up 50,000 years ago or whatever it is, and try and visualize how this earth was formed and where the gold is.  And you’ve got to feel it, you’ve to smell it, you’ve got to almost taste it, you know...

BURT WOLF:  What’s the most fun about this work?

LEO TWORDIK:  The challenge!  The challenge is what the fun thing is and, I mean, there’s nothing else in life if you don’t have no challenge in life, what is life really?  You think about it sometime.  Sit down and really think about it... what’s fun?

BURT WOLF:  Challenge.

LEO TWORDIK:  Challenge.  If you don’t have a challenge, there’s so many people that work for money and they’re just miserable.  Walk into work and complain about the boss, they’ll complain about anything, I mean, they got nothing to complain about.  They still complain.  They don’t know what to complain about.

BURT WOLF:  You’re right.  Why work for money when you can work for gold?

LEO TWORDIK:  Well, that’s not really... yeah, okay... there’s... it has its benefits, there’s no doubt about that... but I mean, if you enjoy what you do, you know, then it’s not work, is it?

The price of gold varies from hour to hour, but since 1990 its value has been well over three hundred dollars per ounce.  And it is the only metal that is accepted by all the nations of the world as a form of payment for international debts.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  My question is why?  What is the origin of this ancient passion for gold?  Well, nobody knows when we first discovered the metal we call gold, but we do know that ancient tribes living on the Black Sea six thousand years ago were making gold jewelry.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Gold was one of the first metals to be discovered and from the very beginning it was used to make jewelry and as a form of currency, but it was very rarely used in its pure form.  It was almost always mixed with some other metal to form an alloy.  Gold alloy is divided into 24 parts, each called a karat.  If you see a piece of gold and it’s marked 24 karat, that means that it is pure gold.  If it’s marked 14-karat that means then it is 14 parts gold and 10 parts some other metal.  Usually copper.

Gold is found in just about every form of rock and soil.  And the oceans are filled with it.  Problem is, the gold is so widely distributed that it costs more to recover than it’s worth.  Folks only go after gold when they find that it has been concentrated by nature.  And nature does that in two ways.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  The first is called a lode deposit.  Scientists believe that volcanic activity deep inside the earth heats surrounding water, brings it to a boil and forces it towards the surface of the earth.  As it comes up, it dissolves minerals and eventually develops the ability to dissolve gold.  As it gets closer to the surface of the earth, it cools down and the gold comes out of solution forming solids, actually veins of gold that run through the rock.  The way you get to those veins is with hard-rock mining.  Drilling.  Blasting.  And moving lots of rocks.

The other way that nature offers up its gold is called a placer deposit.  A gold vein near the earth’s surface is worn away by wind, rain and snow.  The gold-bearing ore is washed downhill and into a stream.  The gold sinks to the bottom of the stream while the current carries other lighter materials away.  To mine a placer deposit, you scoop up the ore and let water pass over it to take away the lighter stuff and sift out the gold nuggets.  You can do that with an elaborate series of sluice boxes, or you can do it in a pan.

ROB TOOHEY:  So you can see this gold pan is fairly rusted and it’s got a lot of texture in the bottom.

BURT WOLF:  So those new shiny ones are no good?

ROB TOOHEY:  That’s right.

BURT WOLF:  How do you get it like that?

ROB TOOHEY:  Throw it in a fire.

BURT WOLF:  In the oven or just in like a fire?

ROB TOOHEY:  No, in a fire outside.  Burn it, burn the oil off it and the finish and then it’ll go rusty and it’ll get pitted and this will trap the fine gold easier than a smooth one.

BURT WOLF:  It’ll also be easier to see against a darker surface.

ROB TOOHEY:  That’s... that’s right.

BURT WOLF:  All right, what do I do?

ROB TOOHEY:  Okay, get some creek gravel... okay, so you’ve got your gravel...

BURT WOLF:  You swirl...

ROB TOOHEY:  Yeah, what you’re trying to do is concentrate the heavy, the heavier material down to the bottom, and you can pick out these obviously ungold rocks... so you take out some of the bigger material...

BURT WOLF:  How heavy is gold?

ROB TOOHEY:  Gold is nineteen times heavier than water, so in the process that’s mixed with water, it’ll most certainly go right to the bottom.  This is the same technology that a sluice box uses.  It’s all exactly the same.  It’s the relationship of the weight of gold to the weight of water and the lighter materials.  So you just keep gently floating off the lighter stuff.  You very carefully drain off your water.  You spread it around your pan and then you look for color...

BURT WOLF:  What is that?

ROB TOOHEY: That’s gold...

BURT WOLF:  It’s gold?

ROB TOOHEY:  It’s gold, yeah, and I’ve got some...there’s some more over here too.  Very fine colors.  So if we had about three million of those...

BURT WOLF:  I’m outta here man, I got gold... Where’d you say we were?

And in keeping with the tradition of a prospector who just struck it rich, I’m off to spend it!  Back to Dawson and into a cafe run by Josie Simon called Klondike Kate’s.  But who was Klondike Kate?

JOSIE SIMON:  Klondike Kate was a famous dancehall girl during the gold rush.  She was a singer and dancer, and performed at the Palace Grand Theater, where her ghost is still said to be roaming.

BURT WOLF:  I’ll bear that in mind.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  All of the food here is pretty good, but the one dish that none of us could resist was the Klondike Tin Roof Pie.  Now, normally I would go back in the kitchen and the chef would teach me how it’s made, but the restaurant’s still pretty busy and everybody in the kitchen is jumping around; there’s no way I can get in there.  So I asked Wade, who’s Josie’s husband and the head chef, to just come on out to the table and show me how it’s done.

WADE SIMON:  First we start with two cups of corn flakes...

BURT WOLF:  A little crushed up?

WADE SIMON:  A little crushed up.  Then we have a quarter cup of peanut butter, just regular smooth peanut butter will do, and then we have a quarter cup of corn syrup...

BURT WOLF:  All right, so two cups of corn flakes, that have been crushed up, a quarter cup of peanut butter, and a quarter cup of corn syrup.

WADE SIMON:  Exactly...

BURT WOLF:  Great...Now what?

WADE SIMON:  Now, you could use a spoon, but it’s better if you just use your hands.

BURT WOLF:  You know the Klondike is a hands-on kind of place...

WADE SIMON:  Yeah, actually you could use two hands, but it’ll take a lot longer if you use a spoon.  It’s a sticky process...

BURT WOLF:  It’s great for kids.  Kids can do this.

WADE SIMON:  Kids love it.

BURT WOLF:  You just work it until it’s all together...

WADE SIMON:  That’s all.  Once all of it is together, we’re just gonna make a pie crust out of it.  I’m ready now...


WADE SIMON:  Put that in there...

BURT WOLF:  Right.

WADE SIMON:  Okay, you just pat it down.  You need a little bit of an edge so that the ice cream will sit in there.

BURT WOLF:  Then the ice cream goes in?

WADE SIMON:  Ice cream goes in...I think that might be a little more ice cream than we need...

BURT WOLF:  I’ll eat the whatever it is you don’t use...

WADE SIMON:  Alright.  You’ve done this before.

BURT WOLF:  No this is my first time.  Just fill it in all around.

WADE SIMON:  That’s all you need.  It’s a great summer dessert.

BURT WOLF:  You got a spoon?  Okay, so now I get all of the ice cream in it, you wrap it in plastic, and you freeze it.

WADE SIMON:  Exactly.

BURT WOLF:  Okay, now I’m going to take this and put it in the freezer and bring a fresh one out.  You can just relax.  Two hours in the freezer, comes out, the plastic wrap comes off, you take out your slice, and you garnish.  What do you garnish with?

WADE SIMON:  I got some hot chocolate fudge...

BURT WOLF:  Artfully arranged...

WADE SIMON:  I’ve got some whipped cream here, and chopped nuts.

BURT WOLF:  It’s a treasure!

WADE SIMON:  I’d love to hang around, but you know how it is in the Yukon, Burt, rush, rush, rush.

BURT WOLF:  Well, don’t hang around on my account.

Before I leave the gold country there’s one more thing I need to do -- and that’s file my claim.

MARION DEJEAN:  Well, I see that you’ve got a staking guide and a map there.  Is there somewhere in particular you’re interested in?

BURT WOLF:  Well, I talked to my friend Leo, and Leo said I should look on Leroy Creek and he said that 540786 was open and that that’s where I should stake my claim.



MARION DEJEAN:  We’ll just check the office copy for you to make sure nobody’s beat you to it, okay?

BURT WOLF:  You have a master copy where you keep a record of everything that’s claimed?



MARION DEJEAN:  This has the latest claim information on it so that we know as of this minute no one has come in to record that ground...



BURT WOLF:  How many feet do I get?

MARION DEJEAN:  Well, you’ll get five hundred feet along the creek because it’s not the first claim, and you can’t get the discovery claim at fifteen hundred feet.  So it’s a two-post staking as you can see by your guide...

BURT WOLF:  Right...

MARION DEJEAN:  And you’ll have five hundred feet here and a thousand feet on the other side of the creek.

BURT WOLF:  Good size...


BURT WOLF:  Okay, what do I do?

MARION DEJEAN:  Okay, you will take out two posts or you’ll cut a tree on the ground, if you look behind you there’s a post there that gives you an idea.

BURT WOLF:  Okay, so that’s what it’s gonna look like.

MARION DEJEAN:  That’s what it should look like, just like that one.

BURT WOLF:  Like these, and I write my stuff on it.  So I should go and do that now...

MARION DEJEAN:  Yes, that’s right...

BURT WOLF:  And then I come back and you will give me two tags...

MARION DEJEAN:  Yeah, that you will affix on the claim and that will keep it unique to yourself.

BURT WOLF:  And then during the next year I have to do two hundred dollars worth of work...

MARION DEJEAN:  That’s right...

BURT WOLF:  Canadian dollars...

MARION DEJEAN:  That’s right.


MARION DEJEAN:  And the cost is ten dollars.

BURT WOLF:  Boy, this is gonna be the best investment of my life.

MARION DEJEAN:  If there’s gold on it, it could be.

BURT WOLF:  Thanks a lot.

MARION DEJEAN:  You’re welcome.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Well, that’s it -- I’m ready to stake my claim.  I got a boneless Sirloin and a New York Strip -- that ought to do it.  You gotta stop staring at my steaks -- you’re making me nervous.  But I want you to know, that even if I find gold and I become wealthy beyond my wildest dreams, I’m never gonna stop making my reports.  As long as I am physically able, I will be here.  And I hope you will be here, too, and join me as I travel around the world looking at the ORIGINS of the things that surround us.  I’m Burt Wolf.  Don’t whine.

Origins: Nassau - #113

Every place in the world has a series of things that give that spot a special character... and make it different from every other place.  When you look at the ORIGINS of these things, you often end up with a better appreciation of the territory -- and that makes it a lot more interesting to visit.  And sometimes, these ORIGINS help us understand why we live the way we do.

The most northerly of the islands of the Bahamas lies about a hundred and fifty miles off the east coast of Florida, at about the same latitude as Palm Beach.  There are over seven hundred islands in the Bahama chain, and they swing down to the southeast until they come to an end just above the Dominican Republic.

When Christopher Columbus finally hit land in the New World it was one of the tiny islands of the Bahamas that he banged into.  Spanish explorers following Columbus called the area Baja Mar which means the “shallow sea.”  Eventually the islands came to be known as... the Bahamas.

Today it is one of the most popular resorts in the western hemisphere.  It has some of the finest beaches... places for scuba diving... boating... deep-sea fishing... duty-free shopping... gaming... and spots to just hang out. 

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  The first people to live in the area  were known as the Lucayans which means “people of the islands.”  By all accounts they were a friendly group.  They had started out about two thousand years ago in South America and moved north through the Caribbean.  One of the reasons they kept moving was to avoid another tribe known as the Caribs. The Caribs, like so many modern nutritionists, believed that the more different foods you included in your diet the healthier you would be. The Caribs included the Lucayans in their diet.  And that’s one of the reasons that the word “cannibal” is found in the languages of Europe.  Unfortunately when the Spanish showed up, things did not get better.  The Lucayans got out of the food chain only to find themselves in the chains of slavery.  Within twenty-five years they had all died and the islands were deserted.

Back in England, the king had become head of the Anglican Church and he thought that everyone should follow him.  The Puritan congregations, however, preferred to follow God without the king as a middle man.  The king made life difficult for the Puritans, and many of them decided to look for a new place to live.  Some of the Puritans that left England ended up on Plymouth Rock and founded Massachusetts.  The Puritans who were in Bermuda were also being persecuted by the English government, and they escaped to the Bahamas.  In 1647 they formed this nation’s first permanent settlement of Europeans. 

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  The next meaningful migration took place during the last decades of the 1700’s.  It was made up of American colonists who had decided to stay loyal to the King of England and wanted to have nothing to do with the newly formed United States of America.  The Loyalists who arrived here came with their slaves and enhanced the racial mixture of the islands.  Then in 1843 the British Empire decided to abolish slavery, and much to the credit of all of the Bahamians there was an easy transition to a British colony made up of free citizens. 

In 1973, after more than 250 years under British rule, the Bahamas became an independent nation.  Today it has a democratically elected government, a stable society, and a prospering economy.  But figuring out how to make a living in the Bahamas was not always a simple task.

Most of the islands in this part of the world have a volcanic base which gives them a soil that is ideal for agriculture.  The Bahamas, however, are formed from limestone with very little topsoil.  This is not an easy place for farming.  And that has influenced the history of the Bahamas in some ways that are positive and in some that are not so positive. 

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Without the ability to grow sugar cane which was the major cash crop for the early European colonies in the Caribbean, the Bahamians turned to other businesses.  For hundreds of years the major local occupation was the salvaging of wrecked ships.  These were dangerous waters, and thousands of boats went down on the reefs surrounding these islands.  The locals made a living by salvaging what they could. 

They also realized that they could improve their business by shifting the shore lights so instead of directing a ship to a safe passage, the light would send the vessel into a rock that was conveniently located for the salvage team.  Efficiency has always been important to a well-run business. 

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Now, some of the salvagers felt that waiting for a ship to get into trouble, even if they helped it along, was just inefficient.  They wanted  to salvage the ship and everything on it before it wrecked.  Now if you did that for a ship that was from your own country, it was called piracy.  But if you did it for a ship from an enemy country it was called privateering and that was a totally legitimate business.  As a matter of fact, many of the great heroes of the British navy were actually privateers and the Bahamas became a major center for the business.  The Spanish would come along and steal the gold from the native American tribes.  They’d put it on their galleons and sail it back to Spain.  As they passed the Bahamas, the English privateers would come out and try and get the gold from the Spanish.  When they got it, the pirates showed up and tried to steal it from the English.  What a business.

The next significant commercial development for the Bahamas came during the War Between The States.  The navy of the north tried to block the major ports of the south.  Bahamian ship owners made great fortunes by running the blockade, bringing in food and military supplies and taking out cotton.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  The end of The War Between The States put an end to the blockade running business.  But, you know, blockade running is a lot like bicycle riding, you can not practice for years and years, then you get back on and your skill level is right there.  When the U.S. federal government passed the 18th Amendment to the Constitution, outlawing the manufacture and consumption of alcoholic beverages, many people along the east coast of the United States who did not agree with that law, and many people who owned boats in the Bahamas began to sing the same song.  “Seems like old times...”


“...Having you to walk with...

Seems like old times,

Having you to talk with,

That is still a thrill,

Just to have my arms around you,

Seems like old times with you...”

BURT WOLF:  The Beatles have nothing to worry about.

GUITARIST:  You hear what he said.

The encouragement of free enterprise has always been part of Bahamian history.  Fortunately, today the Bahamian love of business is manifest in three very acceptable forms: international banking, tourism, and duty-free shopping.

They are a retailer’s seventh heaven and a shopper’s delight.  Ninety percent of the stock is famous brand merchandise.  Cartier.  Fendi.  Christian Lacroix.  Rolex.  Chanel.  Gucci.  Baccarat.  Everything is pre-packed and ready for sale, and ninety percent of the shoppers know just what they want and are ready to make their purchase.  These magical midpoints of marketing are known as duty-free shops.  They are found throughout the world and represent billions of dollars in annual sales.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  The idea of duty-free shopping goes back for thousands of years.  One of the easiest ways for a king to pick up a few extra dollars was to place a tax on luxury goods coming into his country.  That tax was added to the retail price of the product and everybody paid for it.  What we now call an import duty.  One of the easiest ways to avoid the import duty was to do your shopping on the high seas, ship to ship, or maybe on a little island that didn’t have a tax agent.  Eventually the kings decided to let sailors buy luxury goods like tobacco and alcohol, without paying the duty. The theory was that they were going to use those products in an area that was not part of the  king’s territory.   So let’s give ‘em a break. 

The modern duty-free business got started just after World War II, when a duty-free shop was opened at Ireland’s Shannon Airport.  The Irish government did not charge an import duty on the goods that were being sold to the passengers.  And the duty-free shop passed on those savings to the purchaser.  In 1948, airlines began selling duty-free liquor and tobacco onboard their flights.  And today, duty-free shops are found at virtually every international airport, border crossing, cruise ship, international flight, and in port towns where the nation has come to understand how profitable this business can be.

The duty free shops in Nassau are a perfect example of what I mean.  The government has posted a long list of luxury items on which it does not charge a duty.  That savings is passed on to the customer by the duty free shop.  And unlike many countries in which there is so much paperwork that it just doesn’t pay to make a duty free purchase, there is no paper work in Nassau.  Everything happens in the shop.  No madness at the airport.  In general there’s a 25 to 35 percent savings over the prices in North America and Europe.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  But remember, your own country will place a limit on the amount of the duty free stuff you can bring back in.  Governments and duty-free shopping have the same relationship as just about everything else that involves the government.  If they don’t get you coming, they get you going.  Which is better than when they get you coming and going.

The idea of taking a vacation in a warm and sunny spot by the sea goes back for thousands of years.  Ancient documents show that over two thousand years ago, the well-to-do of Rome were heading to the seashore near Naples when they needed a break.  The first person to try and put the Bahamas on the vacation map was a man named Henry Flagler. 

During the 1800s, Flagler had put together the railroads of Florida and the tourist industry that went along with them.  He felt that he could do the same in the Bahamas by setting up the Miami-Nassau steamship line and building a new hotel in Nassau to receive his passengers.  Nice try, but too early.  Neither made enough money to stay in business -- but the idea of making Nassau into a vacation paradise hung on.

During the Roaring Twenties the magnificent private yachts of the great industrialists cruised into Nassau.  The Whitneys, the Vanderbilts, the Astors...   if it floated, and you wanted to flaunt it, Nassau was the place.

And then, in 1940, the ultimate seal of approval for the rich: a royal resident.  The Duke of Windsor, the ex-king of England, became governor of the Bahamas.  He was fashionable.  He was elegant.  He had given up the job of king to marry Wallis Simpson, an American.  He was media perfect.  And the Bahamas became the jewel in the crown of vacation spots.

The island of New Providence may not be at the geographic center of the Bahamas but its capital city of Nassau is clearly the political, economic and tourist hub of the nation.  Much of the architecture is from the 1800s, including the public buildings which were the original structures housing the Court, the Legislature, the Assembly, other government officials and the Post Office.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  One of the things I noticed as I was walking around town is that everybody picks up their mail at the post office.  There is no home delivery which I thought was rather unusual for a totally modern city.  The reason turned out to be very simple.  No one has ever gotten around to numbering the homes and no one wanted to try and deliver mail to unnumbered buildings.  Personally, I don’t get it, but everyone in Nassau gets their mail and that’s what’s important.

The Nassau Public Library was built in 1798 as a prison.  Today it holds a collection of books and photographs that deal with the Bahamas.

That’s Government House; it was built in 1901 as the official residence of the Queen’s representative in the Bahamas.  In front is a statue of Christopher Columbus trying to figure out the right direction for the rest of his trip.

As I mentioned earlier, the first permanent colony of Europeans in the Bahamas came in search of religious freedom, and that is certainly one of the hallmarks of this nation.

This is St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church.  It was built in 1810.

The St. Francis Roman Catholic Church was the first Catholic church built in the Bahamas.  It was constructed in 1885.

The Greek Orthodox Church is rather new.  It was built by the Greek community in the 1930s.  A substantial number of Greeks had come to the Bahamas to set up a natural sponge industry, which unfortunately came to an end as the result of a sponge blight.  The sponges were gone, but the Greeks stayed on to soak up the sun.

The largest church in the Bahamas from the point of view of membership is the Baptist.  And to visit any of their gatherings on a Sunday morning is to see one of the great ritualistic expressions of the love of God.

PIANIST:  And I just want you to worship him this morning, in spirit and in truth.  When we begin to praise him, things begin to happen.  Healing comes to us, deliverance comes to us.  We’re going to praise him this morning. 

CHOIR:  (Singing)

The gospel music that fills Nassau’s Zion Baptist church has its beginnings in the 17th century religions of West Africa.  The tribes believed that there was one High God, a group of less important gods, the spirits of the recently deceased, and the ordinary spirits who had been reincarnated in the newborn.  All of these spirits acted as messengers between this world and the world of the gods.  The best way to get in touch with a messenger was to join in a “ring shout.”  A “ring shout” was a combination of song and dance -- part religious, part secular -- it allowed the group to enter into an altered state of consciousness -- to contact the spirits -- to make confessions and offerings, to ask for help, and to talk to ancestors.

The rhythms, the hand clapping, the calls and responses, the physical closeness of the group during the singing and moving­­, are all part of the tradition of the “ring shout.”

Because these ceremonies were viewed with suspicion by the slave holders of the new world, much of this musical energy was channeled into the church where slaves were able to express themselves more freely.  The Christian God was substituted for the African High God and the African ring dance moved inside the church to became an essential part of black Christian worship.

There’s a good deal of good music in Nassau.  And on a note that is less spiritual than the Zion Baptist Church but just as inspiring, there is something called “rake and scrape.”

EDMUND MOXEY:  The name “rake & scrape” was introduced in the late 60s.  As I boy I knew the music that we now play that we call rake & scrape was called “Goombay.”  Goombay music is a marriage of Africa and Europe.  Goombay from the African word jimbi, which means “big drum.”

The original African inhabitants of the Bahamas arrived without their traditional instruments.  And the trees and the roots that had been used to create the drums were not part of the Bahamian landscape.  So they improvised with the materials that were available.  They took old cans and old barrels and stretched goatskins over an open end.  They weren’t the big drums of Africa, but they were better than nothing. 

The European influence showed up in the instruments used to present the melodies -- the guitar, and the bass, and sometimes an accordion.  The old dances were adapted from European quadrilles and polkas.

The other essential element of rake & scrape is the distinctive percussion.

EDMUND MOXEY:  In Africa they had an instrument called the satchika, which was made out of the bamboo beads.  And we had no bamboo beads.  And as a result, they adapted the common carpenter saw, which we use in place of the bamboo bead instrument.  So you had a combination of the European guitar, the carpenter saw, and the African drum.

As you might expect, while I was in Nassau, I came across a few restaurants I enjoyed.  The first was next to the Nassau Yacht Haven Marina.  It’s called The Poop Deck, and it’s a hangout for local lovers of the sea.  A relaxed, informal spot with a great view of the boats.  They’re famous for their chowder with homemade hot pepper vinegar... Mama Mary’s Steamed Fish, which is actually not steamed, but sautéed and then covered with a sauce made from tomatoes, onions, celery and green peppers.  The side dish is peas and rice.

Down the road a piece is a spot called Sugar Reef.  It describes itself as a “harbourside bar and grill,” which is a perfect description.  The Sugar Reef tables are set out on a pier that juts into the harbor.  And the colorful seascape that surrounds it is matched by the interior decor.  It’s party time! 

Great crab cakes served on a bed of spicy black bean salsa along with avocado and papaya sauces... a grilled jerk pork sandwich with a sweet onion jam... and a side of raisin coleslaw.  And for dessert, an apple tart with cinnamon ice cream.

Next is a kitchen that really cooks for the locals -- it’s a neighborhood spot called Mama Lyddy’s Place.  There’s no name on the outside of the building, but on the inside there’s some very traditional Bahamian home cooking.  That’s Mama Lyddy, and that’s her with the rest of her family.  The building was the family’s original homestead.  It’s at the corner of Cockburn and Market Streets, in an area called Grantstown.  They specialize in cracked conch, which is breaded and deep-fried... grits and peas... and a knockout coconut meringue pie.

Finally, there’s Compass Point -- it’s quite a place.  It has eighteen cottages on the beach... a pool... and one of the most enjoyable restaurants in the Caribbean.  It’s decorated in the style of Junkanoo, which is the annual folk parade of Nassau.

Compass Point was put together by Chris Blackwell, the record producer who introduced Bob Marley, U2, and the Cranberries.

The chef is Richard Haja, and the meal he made for me was pasta and shrimp... grilled lamb chops with guava sauce... and his “accidental goat cheese cake.”

RICHARD HAJA:  We were in the kitchen one day and I was making cheesecake and I had all the ingredients inside the mixing bowl.  We had Philadelphia Cream Cheese as well as the goat cheese and I said to my assistant to put the cheese in.  I figured he knew that I was using the Philadelphia cheese, but it was the goat cheese he put in and as it turned out, we were committed to it because it was the eggs and the vanilla and what have you.  So we just mixed the goat cheese up and went with it and it turned out to be quite a pleasant surprise.  Quite a nice accident.

Sigmund Freud said that there were no accidents, but on the other hand, Freud didn’t know much about cheesecake.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Well, that’s a brief visit to the Bahamas.  I hope you will join us next time as we travel around looking at the history, culture and folklore of some of the world’s great places.  I’m Burt Wolf.

Origins: The Traditions of Hong Kong - #112

Every place in the world has a series of things that give that spot a special character... and make it different from every other place.  When you look at the ORIGINS of these things, you often end up with a better appreciation of the territory -- and that makes it a lot more interesting to visit.  And sometimes, these ORIGINS help us understand why we live the way we do.

Hong Kong is a small island just off the southern coast of the Chinese mainland.  It’s a model of free enterprise.  A bustling metropolis.  And one of the world’s most important financial centers.  But it is also a focal point for traditional Chinese history and culture. Chinese music. Chinese art. Chinese theater. And Chinese food. And that unusual blend of western high-tech with Chinese high-touch has made Hong Kong the most important tourist destination in Asia.  Over ten million visitors come to Hong Kong each year.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Hong Kong is made up of four distinct areas. First of all, there is the original island of Hong Kong that the British took away from the Chinese in 1841.  And right across the harbor is Kowloon, the tip of the mainland which the British took away from the Chinese in 1860 in order to fortify the harbor and protect the British navy.  And right behind Kowloon are the New Territories and surrounding the whole place are 235 out-islands.

The north side of the island of Hong Kong, facing the mainland, is the home of the central business district.  The best way to see the place is to hop on one of the double-decker trams, sit up top and up front and see the city.  But don’t take your tram ride during the morning or evening rush hours.  The traffic is unbearable.

Next -- a ride on the funicular railway to Victoria Peak, the highest spot on Hong Kong island, from both the geographic and social viewpoints.  This is the place to live in Hong Kong.  If you are at the top of your game, you live on the top of the peak.

Hong Kong is also the home of a district called Western.  It was the first place settled by the British in the 1840s, but they soon moved out and left it to the Chinese who were moving in to get work.  Today Western is a typical, colorful, urban Chinese community.  It’s the place to see the most traditional Chinese craftsmen at work. Mahjong set makers.  Chop carvers.  Jade workers.  Fan makers.  Potters.  And eggroll bakers.  It’s also the neighborhood of the Chinese herbalists.

Ladder Street is lined with some of the city’s oldest buildings.  It’s thought to have been constructed with these broad stones in order to make it easier for men carrying people in sedan chairs to make it up and down the hill from Hollywood Road.  The sedan chairs are gone, but Hollywood Road is still here and it’s a great spot for antiques, furniture, snuff bottles, and porcelain.

WINNIE CHAN:  The road is named Hollywood is because the second governor, Sir John Davids, named this road according to have a home in England called Hollywood Tower, so he named this road Hollywood Road. 

BURT WOLF:  So it’s not about movies at all.


BURT WOLF:  It’s about somebody’s garden in England.

WINNIE CHAN:  Yes, that’s right.  When you look at the jade carving, the carving itself is very important.  Even though I give you a piece of best jade, and if you mess up with the carving, it’s not worth much.  You know, the carving itself is very important.

BURT WOLF:  It’s like cutting a diamond.

WINNIE CHAN:  Like cutting a diamond.  Burt, look at this -- a headdress.  Ladies’ one.  The blue one is the enamel, and then the pearls, and then the green one is jade beads.

BURT WOLF:  That’s gotta be for a special occasion.

WINNIE CHAN:  Yeah...Wealthy, wealthy people.

BURT WOLF:  You don’t wear that when you’re shopping.

WINNIE CHAN:  No.  And snuff bottles here.  And different carving, and colors, and all that.

BURT WOLF:  More lions.

WINNIE CHAN:  Yes, that’s right.

BURT WOLF:  Keep out those evil spirits.

WINNIE CHAN:  Oh look!  Here, a huge basket.  In olden times, the groom... the bride’s family carried the dowry to the groom’s home and they put everything in it...

BURT WOLF:  Silks and...

WINNIE CHAN:, and money, and gold, and all that.  Lunch.

BURT WOLF:  Lunch?  Did someone say lunch?

The island of Hong Kong is also the site of Wanchai, known also as the “Wanch,” and it’s home to one of Hong Kong’s great markets.


WINNIE CHAN:  Right, Burt, this is one of the oldest Chinese bakeries.  And you can see, first of all you can see all of these colored ones on the top there.  Those are all the wedding cakes.

BURT WOLF:  You give those to someone who’s having a wedding...


BURT WOLF:  ...or you get served that at a wedding?

WINNIE CHAN:  Well, give it away, it’s a sort of announcement, especially, it’s given out by the bride’s family to say that my daughter is marrying out now...

BURT WOLF:  Do the colors mean anything special?

WINNIE CHAN:  Oh, yes, these are all the lucky colors, you know, yellow is represent wealth and power; pink, basically, red is happiness, you know.  And they have very different stuffing inside.

BURT WOLF:  So if I get one of those, it’s somebody telling me that their daughter is getting married?

WINNIE CHAN:  You don’t normally get one.  You normally have a set. 

BURT WOLF:  Oh, I get a whole set...

WINNIE CHAN: Yes, yes...

BURT WOLF:  Oh, that’s very nice...

WINNIE CHAN:  Yeah...that’s right.

BURT WOLF:  Beats those little cards.

WINNIE CHAN:  Yeah, that’s right.

Hong Kong’s commitment to its Chinese heritage is expressed throughout the society.  The population continues to take part in all of the traditional Chinese holidays and follows the customs associated with paying respect to ancient gods and ancestors. This is the Man Mo Temple.  It was built in the early 1840s.

WINNIE CHAN:  First of all, we come to this very beautiful door.  And years ago when very important people would go through the door...

BURT WOLF:  Ah, so the rich and famous go through the door, the rest of us go around it.

WINNIE CHAN:  That’s right, the rest of us go around it.

BURT WOLF:  Ah ha, okay.

WINNIE CHAN:  The temple is for Man and Mo, two gods.  And the civil god controls the destiny of the civil servant.  And Mo, it’s actually marshal and we also named him the god of the war.  First of all we’re going to get some incense and then we do bison [sic], that means worship the gods. 

BURT WOLF:  Let’s get some incense.

WINNIE CHAN:  Right.  The money in the donation box and I’ll just help myself to have a pack of incense.  That’s always come in three sets, three sticks in one set.


WINNIE CHAN:  It represent the heaven, the universe and the hell.  Once you offer, you offer to God, human being and evil spirit...

BURT WOLF:  Three levels...

WINNIE CHAN:  Three levels... so come around here...

BURT WOLF:  Is there different power for the different sizes?

WINNIE CHAN:  Well, of course, the biggest one is the better one...

BURT WOLF:  Well, looks like I’m in deep trouble already....

WINNIE CHAN:  Okay, now, communication with God is a private matter.  So, you have a question, doubt in your mind, you bow and you say your prayer.  You don’t have to sing out, you just say it to yourself, and then, whatever wishes you want.  And after you finish your prayer, you can put the incense on here...

BURT WOLF:  And I bow three times?

WINNIE CHAN:  Well, uh, any, any, it’s not necessary...

BURT WOLF:  Depending on how much I have to ask....

WINNIE CHAN:  That’s right...

BURT WOLF:  Okay...

WINNIE CHAN:  Okay, I just want to show to you there are different incense about us and if some of the family, people, worshippers want to have a blessing they normally burn a bigger one.  One of these big ones last for two weeks.

BURT WOLF:  So these circular ones are incense....


BURT WOLF:  And you light the end and it slowly burns around.  For two weeks? 

WINNIE CHAN:  The big one is for two weeks, all right, and the smaller one maybe ten days and you normally write your wish, happiness, successful business, write it on the red tag underneath it, yeah...

BURT WOLF:  So that will burn there for all of those days expressing that wish for the family.

WINNIE CHAN:  That’s right.

BURT WOLF:  I’ve never seen incense like that, that’s very interesting....

WINNIE CHAN:  Yes, yes, very different, very different.  Okay, well, the last, last not the least, last things we put a bit of donation in it, and you can drum, and the bell, and that will bring us good luck.

BURT WOLF:  I put the donation into here...

WINNIE CHAN:  Right...put the donation in...

BURT WOLF:  And then I take this three times...

WINNIE CHAN:  Yeah...And the bell...

BURT WOLF:  That ought to do it!

WINNIE CHAN:  Right, you will have a fortune year coming...and then...

BURT WOLF:  That’s it?

WINNIE CHAN:  That’s right.

Across the harbor from the island of Hong Kong is Kowloon, which is on the mainland of China.  The distance is only a mile and you can cover it by car in the harbor tunnel, but the most interesting way to make the passage is on the Star Ferry.  These ferries have been running up and back on Hong Kong harbor since 1898, and these days they run every few minutes.  And at 25 cents per ride it’s one of the best transportation deals in the world.

The word Kowloon means “nine dragons.”  The folklore that goes along with the name tells the story of a boy emperor in the Sung dynasty who was forced to this tip of land by the invading Mongols.  While he lived here, he noticed that the peninsula had eight hills.   He called them the eight dragons.  An adviser to the emperor pointed out that an emperor was also a dragon and so he included himself and called the place “nine dragons,” Kowloon.

Kowloon has a land surface of only three square miles, but it’s the center of Hong Kong’s “shoppers’ paradise.”  The place to start is at the Chinese Arts and Crafts Store in Star House.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  In China, tea is very important, but the equipment that the tea is made in is just as important.  Particularly the pot. 

Now this is the jade department.  Jade is very important in Chinese culture because jade is thought to have the power to lengthen your life and to keep away evil spirits.  When you’re buying jade, if you’re lucky enough to be doing that someday, you want to look for jade that has a deep green color and the color should be very even.  Here are two pieces.  Here’s a really deep green color, looks great, even.  This one is bigger, but less expensive because it doesn’t have the depth of color and it’s not even.  I guess you’ve got to assume that the deeper the color the more expensive the jade, the more evil spirits it will keep away. 

This is the department of traditional Chinese clothing, it’s ready to wear, I mean, the clothing’s ready to wear.  I’m not sure that I’m ready to wear it.  Dresses look fine --certainly would fit in any western wardrobe.  Red’s a very important color.  It means good luck.  And I think all of the women’s clothing here is nice.  The men’s clothing, it’s a little trickier.  This is a traditional men’s garment, it looks very comfortable.  I’m not exactly sure where I would wear it.  And I’m afraid that if I wore it once, it’s so recognizable, they’d know it when I wore it a second time.  They have an area where they reproduce the clothing of the emperors.  Very nice.  Only emperors were allowed to wear gold, so they wore it as often as possible.  This is actually an ensemble, you have the whole outside garment, those are the boots and the belts that go with it and the hat.  Hat’s very important, it’s a big deal emperor’s hat.  You wear it like this.  The tail in the back spins you into the wind.  If you’re an emperor it’s important to know which way the wind is blowing.  I can also wear it this way, it’s a fabulous fly-swatter during the summer or in southern countries, and, as a triple threat it works as a wonderful salad bowl which you can then move around the table with this end.  I always like multi-function things you know.

And then there’s The Golden Mile on Nathan Road.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  The third area making up greater Hong Kong  is known as The New Territories, and it’s just up the peninsula from Kowloon.  And though it isn’t visited very often by tourists, its worth the half hour trip just to take a look at the nightly fish market in the small town of Sam Tung.  And finally, there are the Outlying Islands, a good place to see what this area actually has looked like for the past six thousand years.

Observers of the Hong Kong scene are quick to describe the community as addicted to commerce.  But the real addiction for the people of Hong Kong is Mahjong. Mahjong is a board game played by Chinese all over the world.  It originated during the Sung Dynasty about a thousand years ago.  In the beginning it was played with cards but these days small tiles are used.  Chinese characters are engraved on the blocks and the game is similar to gin rummy.  Get your matching suits together and get out.  Each player also has a pack of one hundred betting chips which are assigned a value by the players. Millions of dollars change hands at Hong Kong mahjong games each year.  It’s a game that is noisy, fast and, to the eyes of a westerner, a bit aggressive.  It is sometimes used to test the strength and intelligence of a newcomer to a group, a new employee, a merger partner, or a prospective bridegroom.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  I learned about Mah-Jong when I was six years old.  I have no idea why, but every Thursday night my mother and three of her friends would play Mah-Jong.  The game wasn’t particularly important to me but on Mah-Jong nights she would serve a bowl of chocolate-covered raisins, a big bowl, and that made Mah-Jong special.  Now these ladies play a far superior game to anything that went on in my mother’s house, but they only serve tea.  It’s just not the same for me.

Hong Kong is a wealthy city.  It has the world’s third-highest per capita gross national product.  It has the largest gold reserves in Asia.  It has the largest per capita ownership of Rolls Royce cars.  It also has an appetite that goes along with its assets. Hong Kong is the world’s largest importer of cognac.  It is one of the world’s leading consumers of protein.  And it has the world’s highest per capita ratio of restaurants.  In Hong Kong, there is one restaurant for every eight hundred people.  Whatever it is that you want to eat or drink, this town will get it for you.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):   But when all of the fads and fashions of international gastronomy have been pushed off to the back burner where they belong, and it’s time to settle down to some good eating and drinking, Hong Kong’s heart is Chinese and Hong Kong is home to some of the best Chinese cooking in the world.

The majority of the people who live in this city are of Cantonese heritage, and Canton is a part of China with an ancient reputation for good food.  The Cantonese kitchen is based on fresh foods of high quality that are prepared in ways that preserve their original appearance and natural flavors.

Barbecued meats... minced beef and egg flower soup... crabmeat and sweet corn soup... steamed shrimp... pan-fried boneless chicken with lemon sauce... baked salted chicken... sautéed diced chicken with chili... grouper filet with a sweet corn sauce... and broccoli with crabmeat.

These are the kitchens of Hong Kong’s Regent Hotel.  The executive chef is Cheung Kam Chuen, and today he’s going to prepare a couple of traditional Cantonese recipes.  The first is a dish of chicken with asparagus and macadamia nuts.

Vegetable oil goes into a wok, and as soon as it’s hot, a cup of macadamia nuts are added and sautéed for a minute... then drained.  Next a cup of sliced asparagus is sautéed for a minute and drained.  Then a cup of sliced carrots are blanched in water -- and drained!  The wok is cleaned... fresh oil goes in... and as soon as it’s hot, a cup’s worth of chicken is cooked and drained.  The chicken is skinless and boneless, and has been cut into bite-size pieces and marinated in an egg white for ten minutes before it arrived at the wok.  The chicken returns to the wok... a few slices of scallion... some minced garlic... a teaspoon of cornstarch that has been dissolved in a little water, and a little hoi-sin sauce goes in.  Then the rest of the ingredients return to the wok, heat up, and get plated.  The chef has a plating assistant who stands by to make sure that everything sits on the plate properly.  Ahhh, what luxury.

Next, the assistant will be plating the chef’s recipe for stir-fried beef with vegetables.  A cup of water and a little sesame oil are heated in a wok.  A cup of celery slices are added.  Then a cup of carrot slices.  Thirty seconds of blanching and both ingredients are drained.  Some oil goes into the wok, followed by a cup of sliced beef.  The beef is stir-fried for a minute and then drained from the oil.  This recipe is quite draining!  Some minced ginger goes into the wok.  The beef returns, a little chopped garlic, and the vegetables return.  As soon as everything is hot, the dish is ready to serve.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):   But of all the gastronomic contributions of the Cantonese, perhaps the most significant is dim sum. Dim sum translates as “a point on the heart” or “touching the heart.”  And what does the touching is a collection of small foods designed to be taken with tea.

The best way to experience this tradition is to visit a restaurant that specializes in dim sum.  This the Ocean City restaurant in the New World Center, and it is one of the world’s great presenters of dim sum.  A dim sum restaurant should be huge, well lit, packed with eaters, noisy and somewhat chaotic.  Carts carrying steam baskets and dishes of food are wheeled around the tables by women.  Each basket or dish contains a particular food.  As they move through the restaurant, they describe the food on their trolley.  The diners yell for what they want, and the servers serve.  Each dish has a specific price, and each table has a card.  Your card is stamped for each dish that you take.  At the end of the meal, the waiter adds up the stamps and you find out what your meal cost.  You can eat as much or as little as you like.  But if you want to eat dim sum at its best, it’s important to get to the restaurant early.  If the place opens at noon, try and be there about fifteen minutes before.  The food will be at its point of perfection and you will get a table for the first round of service.  The later you come in, the more limited the selection.  Dim sum is at its most magnificent on Sunday morning, when it is a traditional family meal... a gastronomic bedlam, and lots of fun.

Sunday Morning in a Hong Kong family-style restaurant is the real stuff -- authentic Chinese food in a traditional setting, which is not always easy to find in a city that is continually modernizing itself.  There is, however, at least one more bit of genuine Chinese gastronomy that you might want to experience, and that is the night market on Temple Street.  Temple Street is just off the Golden Mile of international shops on Nathan Road, and the joint starts jumpin’ about 7 PM.  The street is free of automobile traffic and lined with food shops.  The authoritative technique for selecting a shop is to head towards the one that appears to be doing the most business.  I have used this system in a number of Asian street markets with considerable success.  My total inability to speak Cantonese has not been a barrier to good eating.  I point to what I want and it gets cooked for me.  Cooked is the operative word in this relationship.  These days, eating raw food, anywhere in the world, is like playing Russian roulette.  It’s just a question of time ‘til you get hit.  Properly cooked food is usually safe food.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  The offerings on Temple Street may be a bit uneven, but the experience is always interesting.  And if you have found this experience interesting, I hope you will join us next time, as we travel around the world.  I’m Burt Wolf.

Origins: Palm Beach County - #111

Every place in the world has a series of things that give that spot a special character... and make it different from every other place.  When you look at the ORIGINS of these things, you often end up with a better appreciation of the territory -- and that makes it a lot more interesting to visit.  And sometimes, these ORIGINS help us understand why we live the way we do.

Palm Beach County sits on the east coast of Florida, about sixty miles north of Miami. Its beaches run along side the Gulfstream, which comes up from the Caribbean and gives the area the only semi-tropical climate in the continental U.S. -- mild temperatures in the winter, refreshing breezes in the summer. The location was developed during the early years of this century as a playground for the rich.  If you were rolling in money you could come to Palm Beach and roll in the sand -- or perhaps in the hay.  The man behind the blossoming of Palm Beach was Henry Morrison Flagler.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Henry Flagler was the industrialist who built the railroads that opened up Florida during the early years of this century.  He had a number of interesting strategies for getting people to come down and live along side his railroad, but for me the most interesting was his plan to get a group of Japanese to leave Japan, come here and recreate their home village in what is now Palm Beach County.

In 1903, Flagler encouraged a group of Japanese farmers to come to Florida and raise pineapples.  For twenty years they struggled with their farms.  But when the Florida real estate boom of the 1920s arrived, they gave up and sold their land.  There was, however, one colonist who remained.  His name was George Morikami and he worked in his fields until his death in 1976.  He also amassed a considerable amount of land and became quite prosperous.

Near the end of his long life, he donated two hundred acres to Palm Beach County to be used to honor the memory of the original colony and to build a cultural bridge between his two homelands.  Today, it’s known as The Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens.  The park has a pine forest, waterfalls, and lakes inhabited by golden carp, turtles and cranes.  In Japanese folklore each of these animals is associated with long life and good fortune.

There’s a traditional Bonsai garden.  Bonsai is a technique that allows the grower to produce a miniature version of a tree or plant.  The park also has an example of the dry Japanese gardens that are made from stones and sand.  Complex to design properly, but just my kind of garden when it comes to upkeep.  I like anything that can be fully maintained by vacuuming.

Morikami also has a series of exhibition galleries with Japanese artifacts, crafts and toys... A teahouse where a tea master demonstrates the ancient art of the Japanese Tea Ceremony... A cafe with excellent Japanese food... and a museum shop that’s about to get all my per-diem expense money.

The museum also presents a series of classes where traditional Japanese arts are taught.  Central to the art of Japanese flower arranging is the ordering of nature -- taking simple things and making them very important, a technique that was often used by the people who originally built Palm Beach.  Take, for instance, the story of Paris Singer.

Paris Singer was one of the seventeen illegitimate children of Isaac Singer, the founder of the Singer sewing machine company.  He was also a member of the Palm Beach crowd.  Paris had a pal named Addison Mizner who was living in New York and in bad health.  Singer convinced Mizner that he could regain his health by moving to Palm Beach.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Mizner had come from a prominent California pioneering family.  His father had been a U.S. Ambassador to South America, and Addison grew up living the good life.  He had been a decorator who worked with successful architects, a real estate developer, a painter, a collector of rare antiques, he had also been a successful gold miner and a boxer.  Let me tell you, Palm Beach County was his kind of place.

He showed up just as one of Florida’s land booms was getting underway and he soon became a very popular architectural decorator.  Singer and Mizner lived it up in Palm Beach while building it up for Mizner’s clients.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Mizner was actually not the perfect architect.  It appears that his memory for detail was sometimes impaired and he would forget little things -- like the kitchen in a huge mansion.  What can I tell you?  Mizner had a lot on his mind, and in 1925 he decided to do his own thing and he built The Cloister Inn.

Which is now known as the Boca Raton Resort and Club.  The Mizner style is all over the place and it’s great.  He loved Spanish architecture, gardens, Moorish fountains, antique furniture.  The present owners love golf, croquet, tennis and the beach.  But they’ve been able to keep the Mizner feeling throughout.  When you want to go from the original Cloister property to the new resort on the beach, they run a beautiful little boat up and back every ten minutes.  And in the tradition of Boca, they love good food.

Let me introduce James Reaux, the executive chef.  Today he’s going to prepare a pecan-crusted chicken breast.  James starts with a skinless chicken breast with almost all the bones removed.  The wingbone stays in but only because James thinks it makes a better presentation -- and it does.  The chicken is painted with a light coating of mustard... then a little salt and pepper.  A cup of bread crumbs and a cup of roasted, chopped pecans are mixed together.  The chicken is dipped into the breadcrumb and pecan mixture to give it a nutty crust.  A tablespoon of vegetable oil is heated in a sauté pan.  The chicken goes in and cooks for thirty seconds on one side and a minute on the other.  Then into a 350-degree oven for ten minutes.

James makes a salsa as follows.  A ripe banana is peeled and sliced -- that’s about a cup’s worth.  That goes into a bowl, followed by a half cup of red bell pepper that’s been diced... then a half cup of yellow bell pepper, also diced.  A teaspoon of chopped fresh cilantro... a half of a jalepeño pepper, coarsely chopped... then the juice of a fresh lime.  Then a tablespoon of light brown sugar goes in.  A little salt and a little black pepper.  A little mixing and into the refrigerator to rest for an hour.  Now it’s time to plate.  A tower of mashed potatoes goes onto the center of the dish... then the chicken... the salsa... and a simple abstract sculpture made from fried strips of banana and scallions. Art you can eat.

And now a little more art, but this time it feeds your soul.

Palm Beach County is the home of the Norton Museum of Art, which is considered to be the finest museum of art in the state.  It was founded in 1941 by Ralph Norton.  Norton had been the head of the Acme Steel Company in Chicago.  When he retired to Palm Beach he decided to use his personal collection as the basis of a public museum.  The museum now contains representative works of the French Impressionists and the Post-Impressionists -- including Cezanne, Matisse, Monet, Renoir and Gauguin. The American art from 1900 to the present features works by Hopper, O’Keefe, Motherwell, Pollock and George Bellows.  There’s also a very interesting collection of Chinese work, including ancient bronze, jade and ceramics.

DAVID SETFORD:   This is a great painting by Picasso from 1924, and here you have a table with... It’s called The Red Foulard.  This is the foulard, or a scarf, printed scarf with a pattern printed on it.  And here you see a bowl with fruit in it and a guitar and of course Picasso was so keen on music, because he felt that all the senses -- music, visual art, and sound, and everything went together, and that’s what I think he was trying to evoke in a painting like this -- everything at the same time.  The joys of all the senses, and as I say, I think, I feel that you could actually lick this painting it’s so gorgeous -- the paint work is so luscious.  It’s creamy like one of those wonderful icings you get on some cakes.

Well, this one’s by Robert Delaunay who was living in Paris around the same time as Picasso and people thought he was a cubist but you can tell he wasn’t a cubist because it’s not all angles.  In fact, he developed this language, this artistic language based on orbs, you know.  These orbs.

BURT WOLF:  An orbist.

DAVID SETFORD:  That’s right.  But at this point in 1916, he was in Portugal having a really wonderful holiday in Portugal.  And this is a memory of one of his breakfasts...

BURT WOLF:  Breakfast?

DAVID SETFORD:  In Portugal.  Here’s his dressing gown, bottom left-hand corner. 

BURT WOLF:  Watermelon.

DAVID SETFORD:  Wonderful watermelon with a slice taken out of it that you can imagine him eating.

BURT WOLF:  Seeded watermelon.

DAVID SETFORD:  Seeded watermelon.

BURT WOLF:  Poor guy.


BURT WOLF:  Pears...

DAVID SETFORD:  ...and probably small oranges...

BURT WOLF:  Right.  Or really old eggs.

DAVID SETFORD:  Or really, really rancid eggs.

BURT WOLF:  Do you think that there’s a particular group of painters that painted more food than others?  Did the French paint more food than the Spanish or the Americans, or different periods...?

DAVID SETFORD:  Well, I think the French love food.  And I think that the French painters around the turn of the century and the early twentieth century -- because they had this thing about one sense building off the other sense; they love to get food into the paint and actually some of the actual paintwork is actually delicious and you get the feeling you could almost eat it.

BURT WOLF:  So the French general love of food carries on into their art.

DAVID SETFORD:  Carries on into their art, yes.

This work is by Gustave Courbet, about 1871 to 2, one of the great realist painters of France and look at those fabulous fruit you feel you could really pick those up off the bowl.  Now, the funny thing was, that at the time Courbet -- wasn’t that funny, he was in prison!

BURT WOLF:   For his paintings?

DAVID SETFORD:  No, actually politically.  He’d been imprisoned after the fall of Napoleon the Third because he was suspected to have engineered the mob that pulled down the Napoleonic column in the Place Van Dome in Paris.  And apparently he hadn’t, but anyway they threw him in prison, and he was languishing in prison, dying of starvation because he loved to eat.  He did a wonderful job, I think, of these very tactile fruit, but sometimes he didn’t even have a canvas to paint on, so sometimes he had to paint on his palette like you see over there, and there’s a Courbet painting...

BURT WOLF:   Wow!  On a palette.

DAVID SETFORD:  On his palette.  Painted at the same time in prison.

When Renaissance artists like Michaelangelo or Leonardo Da Vinci were working on a big painting or a wall fresco, they would start by sketching the work out on a large piece of paper. The full-scale drawings were made in the artist’s studio, then taken to the wall to be painted and held up against the surface as a pattern. The large pieces of paper were known as cartone, which is where our word cartoon comes from.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):   During the middle of the 1800’s England was very busy building a new palace for its Houses of Parliament.  Prince Albert, who was married to Queen Victoria, thought it would be nice to cover the inside walls with frescos -- and so he held a competition.  When everybody got a look at what had been sent in, it was apparent that the fresco had fallen on evil times.  The stuff was terrible.  A magazine called Punch decided to make fun of the entire affair, and they published a series of drawings called Punch’s Cartoons.  That stuff was very funny, and everybody got a kick out of it.  Within weeks, the word cartoon came into the English language with its present meaning.

This is the International Museum of Cartoon Art and it is located in Boca Raton, Florida.  Its collection is the largest in the world, with over 170,000 works on paper, 10,000 books, and a thousand hours of animated film.  There are comic strips, comic books, editorial cartoons, and sports cartoons.  And some cartoons I take very personally.

BURT WOLF:  So you had the first cartoon to go underneath the North Pole...

MORT WALKER:  I also had the first cartoon that was faxed, over a fax machine...

The museum was originally set up through the efforts of Mort Walker.  Mort is the creator of one of the most popular cartoon characters of the 20th Century -- Beetle Bailey.

BURT WOLF:   What’s your definition of a cartoon?

MORT WALKER:  It’s a very simple drawing that capsulizes a human event.   I like to think of it as a universal experience that everybody has had that the cartoonist takes and crystallizes it and comments on it and brings it to the reader with a minimal effort so they all understand, and they say “That happened to me!”

BURT WOLF:   Do you have to be able to draw?

MORT WALKER:  Well, sometimes it hurts the cartoonist...I always advise people not to take art lessons, because how could you draw an arm like Popeye if you’re familiar with anatomy? You know?  You can’t do it.

Well, the greatest thing about being a cartoonist is that you don’t have to dress, you don’t have to get out into the elements and go to work or drive a car and face traffic -- you just work right at home, you work in your shorts, you can eat when you want to, you can take naps when you want to... The only difficult part about it is that you’re lying there in your Barca-Lounge chair, with a piece of paper in front of you, staring at the ceiling, and you try and convince people that you’re working!  And they come in and they say, “Would you take out the garbage?”  “I’m sorry, I’m busy --”   “You’re busy like fun you are, you’re just staring at the ceiling!”  But then, the greatest thrill is to be with a blank piece of paper and you take your pencil and you get an idea and you write it down and you realize, “That idea didn’t exist before.  Anywhere.”  And you created it.  And it may live for two, three hundred years -- there are cartoons here in this museum that are a hundred, hundred and fifty years old and people are still laughing at ‘em.  And that’s the greatest thrill.  Laughter is good for the whole body, you know?  I just cut this out of the paper this morning, from Ann Landers.  It says, “Nobody says you must laugh, but a sense of humor can help you overlook the unattractive, tolerate the unpleasant, cope with the unexpected, and smile through the unbearable.”

It may look like just another orange grove in Palm Beach, Florida, but it is considered to be the site of a new industry.  It’s called Agratourism, and it combines farming and tourism, and Palm Beach is the perfect place for it to get started.  At the Callery-Judge citrus groves an old-fashion tram takes you on a tour of a four thousand acre grove.  And Stan Bronson makes it pretty interesting.

STAN BRONSON:  We have approximately 485,000 trees here at Callery-Judge; we have six varieties of grapefruit and eleven different varieties of specialty-type fruits, such as navel oranges, many different types of tangerines -- right here we’re entering into a block that was planted in 1965.  It is a combination of temple oranges and Orlando tangeloes.  Most people don’t realize what the tangeloes are, but they’re hybrids between two different varieties.  It was developed in 1937 by the USDA, and it was a combination of tangerines and grapefruit.  Most people don’t realize that.  Most people think it’s a combination of tangerine and oranges. ... In the case of grapefruit, if you do a blindfold test you’ll find that the color of grapefruit really makes no difference because they’re chemically identical inside.  And there is really no difference between the sweetness of white grapefruit and red grapefruit -- they are the same.  But our eyes play tricks on us, because of the fact that when we see that red color we think, “Wow, that must be really sweet!”  And it really has nothing to do with the sugar level inside.

BURT WOLF:   It’s that old line -- “You eat with your eyes.”

STAN BRONSON:  You sure do, you sure do.  When you’re in the supermarket, the first thing that you should look for is -- obviously, being prejudiced, coming from Florida!  Another thing you should look for is flatness, especially in grapefruit.  The flatter the fruit, generally the thinner the skin.  And so that’s one thing to look for, is flatness in the fruit. 

BURT WOLF:   So I’m not gonna look for a round one, I’m looking for one with a flat top and a flat bottom.

STAN BRONSON:  Flat top and flat bottom, especially on grapefruit.  Now, you won’t see that on oranges, but on grapefruit you will.  Another thing to look for is a very smooth texture on the skin, and that’s going to make a -- generally, the smoother the texture of the skin, the less peel that you have, so the more juice you’re gonna have in the fruit.

Palm Beach County is also the home of the PGA National Resort and Spa.  No one’s quite sure when golf got started, but we know that during the 1400s the Dutch played a game they called kolf, which means “club” or “stick.”  But they played it on frozen canals.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  At the same time, the Scots were playing a game that is clearly the ancestor to modern golf.  It became so popular, that in 1457 King James II and the Scottish Parliament sent out a proclamation forbidding people to play the game.  The king felt it was taking people away from archery, a skill that was essential to the survival of the nation.  Of course, the Scots kept right on playing, and they played on little grassy hills by the sea called “links”  -- a word that is still used to describe a golf course.

The PGA National Resort and Spa is clearly designed to meet the obvious needs of the golfer, with courses and classes and equipment shops.

The spa has also addressed the physical needs of the golfer in other ways, and some of them are rather unusual. The spa has a collection of pools called the Relaxing Waters Of The World.  They import famous healing salts from all over and add them to their pools.  This one is a flotation pool with salts from the Pyrenees.  Lots of calcium, potassium and magnesium.  And this one contains mineral salts from the Dead Sea. Seawater normally contains 3.4 percent salt.  Dead Sea water contains 27 percent salt.  So if mineral baths are your thing, the Dead Sea is the liveliest.

The resort has also developed a spa cuisine called “Florasian,” which is a cross between the foods of Florida and the foods of Asia.  It’s low in fat, low in salt, low in calories, but fortunately it’s high in taste.

Clearly, the PGA National Resort and Spa is a great destination if you’re looking to play a big game of golf.  But what if you’re searching for just Big Game?

Safari is an Arabic word that means “trip.”  It was originally brought into the English language to describe a hunting expedition to East Africa.  The primary objective of the safari was big game hunting, but almost all the hunters were charged with additional responsibilities that were political, commercial and scientific.  Many of them were sent out by the British Royal Geographic Society.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Now if you love wild animals and the sensation of being on safari, but you like to have that feeling in the comfort of your own air-conditioned automobile, which, quite frankly, is much more my style, then I recommend to you a visit to the 500 acres of the Lion Country Safari in Palm Beach County.

FRED VOLPE:  To the left here we have our spider monkeys from South America...

Fred Volpe is on the staff, and he makes it interesting and fun.

FRED VOLPE:  Now this section here is Lake Nocaru and in Africa it’s home to your East African Crowned Cranes, known for its bright plumage.

BURT WOLF:  Great hair.  It’s got Don King’s hair.

FRED VOLPE:  And also they’re noted for their mating rituals where they hoot, they jump, they dance around their mate.

BURT WOLF:  Ah, like my kids.  Same mating ritual.

FRED VOLPE:  Of course we have our flamingoes.  And they get their color from their diet.

BURT WOLF:  Which is?

FRED VOLPE:  Well, shrimp.

BURT WOLF:  So they’re that color because they eat the shrimp shells.

FRED VOLPE:  Beta carotene -- same thing found in carrots -- and if they didn’t they’d just be another white bird.

BURT WOLF:  Amazing.

FRED VOLPE:  And now we’re getting ready to come into the Serengeti Plain which is home to most of our animals.

BURT WOLF:  And some ostriches.  Do they really stick their head in the sand when they’re afraid of something?

FRED VOLPE:  Oh no.  Not at all.  These animals are nine-foot tall, three hundred and fifty pounds, and they can deliver a very swift kick with their feet.  They’re almost prehistoric looking.  One ostrich egg can hold a quart of water, and nomadic tribes used to use those as canteens.  The first canteens.

BURT WOLF:  Must make a heck of an omelet, too.

FRED VOLPE:  And now we’re entering our state-of-the-art “elephant pad.”

BURT WOLF:   Lions afraid of elephants?

FRED VOLPE:  Lions will not attack an elephant.  And if they’re at a watering hole, they will wait.  They can weigh ten to twelve thousand pounds; they’re eating machines; and they’re very intelligent animals.  And of course you can tell they’re African elephants because their ears are shaped like the continent of Africa.  Their tusks alone can weigh...

BURT WOLF:    Wait, wait...That’s very interesting.  You can tell that they’re African elephants because their ears are shaped like the continent of Africa.  That’s right!  Isn’t that amazing?  Rhinos!  They really look prehistoric!

FRED VOLPE:  They’ve been on the planet for fifty million years.  Though they weigh eight thousand pounds, these animals can run close to twenty-five miles an hour, and they can turn on a dime.

BURT WOLF:   They just don’t care about the cars!  I love this!

FRED VOLPE:  They’re very content.

BURT WOLF:   They know who’s in charge -- them!  Here kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty...

FRED VOLPE:  Breakfast is being served -- meat.  Of course, the female is the most aggressive and does most of the hunting and mostly runs the pride.  Though these animals weigh three to five hundred pounds, they could run sixty miles an hour for about a quarter to a half a mile, and these animals can leap about twenty feet and usually they break the neck of their prey before they even hit the ground.

BURT WOLF:   I probably get a better look at the animals here than I would if I went to Africa.

FRED VOLPE:  Yes.  If you go to Africa and you see a pride of lions, you’re surely not going to see any of the species in that area.  And we’ve been here now for thirty years; last year we did 465,000 people drove through the Lion Country.  I guarantee you always see something different.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  I couldn’t leave Lion Country without telling you my favorite Safari joke.  It’s about these two guys who were out on Safari, and suddenly they notice a hungry lion heading for them.  First guy jumps up and starts to run.  Second guy starts to look around, pick out the shoes he would like to run in, pick out a shirt that would look good.  First guy yells back “Come on, Harry!  We gotta out-run the lion!”  And Harry answers, “No, I just gotta out-run you.”  I, on the other hand, have no intention of out-running you, because you are my audience and without you I am nothing.  So I hope you will stick with me and join me next time as we travel around the world

looking at the ORIGINS of the things that surround us.  I’m Burt Wolf.

Origins: The Abaco Islands - #110

Every place in the world has a series of things that give that spot a special character... and make it different from every other place.  When you look at the ORIGINS of these things, you often end up with a better appreciation of the territory -- and that makes it a lot more interesting to visit.  And sometimes, these ORIGINS help us understand why we live the way we do.

When some of the British colonies in North America decided to declare their independence from the king of England and form the United States of America, not everybody in the colonies agreed with that decision. Many people remained loyal to His Majesty, and when the American Revolutionary War was over they left the colonies. Some went back to England, some went to the island of Jamaica, thousands went to Canada, and six hundred came here to the island of Abaco in the Bahamas.

The Abaco Loyalists came from New York, showed up in 1783, and settled in a spot called Treasure Cay. Their dream was to set up a self-sufficient township for the families that had remained loyal to the king of England.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  They were soon joined by a group of settlers that came in from Harbour Island, which is just to the south of here.  The Harbour Islanders were descendants of groups of people that had come about 150 years before from England.  At first, I thought the Harbour Islanders had arrived to support their follow royalists, to share their belief in the rights of kings, to stand shoulder to shoulder in their vision of Great Britain.  But on further investigation, I found out that the Harbour Islanders showed up because they thought the Loyalist girls were real cute.

The Abacos are a group of islands in the Atlantic Ocean about two hundred miles northeast of Miami, Florida.  Treasure Cay is still here and the inhabitants are still loyal.  However, their present loyalty is directed toward vacationing tourists.

There is no central township for The Abacos. Each island in the group has its own focus and the residents are connected by a series of ferries. Flights into Abaco usually land at Marsh Harbour, from which you can take a ferry to Hope Town.

Hope Town is a picturesque little village inhabited by three hundred and fifty descendants of the original loyalists.

SCHOOLCHILDREN:  “Loyalists, where did you come from?  On your way to Abaco in the sun.  Yea, this was their destiny, all that came, came to be free.  Looking for a nice place to be, in Abaco Islands, especially Hope Town.  When they landed, they found a yard, to settle down was not that hard.  Yea, this was their destiny, all that came, came to be free.  Looking for a nice place to be, in Abaco Islands, especially Hope Town.”

Most families have a place where they store the stuff from their past.  Photographs of deceased relatives... presents that you don’t want but you had better have out at family gatherings... things that have been around so long you don’t even know what they are any more... The residents of Hope Town have actually taken a house and turned it into a collective attic for the community.  It’s called the Wayannie Malone Historical Museum. It’s a great idea. You can get the old stuff out of your house and instead of feeling guilty, you feel a sense of generosity for having made a donation to a historic museum. I love this place.

PEGGY THOMPSON:  One of my favorite things in the museum is a beautiful little vase, and back in the olden days you were a wrecker just like you were a doctor or a lawyer and you would salvage ships that wrecked on the many reefs around Hope Town.  And you had to turn it all over to the government legally, but this one lady who really liked this pretty vase -- as much as I like it -- hid it in her baby’s cradle, so when the inspector came, he couldn’t find it and she got to keep it in her house in Hope Town.

I also like the archaeological dig that they did here in 1991.  We don’t have any source of fresh water here, so we have to dig cisterns to store rainwater, and when somebody was digging a cistern they found a skeleton.  Turns out it was of a Lucayan Indian, and all of the schoolchildren got to come down and did a proper archaeological dig.  And all of the remains and other things that went with it, some tools and stuff are in the museum.  And that’s another one I like.

Down the road is the Hope Town lighthouse. It was built in the 1830s and was a highly controversial project.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  In the old days the reefs around the Abacos were quite dangerous and boats were always banging into them and sinking.  When a boat would hit a reef and start to go down, the local residents would come out to save the cargo.  Actually, seize the cargo would be a better description.  The law at the time required that that cargo go to Nassau and be sold at auction.  A small slice of the proceeds from that auction would go to the government as a tax, a small slice would go to the previous owner of the vessel, and the bulk of those funds would go to the local residents who had saved the cargo.  Well, the people around here became so dependent on that as a source of income, that when the government tried to build a lighthouse, they sabotaged it.

Eventually, however, it got built and today it is a major tourist attraction.  It is one of the few lighthouses in the world that has not been automated.  It houses one of the last hand-powered Kerosene beacons still in use.

The light and the base that turns it were made during the early 1900s in Birmingham, England, and they still work perfectly.  The light source is provided by a kerosene vapor lamp that burns with the brightness of 325,000 candles.  Just below the lantern room there is a hand pump that is used to pressurize the kerosene.  The kerosene travels up a tube into an atomizer that sprays it into a mantle.  Some camping lanterns operate on the same principle.

The mantle light is concentrated by five bull’s-eye lenses into a piercing beam that is directed out to the horizon.

A cable of weights is pulled up to the top of the tower.  As it descends it turns a series of bronze gears that rotate the lamp every fifteen seconds.  The lighthouse keeper must pull up the cable every two hours.

The system weighs three tons and floats on a circular tube that is filled with mercury.  The mercury reduces the friction at the base of the housing and allows it to turn. The turning mechanism is like a huge grandfather or cuckoo clock.

The light is 120 feet above sea level and shines for 15 miles.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Between the climbing up the 101 steps to the top of the lighthouse and pulling up those weights every two hours, the lighthouse keeper gets a pretty good workout.  All he really needs is something for his abs, which shouldn’t be hard to find, after all, we are in Abaco.

The next island north of Hope Town is called Man-O-War Cay.  The residents are very proud of their history and determined to preserve their way of life.  They will not allow any hotels or resorts to be put up on their island, and no liquor has ever been offered for sale.  A reminder of their puritan past.  Man-O-War was the center of Abaco’s shipbuilding industry and still has a number of successful boat yards.  Most of the boats that are in for maintenance come over from Florida.  The owners like the traditional craftsmanship of these yards; they also feel that they get a good price for the work and they love the idea of waiting in the Bahamas while the work gets done.

Most of the people on Man-O-War can trace their family heritage back to Pappy Ben Albury and Mammy Nellie Archer who settled here in the 1820s.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Nellie was a young teenager who came over to this island one day with her father to work on a small farming patch that they owned.  While they were weeding away, they began to hear sounds from the beach.  And when they came over to investigate, they saw a group of young Bahamian sailors coming ashore after their ship had wrecked on the reef.  In charge of the group was young Ben, only sixteen years old at the time, but it was love at first sight.  They courted, they married, and moved back to this island where they first met.

These days the Alburys and the Archers represent most of the residents on Man-O-War.  They still meet, they still fall in love, but they only marry if they are second cousins or more distant.  It appears that love conquers everything but genetics. 

A few cays north of Man-O-War on a strip of land called Green Turtle Cay is New Plymouth.  New Plymouth was once an important commercial center: lots of boat building, and a major pineapple plantation, but over the years it has settled back into a less stressful existence as a fishing village, with houses that look a lot like the saltboxes of New England.

This New Plymouth saltbox was built in 1826 for a successful businessman. Today it is the home of the Albert Lowe Museum. It was the first historical museum in the Bahamas and it is dedicated to the history of the British settlers who founded New Plymouth in the 1700s, and to the shipbuilding business that they developed.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  As you come into the museum, one of the first things you see is a portrait of Albert Lowe.  He was a great lover of the sea, but he was also a great builder of model boats.  He liked to build replicas of the boats that had actually been built in full scale in the Abacos and used commercially.  This is a good example.  A lot of these boats were used to transport lumber that was cut from the forest in Abaco for sale in the United States.  They also did a little trading in pineapples.  There are half a dozen absolutely beautiful models here that he made.  There are a number of paintings along the wall, some of them over a hundred years old and they show you what life was like in the old days, though, it really hasn’t changed very much.  This is a guy named William Curry.  He loved his house, which was here in Abaco, and one day he decided to move it -- all the way to Key West.  He broke it down, packed it up, and shipped it over.  I’m very impressed with this, because even if he got a great deal and he went first class, the overweight was going to be enormous.  Now remember, everybody here was a loyalist.  They believed in the King and Queen of England and their power, and there are a number of paintings that represent that attitude.  This is Queen Victoria at her wedding to Prince Albert.  Boy, Albert was in good shape -- he’s wearing very tight pants.  This is Queen Victoria at her coronation; this group here are all of the ladies-in-waiting where we see the Queen with her ladies-in-waiting.  Waiting was a small town just to the south of London and they were in there all the time.

“QUEEN VICTORIA”:  “We are not amused.”

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):   Clocks, chairs, tables, doilies, hundred and fifty-year-old lamps...Hold on -- a love letter:  “Richard -- when it comes to giving...”  I don’t think we’re going to share this.

New Plymouth is also the site of The Memorial Sculpture Garden, a national monument honoring the early settlers in the Bahamas and their descendants.  There are twenty-four sculptures; each likeness represents a person who stands for a particular achievement in Bahamian history.  At the center of the garden is a plaque dedicated to the American Loyalists.  It deals with a part of the Revolutionary War that is usually not well-covered in American history books. The first paragraph reads:

“Divided by civil war, defeated in battle, stripped of property and possessions,    persecuted and exiled by their neighbors, American Loyalists were forced to   abandon their homeland and seek their king’s protection in the Bahama Islands.”

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Not quite the same text that was in my high school year book.  Clearly, there are at least two sides to every story.

Time to eat!  And the place is Wally’s Restaurant.  During the mid-eighties, Barbara and Maureen Smith came to the family islands from Canada to help their dad begin his retirement.  Which turned out to be a restaurant -- a restaurant whose specialties are Grouper Nantua, which is a grouper salad served on toast.  They also make a mean mahi-mahi burger, which is mahi-mahi good.  Also on the menu: a grouper in a spicy tomato sauce...  traditional British fish and chips, and finally, Wally’s signature dish, Bahamian lobster salad.

They also have a nice little boutique.  There’s John Blackman, my sound engineer, spending his hard-earned money.  Hey John -- you’re supposed to be recording my voice!  John!  JOHN!

We also had a good meal at Mangoes in Marsh Harbour.  Libby Roberts did all her cooking at home until 1989, when she decided to turn pro and opened a little restaurant right on the water.  After extensive marketing research, she decided to call it “Mangoes,” because that was her favorite fruit.  The restaurant specializes in grilled fish.  Grouper with black olive sauce is the most popular dish.  Everybody in the crew also enjoyed the chicken salad and the jerked ribs.

The Abacos are one of the world’s great centers for yachtsmen and many of the resorts are designed for people who sail up as well as drive up. The Great Abaco Beach Resort is a good example.  The resort is half hotel and half marina.  The marina contains 185 slips with hookups for fresh water, electricity, telephone, television, and what appears to be the most essential facility for yachtmen -- a laundry!  Yachts from all along the east coast of North America pull into the resort to relax and unwind after their passage to the Bahamas.  And they also use it as their home port as they travel through these islands.

The hotel property is spread out over twenty-three acres of beachfront.  Most of the rooms are set into villas that have been placed just above the shore.  There’s a pool, an outdoor bar and all the other amenities that are normally associated with a tropical resort.  Plus a very pleasant hotel staff who are interested in doing what they can to help you relax.

Clearly, Abaco beach is a good spot to head out for some deep sea fishing.  Two of the great deep sea fishing tournaments -- The Bertram-Hatteras Shoot-out and the Bahamas Billfish Tournament -- are based out of Great Abaco Beach.

STEVE WILLIAMS:  Typically, we’ll arrange the charter for you, pre-book it; you’ll arrive here, everything will be ready for you.  We provide the tackle, the bait... the mate, the captain will all be here.  And basically all you have to bring is your sunscreen.  And we try to tailor our trips to the experience level of the angler.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Big game fishing as a sport got its start in Western Europe in 1496 with the publication of the first book on the subject.  The book was called A Treatise On Fishing With An Angle.  Fishing with an angle meant fishing with a hook as opposed to a net or a spear or a harpoon.  Gear in those days included a rod made of local wood, line that was made from braided horsehair, and a hook cast from iron.

In 1655, Izaak Walton wrote a book that became the most famous fishing book ever published. It is called The Complete Angler, and it introduced the idea of the reel. The basic equipment has changed very little over the years, although the materials and the construction techniques have taken advantage of our most modern technologies.

Boating became popular right after World War Two and big game fishing became the ideal activity to occupy the powerboater.  The introduction of plastic made the gear lighter and stronger. (“Stay with him, Helen!”)  Monofilament nylon line could withstand hundreds of pounds of pull and still be light enough for long casts.

But despite all these advantages, the angler still has to find the fish, a task which has became easier because of fish-finding sonar.  It uses a radar-like device to search the bottom of the sea and send back a signal outlining the fish.  Trolling from the boat allows the anglers to cover a large area of the sea and send their lines down to considerable depths.  A massive rod with a heavy reel is set into a socket in what is called a fighting chair.  The fisherman is held into the seat with a harness and the battle between man and big game fish begins.  Or the battle between man and boredom.

But how big is a big game fish?  Well, recent records have included a white shark at twenty-six hundred pounds, a black marlin at sixteen hundred pounds, and a bluefin tuna at fifteen hundred pounds.  Now, the bluefin tuna is particularly impressive when you realize that that single fish was responsible for over ten thousand individual tuna sandwiches.  Which reminds me -- I owe you a recipe.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  One learns to live with disappointment.

George Malone is the chef at The Great Abaco Beach Resort.  Being a true Bahamian he prefers to do his cooking outside whenever possible.  Right now he’s preparing the fish that I did not catch -- grilled grouper fillets with a citrus sauce.

He starts with a marinade which eventually turns into a basting sauce and then into a serving sauce. Very efficient. One cup of orange marmalade goes into a mixing bowl, followed by a quarter of a cup of white horseradish and three tablespoons of chopped garlic. Then a quarter of a cup of chopped parsley is added and a teaspoon of Tabasco sauce.

The next set of ingredients consists of the juice of one lemon, a cup of pineapple juice and a quarter of cup of dark rum.  The rum is optional.  A little salt and pepper.  A little mixing.  And finally a quarter of a cup of vegetable oil is whisked in.


The boneless, skinless fish filets rest in that mixture for and hour and a half... at which point they go onto the grill to cook.

At the same time, the marinade goes into a saucepan and over the heat where it is brought to a simmer.  As the fish is cooking, the marinade is used as a basting sauce.

BURT WOLF:  If I can’t get grouper, what else could I use?

GEORGE MALONE:  You can use grouper, you can use tuna, you can use wahoo...

BURT WOLF:  Big fish.

GEORGE MALONE:  Yeah, any big fish that’s good for grilling, no small fish.  You know, small pan-fried fish that we call, like, grunts.  Basically big fish.

BURT WOLF:  You got it.

When the fish is finished cooking, it comes off the grill and is served with the warm sauce on top.

And as long as we are out here and the coals are still hot, George is going to make grilled chicken breasts with a traditional Bahamian sauce.

GEORGE MALONE:   Alright, we’ve taken a piece of chicken that’s already been seasoned with salt, pepper, and lime juice.  And we take it and throw it on the grill for about fifteen, twenty minutes.

BURT WOLF:  Ah, the wind...the magic ingredient in outdoor cooking.  The magic ingredient we’d like not to have in the outdoor cooking.

We cook the chicken with the skin on because it will keep the meat tender, but anyone who is trying to lower the fat and cholesterol content of their diet should take the

skin off after the chicken is cooked.

While the chicken is cooking George prepares the sauce.  An ounce of vegetable oil is heated in a saucepan.  Two ounces of bacon cut into pieces are added -- not great for fat watchers, but there are limits to the sacrifices I’ll make.  Then a cup of chopped onion, a cup of green pepper strips and a cup of chopped celery are added.  All that simmers for ten minutes.

At that point two cups of diced tomatoes and their juices go in, plus four ounces of tomato paste.  Two minutes of heating and stirring and it’s time to add two cups of chicken stock and the seasonings, which are two tablespoons of Worcestershire Sauce, one teaspoon of thyme and a pinch of salt.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  George and I are joking about the wind, but it really is an important factor in outdoor cooking.  If you’re looking at a recipe and it calls for grilling the meat for ten minutes outdoors, and there’s a heavy wind, that wind is going to move the heat away, and you may need fifteen or twenty minutes.  So if you’re cooking outdoors and you’ve got a wind, try and put up something that will block that wind so the heat can go directly to the food.

Five more minutes of cooking and the sauce is ready.  And so is the chicken. Bahamian peas and rice and coleslaw are the side dishes. The chicken joins in and the sauce goes on top. 

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Just one more story.  In 1973, when the Bahamas gained their independence from Great Britain, everybody here was thrilled -- everybody but the people living on Abaco.  They were Loyalists, and they wanted to remain loyal to the king and queen of England, and stay part of Great Britain.  What a neighborhood!  And talking about loyalty, I hope you will join us next time as we travel around the world.  I’m Burt Wolf.

Origins: Charleston, South Carolina - #109

Every place in the world has a series of things that give that spot a special character... and make it different from every other place.  When you look at the ORIGINS of these things, you often end up with a better appreciation of the territory -- and that makes it a lot more interesting to visit.  And sometimes, these ORIGINS help us understand why we live the way we do.

Charleston, South Carolina. At the time of the American Revolution in 1776 it was the wealthiest, most beautiful and most sophisticated city in North America. It had the busiest port in the colonies and was often called “Little London.” Today you can walk through the historic streets of Charleston and get a clear sense of what early America looked like.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  And the reason that everything in Charleston is pretty well preserved is not because of the city’s traditional wealth.  As a matter of fact, it is just the opposite.  Charleston has remained pretty much intact because of the devastating poverty that resulted from the War Between The States.  At the end of that war, just about everybody in Charleston was broke -- so when it came to maintaining their homes, they were either too poor to paint, or too proud to whitewash.  Things stayed pretty much as they were.  It was preservation through poverty.

The first English settlers came to the area in 1670. King Charles II marked off a stretch of land that ran from Florida to Virginia and gave it to a group of his friends. The king’s pals formed a company and started sending settlers. They built huge plantations where they lived during the winter months. But from May to October the plantation owners got away from the heat by living in town. They spent big bucks building big townhouses that had a very distinct style.

Most of the homes in town were called “single houses” and were only one room wide. The gabled end faced the street. The front door was one flight up and opened onto a porch which was called a piazza. The piazza connected to the home. There was also a front door on the ground floor which led from the street to the rooms where the merchant conducted his business. This is the classic Charleston home, and an early example of the work-at-home office.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  The planters became extremely wealthy and arrogant.  They lost touch with the economic systems that were operating in the rest of the world.  They became dependent on slavery, and led the movement for secession from the Union.  The first shots of the Civil War  were fired from Charleston.  And at the end of that war, Charleston was a disaster area, but the people of the city were able to remember the best of their past and rebuild.

In 1929 Charleston passed the nation’s first historic zoning laws, and the people of Charleston continue to do everything they can to preserve the beauty of their past.  

John Meffert is an authority on historic Charleston, and in the tradition of Southern hospitality, he’s taking me on a tour.

JOHN MEFFERT:  And what you see here is one of my favorite places in the whole city.  Look around you.  What’s missing?  What do you notice is missing?

BURT WOLF:  My home.  One of these should be my home.

JOHN MEFFERT:  One of these should be your house.

BURT WOLF:  My name should be on one of these homes.

JOHN MEFFERT:  Well, if you had a million dollars, we’d get you one for your own enjoyment... But what’s missing otherwise?  Street wires.  Have you noticed, there are no street wires.

BURT WOLF:  Oh, yeah -- no street wires.

JOHN MEFFERT:  The city, long ago, said, “We’ve got to improve the district,” and started to remove the wires from the city streets.

BURT WOLF:  So this is what it pretty much would have looked like in the 1700s.

JOHN MEFFERT:  Take the cars away and you’d have a fairly good image of what the city might have been.

BURT WOLF:  Ah...Could you have a grip take the cars away, please?  We want to have a really authentic shot here.  These things are important.

JOHN MEFFERT:  We’re at the Four Corners of the Law, and this is the heart of the city -- heart of the city’s National Historic Landmark district.  And it’s called the Four Corners of the Law because right here, just behind you, is the county offices which is the County Office Building which has been there since 1792.  Behind us here is the City Hall, which has been here since 1801; across the street we have the Federal Building that was rebuilt after the earthquake of 1886; and next door St. Michael’s, the Episcopal law, which generated and controlled the colony in the earliest days.  So these four laws are what the city of Charleston is all about.  The law of the state, the law of the city, the law of the church, and the law of the federal government.  Even though we didn’t agree with all those laws at one time.  But, as we come to it today, these are all buildings protected and they illustrate the city seal.  She guards her buildings, her customs, and her laws.  And here I think we’ve done a wonderful job of keeping the continuity of those laws as you see in the buildings that still survive from each century of this wonderful city’s history.

I also thought you might like to meet a man who has a slightly different point of view.  His name is Alphonso Brown.  He was born in Charleston County and knows it well.

ALPHONSO BROWN:  On my tours I show many of the basics like shown by most Charleston guides, but my tour focuses more on the black side of the history of Charleston.  I tell about many black slave owners, I tell about strange graveyards and et cetera -- different type things here in Charleston that other tour guides, I don’t know whether they have time to tell them, but they just, I just have a different twist to it.

BURT WOLF:  Now that’s a big deal house there, isn’t it?

ALPHONSO BROWN:  Aiken-Rhett Mansion.  Beautiful, too.  Governor Aiken was one of our governors here in Charleston, and that was his home.  Notice the dingy yellow portion in the back.

BURT WOLF:  Why are the windows filled in?

ALPHONSO BROWN:  Yeah, they don’t fill them in, they were made that way, and of course they gave it that design to give it a nice look.  They were false windows.  You know slaves, it wasn’t nice for the slaves to have so much communication with the outside world, so you fill it in, you keep it private.  So, Aiken-Rhett Mansion.  Upstairs was the slave quarters, downstairs was the stable.  Many time, people have asked me where in the city can they go to see slave quarters in its original state -- are there any?  That’s the place.  I guess if the slaves were to come here now and see the place, they would probably say, “My God, y’all haven’t done anything with the place since we left?”

This is the old slave mart.  I told you all the slave marts were gone except for one.  This is the old Runyon slave mart -- he and his son open up their business in 1852, they were considered brokers.  They had a large office space on Queen Street, one block over.  Then, behind the office space and a little over to our left, there was a huge three-story building known as the slave jail.  Both buildings are gone now and the space is Queen Street one block over.  Behind that, we had this -- it was a courtyard which is now a parking lot.  It was from the courtyard where the slaves were placed out there to be inspected before being auctioned off in this building.

BURT WOLF:  There are a lot of people who feel that the bad things in the history of the United States should be pushed away and hidden and torn down, I’ve heard that view.  I think it’s important to keep these...

ALPHONSO BROWN:  Of course!  It is important.

BURT WOLF:  ...and many things like it up to remind us not to get into this again.

ALPHONSO BROWN:  That’s right.  You may forget.  It is a part of history.

Charleston’s love of its past and its desire to retain the traditions of southern hospitality also show up in its hotels. This is Charleston Place.  It’s right in the center of the city’s historic district and it blends together the style of the 18th century with the comfort and convenience of the 20th century.

The first thing you see when you come into the building is this double staircase that sweeps around an enormous crystal chandelier that is made up of over 3,000 individual pieces. It was brought to the hotel from Venice.  

            To the side of the entrance hall is the Lobby Lounge, which serves afternoon high tea in the style of Great Britain. Tea sandwiches. Small pastries. Lemon curd tarts. Truffles. Fresh scones.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  There are a number of British food authorities who believe you should put the jam on the scone first, and the Devonshire cream on top.  When the cream hits your tongue, it gives it a light coating and helps spread out the sweetness of the jam.  It was Lord Twining of the Twining Tea Company  who told me that in the old days, you always poured the cream in the cup before you poured in the tea.  It was before refrigeration and you wanted to make sure that the cream was still good before you poured the tea in.  And in those days, the tea was much more expensive than the cream.

Around the corner in Charleston Place is a hall of shops including Laura Ashley, Gucci and my personal favorite, Godiva Chocolates -- a small box of which ends up on your pillow every night.

You can pop across the street to the Riviera Theater, which was built in 1939 and recently purchased and returned to its original Art Deco beauty by Charleston Place. It has been designated as a city landmark, and it’s also the hotel’s state-of-the-art conference facility. 

You can advance your abs, pick up your pecs and burn your calories in the fitness center, which has a heated indoor/outdoor pool, a retractable glass roof, a fully equipped exercise room, steam rooms and saunas.

And, of course, you need a place to take in those calories before you burn them off. The Charleston Grill will take care of that. It’s well-known for its classic Southern dishes.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):   All of the luxury here in Charleston Place is very much in keeping with the history of the city.  Unlike the early colony in Massachusetts, where the population was interested in a sparse and Puritan lifestyle, the people who came to Charleston were interested in the lifestyle that was as close to that of the King of England as possible.

King Charles was known as the Merry Monarch.  He loved the good life -- great homes, fine food, lots of parties, horse racing, to which he gave the title “The Sport Of Kings.”  He was also very interested in romance.  He had a rather large collection of mistresses, and fathered more than a dozen illegitimate children.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):   It was often said that King Charles was the father of his people, or at least, a great many of them. Charleston was his namesake city and part of its original plan was to reproduce a fun-loving gentry in the American colonies.

Bob Waggoner is the executive chef at Charleston Place, and this recipe is for a South Carolina specialty called Beaufort Stew.  Now, this is not the type of food that he makes for the hotel’s restaurants, but it is what you would get if you came out to his place for a down-home Sunday lunch in the garden.

He starts by putting pieces of smoked pork sausage into a big pot. Bob uses a quarter pound of sausage per person. They browned for about two minutes. Then five cloves of sliced garlic are added and cook for a minute more. Three quarts of vegetable or chicken stock are added and a few tablespoons of Old Bay Seasoning -- which is a mixture of fennel, celery salt, cloves, peppers, ginger, mace and cardamom. 

BURT WOLF:  If  you don’t have Old Bay Seasoning, can you use New Bay Seasoning or another equivalent?

BOB WAGGONER:  Perfect... No problem!

Then he adds a little salt and pepper and a few bay leaves.  All that simmers for about fifteen minutes. Then six new potatoes cut into quarters go in. Five more minutes of simmering. Next some baby corn or two or three ears of regular corn cut into pieces.

BOB WAGGONER:   Now we’re going to add the crayfish.  Our live little guys.  Which are obviously not gonna...You want to get them in and stir them around as quickly as possible because obviously they’re not... not as happy as they could be in there.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA): There really is a good reason for cooking the shellfish while it’s still alive.  When a shellfish like this dies, a bacteria develops on the surface of the skin.  And that bacteria can be pretty dangerous.  The only way to avoid the bacteria is to cook the shellfish while it’s still alive.

The crayfish cook for about three minutes. Then two pounds of freshwater prawns.

BOB WAGGONER:  What you want is just to throw these guys in just at the last, you know, two-three minutes of the cooking time.  Crayfish, they can sit in there and, you know, and cook away, that’s not a problem, but these guys are definitely going to toughen up.  So you just want to let it,  obviously bring it down, let it simmer right there at the end, the last two to three minutes, and away we go!

Next -- one cup of little tomatoes or big tomatoes cut into little pieces.

BOB WAGGONER:  And obviously you can use chopped Roman tomatoes, whatever kind of tomatoes you have.  I’ve just got these little currant tomatoes handy, so I figured I’d throw them in.  And this is obviously one of those recipes -- if you don't have tomatoes, you don’t add tomatoes -- if you don’t have green onions, you don’t add green onions.

BURT WOLF:  It’s my kind of recipe.

BOB WAGGONER:  If the corn, you know, you couldn’t get the corn, you don’t add corn.

BURT WOLF:  Only what’s on special.

BOB WAGGONER:  That’s it.  But obviously all of them add to a special flavor that blends together.

One more minute of cooking and the liquid gets strained away from the solid ingredients and the solids get turned out into a serving bowl. A few chopped green onions on top and it’s ready to go.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):   In 1669, Carolina published its first constitution which stated that any group of seven men or more could come together, form a church, call it what they wanted to, and be free to practice their religion.  But that document also stated that no man would be allowed in Carolina who did not acknowledge and worship God. So freedom of religion was not quite the same as freedom from religion. Eventually, so many houses of worship were built in Charleston that it became known as a Holy City.

St. Michael’s Episcopal Church is the oldest church in Charleston.  Its cornerstone was set in place in 1752.  The clock tower has been a beacon for sailors and is the oldest functioning colonial clock tower in the country.

The original First Baptist Church was built on this site in 1699 by a congregation that had come to Charleston to escape religious persecution in Maine. The present building, which is in the Greek Revival style, dates back to 1822.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):   During the late 1600’s over forty thousand French Protestants, known as Huguenots, left France in order to avoid being persecuted by Louis XIV.  Many of them went to England where they were welcomed by King Charles II, who also subsidized a group that came here to Charleston.  Along with the group that came to Charleston came a letter from the King telling the government here that the Huguenots would be particularly valuable because of their skills in making silk and wine, which had previously been French monopolies.

This is Charleston’s Huguenot Church, which was erected in 1845.  It was the first church in Charleston to use the Gothic Revival style.

And this is the Beth Elohim Synagogue. It dates back to the middle of the 1700s, and is the oldest synagogue in continual use in the United States.  It was the first synagogue to install an organ, and stands as the home of Reform Judaism in America.

The historic buildings of Charleston, South Carolina are protected by the codes of the Historic Charleston Foundation.  The plantations are protected by the staff of the National Trust.

Preserving our architecture is important, but Charleston also has a national treasure that is very much alive.  This is the blacksmith Philip Simmons, who has been officially certified as a National Treasure by the Smithsonian Institution.  Philip was born on Daniel Island, near Charleston, in 1912.

When he was thirteen he walked past a blacksmith shop and was fascinated by the fire, the sounds of the hammers, and the work that was going on.  He apprenticed himself to the blacksmith and over the next few years learned how to shoe horses and make the ironwork that was needed for the wagons of the time.

But time was running out for blacksmiths. Horses were being replaced by cars and blacksmiths were going out of business. Philip loved his work and refused to give it up.

He stopped making horseshoes and started making gates and fences. Today the city has hundreds of examples of his ironwork. His art trims Charleston like a ribbon of lace, connecting the city’s past to its present.

The old building that has been his workshop for most of his life is not quite the facility I expected of a National Treasure, but it makes the point that the genius of a craftsman is in his mind, not in his tools.

PHILIP SIMMONS:  You tell me what you want, and while you’re talking I’m trying to sketch something for you, and most times I sketch what they want.  And I was able to sketch things, you know, that they really accepted.  That’s what sketching is all about; I like to put it on paper and let the customer see what they’re gonna get.  Some come to me and tell me to make them something -- “Oh, go ahead, you can make it” -- I say, “No, let me sketch it,” and let them look at it, because sometimes you may sketch a piece and when you carry it to them or they come for it, they say “Oh, that isn’t what I want!”  So my motto is, you sketch it and let them see what they’re gonna get.  People was telling me that, “Philip, the blacksmith’s becoming a lost art; what you gonna do?”  But you know, always gonna be something for the blacksmith to do.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  The business that Philip Simmons went into when he decided to become a blacksmith almost disappeared when cars replaced horses, but there’s an important story here -- real craftsmanship transcends specific products and addresses itself to the changing needs of the public.  You can downsize an industry or a company, but you cannot downsize the heart of an artist.

As the War Between The States came to a close, Union troops marched through the area surrounding Charleston and destroyed every plantation in their path, with one exception: Drayton Hall.  There’s a story that the owner, John Drayton, was a doctor and he sent his slaves to the edge of the property to tell the Union troops that the building was being used as a smallpox hospital.  We don’t know if that story is true, but the house was clearly spared.  Today it is part of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Just down the road is a property called Middleton Place.  It was the family home of four generations of Middletons.  Henry was the President of the First Continental Congress.  Arthur was a signer of the Declaration of Independence.  Arthur’s son Henry was the Governor of South Carolina and our Minister to Russia.  Henry’s son Williams was a signer of the Ordinance of Secession, which led to the War Between The States and eventually to the destruction of his family home at Middleton.  That’s what the great house looked like at the end of the war.

The main building was destroyed, but some of the most magnificent gardens in the United States were saved. They were originally laid out in 1741, which makes this America’s oldest landscaped garden and one of the most beautiful and peaceful places in the nation.

CHARLES DUELL:  So this, as you can see, is the canal; it’s about 800 feet long and it really marks the western boundary of the garden, punctuates it on a north-south axis and perpendicular to other axes that run east-west, and we’ll see throughout this old part of the garden how very geometric everything was.  How that mind of the early 18th century, coming out of 17th century France really focused on man-made, kind of, secure spaces that were all, you know, “just so,” and perfect geometric forms, and all interconnected and very much man controlling nature.  It gave way to the romantic period when man was supposed to be controlled by nature, just God created everything.  Fortunately, here at Middleton Place we have, we have both elements.  And when the Romantic movement came along, it didn’t destroy the Classical garden;  the Romantic garden was simply added at the extremities.

So, Burt, as we go down these alleys that are really straight tunnels of camellias that bloom more from November until spring, you get views of the house that kind of lure you to the invitation to come visit the house.  That, of course, is only a third of what was the full house before the Civil War.  There was the central part that was the family residence, a north flanker that was the library and musical conservatory, and the remaining south flanker was simply the least badly damaged during the war and afterwards restored as the family residence then.

Coming through the rose garden or sundial garden you see this collection of roses that are really first propagated in the 18th to 19th century -- early roses, and that leads us down toward the Middleton Oak, which is the granddaddy of all of our live oak trees.  It was here, of course, long before the garden, and the garden design accommodated it.  Probably knocking on 900 or 1,000 years old, it’s a huge tree with a thirty-five foot circumference, and 145 feet of limb spread, and I like to think it really has an important spiritual quality as well.  I think coming in and standing under it and just listening to it.  It’s been here for hundreds of years, it must have incredible stories of things that have gone by it over time.

BURT WOLF:  It’s a sense of being welcomed underneath it.

CHARLES DUELL:  It is a very -- it’s a place to be quiet and really listen to it.

I think they were really perhaps trying to say something to their cousins back in England that out here in the boondocks, we can live just as elegantly as you can in the Mother Country.  So they really built a grand garden to kind of show off to their elder, you know, primogeniture elder son, cousins, all.

BURT WOLF:  We can do it in America.


BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):   The first wealth in Carolina came from  merchant traders.  The really great fortunes were amassed by planters.  Planters who were planting rice.  There are a number of books that tell the story of the first rice coming to Carolina on a ship that pulled into Charleston for repairs and paid for the work by giving seed rice to the planters.  But many historians believe that the first rice came to Carolina with slaves from West Africa where rice had been a traditional crop for hundreds of years.  Either way, it’s quite clear that the West African slaves taught the white planters how to cultivate the rice crop.

In Africa, baskets were used to separate the rice from the chaff and those precise baskets were reproduced on the plantations from the local sweetgrass. Today you can walk through Charleston and see those same baskets from West Africa being reproduced and sold.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):   We may never know the precise details of exactly who brought what to this land, but the history of Charleston makes one thing perfectly clear -- a free and open society gives its people the best opportunity for long-term economic success. You could see that in 1680 when Charleston was founded, and you can see it here today.  And I hope you will see me next time as we travel around the world looking at the ORIGINS of some of the things that surround us. I’m Burt Wolf.

Origins: Edinburgh - #108

Every place in the world has a series of things that give that spot a special character... and make it different from every other place.  When you look at the ORIGINS of these things, you often end up with a better appreciation of the territory -- and that makes it a lot more interesting to visit.  And sometimes, these ORIGINS help us understand why we live the way we do.

Scotland.  People have been living on this land for at least 6,000 years.  The first inhabitants appear to have been groups of hunters and fishermen. Next the Celtic tribes who had been forced out of Europe.  In the year 80 AD the Roman legions marched through. And finally the English.

The first references to Scotland’s central city of Edinburgh were in the notes of Ptolemy, the ancient Roman writer who made his comments in the year 160 AD.   The first site in the area to be colonized was probably a hill called Arthur’s Seat.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Precisely which Arthur actually took a seat here isn’t quite clear.  Romantics like to point to the legendary King Arthur of the Round Table.  But there is no evidence to support that view.  There is, however, considerable evidence that this hill had at least four prehistoric forts and an ancient farming community.

Immediate seating for Camelot or not, it’s definitely a spot from which you can see a lot.  And just below Arthur’s Seat -- Old Town.

Edinburgh’s Old Town is one of the oldest communities in Great Britain and much of it has remained intact.  The Edinburgh author Robert Lewis Stevenson, who wrote  Treasure Island, described what Old Town was like during the 1800’s.

“STEVENSON”:“It grew under the law that regulates the growth of walled cities, not out, but up. Public buildings were forced, whenever there was room for them, into the midst of thoroughfares; thoroughfares were diminished into lanes; houses sprang up, story after story, neighbor mounting upon neighbor’s shoulders, until the population slept fourteen to fifteen deep, in a vertical direction.”

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  One of the things I liked about the Old Town was that all economic levels of the society lived in the same house.  The rich and famous lived in the middle, the poor and unknown at the top and the bottom.  And they were in regular contact with each other.  They met each other in the hallways, on the staircases, in the courtyards.  And they knew a lot about each others’ lives.  If someone in business was being dishonest or a magistrate handed down an unpopular opinion in the courts, they would be confronted about those issues when they got home.  And often the confrontation took the form of a flying bucket of garbage.  I like that system a lot.  As I see our public officials leaving their elegant homes in their chauffeur-driven limousines, I wonder if it wouldn’t be a good idea to have a law that said that all government officials had to go to work in public transportation.  Just to keep them in touch.

Someone who is very much in touch is Anne Doig.  I first met her in 1995 when she worked as an independent guide to Scotland.  And she was one of the best guides we ever hired.  Today she is the Director of Tourism for the city of Edinburgh and a better guide than ever.  She begins by taking us to the top of the most famous building in the city -- Edinburgh Castle.

ANNE DOIG:  You can see the city is very dramatic, because it’s a city born from fire and sculpted by ice.

BURT WOLF:  What was the fire?

ANNE DOIG:  Volcanoes.  This whole area was under a shallow tropical sea that was subject to intense volcanic activity.  And so there were bubbling under the water all these volcanoes and eventually when the ice came, one time there was two miles sheet ice on top of this area and when it moved, it tipped up so dramatically that the ice scraped away all the soft debris and earth and rock and left seven hills that Edinburgh was created on.

BURT WOLF:  So these hills are still volcanic hills...

ANNE DOIG:  They’re still volcanic...

BURT WOLF:  Fire and ice...

ANNE DOIG:  Fire and of fire and ice.  We’re going up the Lang stairs here.  This is the original entrance to the castle way back in the very early period.  Now it’s quite steep, so you can imagine that coming up here with heavy guns and equipment and supplies is very difficult. 

BURT WOLF:  It must’ve been really tough with cannons.  I can see how hard it just is for a guy with a camera.

ANNE DOIG:  Exactly.  Well, this is right at the top, the very citadel.  This is the oldest building in Edinburgh, in fact.  It dates back to the eleventh, twelfth century.  And it’s a small chapel.  The castle was taken in 1313 by the Scots again when they took it back from the English.  They razed it to the ground.  So everything went except the chapel.  They razed it to the ground so the English couldn’t get a stronghold of Scotland again.  So, because this is a chapel it was saved.  So it predates 1313, but it’s...St. Margaret’s Chapel.  There’s a lovely story I’d like to tell you about the chapel. The Scottish military can still hold their weddings and christenings in that chapel.  It’s a very tiny chapel.  So if it’s a wedding, it’s much to the delight of the father of the bride because it only holds sixteen people so it’s not an expensive wedding, he loves it.

BURT WOLF:  It’s a great story.

ANNE DOIG:  So, we’re going to Crown Square now.  This is actually quite interesting because we’re standing here looking at the oldest building in the castle to the right and the very youngest opposite us.  And you’d never really believe that that was the youngest building on the rock, because the castle really is layer upon layer of history going all the way back to the twelfth century.  This building here fits in so beautifully with the other old buildings, but it was actually built between 1923 and -27.  The weathered rock used to build this war memorial was originally part of a chapel called St. Mary’s On the Rock.  It was a Catholic chapel which was demolished during the turbulence of the Reformation.  But being Scottish, they didn’t waste anything, right?  Recycling is nothing new to the Scots.  They kept all the original stonework until they had another purpose to build on this site.  And it was after the First World War they wanted to build a memorial to all the Scots who died in World War I.  So they used the same stones and resurrected this building here.  And we think it’s a beautiful building.  Because it’s something to build out of brick, but to use original stones and fit all back so beautifully, it’s like poetry in rock really.  All the Scots who died and all the conflicts of the twentieth century are listed by name in books in this memorial.  And they can be very touching because people come from all around the world to visit Edinburgh Castle, and they might have a grandfather or an uncle or something who died in the First or Second World War, and they can go to the books inside and their names will be there.  So it can be really quite a touching experience. 

The origins of the Old Town of Edinburgh and the city begin with the castle, which was a fortress.  And what happened was we had several periods of invading armies and so what the people did is they built these scattered houses and huts in the shadow of the old fortress for protection, and eventually the beginnings of the Old Town developed, coming down from the castle all the way down a rocky ridge.  And as the city increased its importance and eventually became a capital, there was a huge population concentrated on this rocky ridge, and so there was no room for the city to expand out the way, it had to develop up the way because it was a walled city.   So it became a vertical city.  So there was a tumble of tall tenements developed all the way down from the castle down a spine of rock.  So you can forget about Manhattan being the place where the skyscraper was developed; the skyscraper/high-rise development, first in the world, was right here in Edinburgh and that’s a superb example.  Some of the buildings were fifteen, sixteen stories high.

BURT WOLF:  The man that Jekyll and Hyde was based on lived right here.

ANNE DOIG:  That’s exactly right, just around the corner.  His name was William Brodie; his title was Deacon Brodie and he was a well-respected man in the city, head of his guild, a magistrate, a wealthy cabinetmaker, high up in the church.  But at night, this was during the day he had this respected existence, and at night he became a burglar.  So this wave of crime was well-known but they couldn’t catch the thief.  Why not?  Because he was the chair of the committee examining it.  So eventually he was caught red-handed, soon they did catch him stealing, breaking into the excise office down in the Cannongate.  Now this was in front of a very surprised crowd, because here was this well-respected, wealthy cabinetmaker / magistrate being executed for burglary.  He was responsible for all the crime.  There was another twist to the tale, because when he was executed, he was actually executed on the new, improved gallows.  He designed the trap door and he was the first person executed. He also wore an iron collar, hoping to cheat the noose, but he only made his sufferings longer.  So the double life of William Brodie which inspired Stevenson to write Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

BURT WOLF:  Right here.

ANNE DOIG:  Right here, yeah.

In 1752, the Lord Mayor of Edinburgh secretly published a proposal for the improvement of the city.  He complained that there was no place for the merchants of Edinburgh to do their business, no safe repository for the public records, no meeting place for the magistrates and the town council.  The New Town was constructed to meet the needs which the Lord Mayor so rightly described. And everyone who could get up the money moved from the Old Town to the New Town. The exodus from the Old Town was so fast and so dramatic that it has come to be known as “the great flitting.”

ANNE DOIG:  The New Town of Edinburgh was built at the same time when there was an outburst of amazing intellectual energy.  It was a period in our history known as the golden age, the enlightenment.  And the New Town of Edinburgh was really the physical manifestation of what was happening in the minds of the people at that time.  So in contrast to the Old Town, described by Stevenson as “so many smoky beehives,” the New Town was light; it was a city of nature, gardens, reason.  The streets were laid out symmetrically.  Squares were balanced at either end.  So it was exactly a reflection of what was happening to the people at the time.

BURT WOLF:  That’s quite amazing that the architecture would follow the intellectual thought of the period.

ANNE DOIG:  You can read all about the people by reading the buildings.  You can still see the wide doorways, lovely fanlight windows, the original lamps which would have been whale oil, then gas and now electricity.  You can still see the boot scrapes where they used to scrape their boots...

BURT WOLF: they came in from the mud...

ANNE DOIG:  Corinthian columns, medallions.  Nothing has changed much in Charlotte Square since 1767. 

And this is a typical house from that period built by one of the greatest men in our history, the greatest architect of the eighteenth century was Robert Adam.  So this house belongs to the National Trust, but they’ve brought it back to the way it was back in 1790s.  This exactly the way the people would have eaten.  You see the china’s Wedgwood.  Everything came to the table at the same time.  So you have the soup, fish, vegetables, and the courses started in the nineteenth century when you got your soup first and then your next course.  But back in the eighteenth century they ate everything all at once.  So they had their plate warmers, that’s kind of a cute piece of -- you don’t see that very often nowadays.  They brought that up from the kitchen to keep the plates warm, and over there by the fire they would leave them there...

BURT WOLF:  Oh, that faces the back...

ANNE DOIG:  That’s right...

BURT WOLF:  And it’s open and the heat would come in...

ANNE DOIG:  That’s right...

BURT WOLF:  And the foods would be kept in there...

ANNE DOIG:  Kept there, kept warm...

BURT WOLF:  Interesting... after dinner the women would leave...

ANNE DOIG:  That’s right...

BURT WOLF:  And the men would sit here and drink their port...

ANNE DOIG:  Absolutely.  So the ladies would withdraw to the drawing room upstairs and typically of the eighteenth century, they had chairs on the outside.  So there was a big space in the middle, because they might have spontaneous dancing, Scots dancing...

The 18th Century was the golden age of the Scottish Enlightenment.  The city of Edinburgh had become an intellectual center and reminded people of ancient Greece -- to the point where they were calling Edinburgh “the Athens of the North.”  But for much of the population, it was also an age of great change and confusion.  

For hundreds of years the economy had been based on farming.  The structure of life was simple. The year was kept by the rhythm of the seasons.  And then quite suddenly, everything began to change.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):   New inventions were being tried out.  New ideas were being presented.  People were beginning to come off the land and work in factories.  It was the beginning of the industrial revolution, and the great thinkers of the time were being asked to explain what was happening.

And this is the resting place of one of the most influential thinkers of them all, Adam Smith.  He lived from 1723 to 1790 and was the author of a book entitled An Inquiry into the Nature and the Causes of the Wealth of Nations. 

He tried to explain the way an industrial society worked, how it produced wealth, and how it avoided chaos.

Smith believed that everyone in business was interested solely in their own profit. And that the chaotic buying and selling of goods and services was actually regulated by this interest in making a buck -- or in Smith’s case, a pound.  “I’ll supply you with something you are demanding, only if you have something that I want in exchange.”

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):   He also believed that anytime the free market was restricted it sent investment moneys in the wrong direction.  He looked at government policies that funded or protected specific elements in the economy.  He looked at import duties.  He pointed at excessive taxation.  He believed that in general, the average person in business would end up doing things that eventually benefited the society.  On the other hand, he believed that the average person in the government would end up doing things that eventually hurt us.  He was famous for saying that “the government that governs least is the government that governs best.”  Over two hundred years have passed since Adam Smith came to rest here, and these days many of his ideas are more respected than ever before.

The Scots have always been talented in business, and fortunately they have almost always been honest.  One of their areas of greatest skill has been modern banking. And they have been so reliable that the banks have the right to print their own bank notes...  a right that the English banks lost during the 1800s.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):   For the past 150 years or so, one of the most powerful segments of the Edinburgh financial community have been of the investment trusts.  They were originally set up to manage other people’s money, and one of the first places they invested in was the American West.  It was Scottish financial investors who put up the original funds for the North American cattle ranches, railroads and fruit farms.

Adam Smith once said that “Every thrifty man is a public benefactor,” and the trust companies of Edinburgh have used that idea to build one of the most powerful financial networks in the world.

And where have we been eating in Edinburgh?  A grand, French-style building in Register Place.  Inside, the Cafe Royal, originally opened in 1817.  Hundred-year-old stained glass windows show the British at their traditional sports.  At the end of the bar, a tile that presents the first ship that put to sea for the Cunard Line.  For lunch:  seafood chowder, and grilled salmon on a bed of spinach with a mustard sauce. 

Leith has been a port area for centuries, an independent and wealthy place with a clear sense of its own future.  But as Edinburgh grew, it slowly incorporated Leith.  I say “slowly,” because Leith went to war to prevent that incorporation.  Today it is a charming, gentrified edge of the city of Edinburgh.  The docks are lined with a dozen or so small restaurants, of which our favorite turned out to be The Shore.  Set in a building that was constructed during the 1700s, the collective preference of our crew was the Squid with Rosemary, Saffron Fish Soup, and for dessert -- Lemon Tart and Toffee Pudding Cake.

Just in front of the entrance to Edinburgh Castle, in a building that dates back to the 1500s, is a restaurant called The Witchery.

JAMES THOMSON:  Well, the restaurant’s called The Witchery because between 1470 and 1722 over fifteen hundred people were burned as witches in the Castle Hill, which is just outside here.   Anybody who had a physical deformity -- it could be a large nose, or a wart, or whatever -- could be thought to be a witch.   And they’d be taken away and tortured until they confessed to being a witch.  Of course, most of them weren’t actually witches; it was just a public sport at the time, but the church and the Crown became very wealthy because they inherited the estate of the witch.  Now, I researched this and found that there was this great history of witchcraft in the Castle Hill, which had been more or less written out of history books because the churches had lots to do with writing the history books.  So I thought that with this building being on the Castle Hill, we would be a reminder for all the innocent people who died, sadly, of being accused of being witches.

The room is decorated with Scottish antiques, and the kitchen specializes in the use of traditional Scottish produce. I had a good lunch here.  It started with a roasted tomato soup... and was followed by a roast loin of lamb with a mustard and chopped olive crust.  No dessert today -- because my lighting grip, Nigel Smith tells me that there is a unique Edinburgh sweet that I must taste.

BURT WOLF:   I’d like to order six Deep-Fried Mars bars.


BURT WOLF:   Six, please.


Ah, yes, you heard it right, Deep-Fried Mars Bars.  Here in Pasquale’s, as in Fish and Chips shops all over Scotland, the Mars Bar Fritter is as common as malt vinegar.  And no one knows if it was created intentionally or if it was the result of a freak deep-fat fryer accident, but the famous candy bar is indeed coated with batter and plunged into hot fat. ... this batch seems to be fortified with a little extra iron... and yes, this is the same fat that the fish and chips are fried in.

BURT WOLF:   Besides Mars Bars, do you use any other kind of candy?

PASQUALE:  Umm... Snickers... any kind of sweet that I’ve got up there.

BURT WOLF:   What do you think works best?

PASQUALE:  The Mars Bar is the best.  It is more popular.

BURT WOLF:   Do you eat them?

SALESGIRL:  I’ve never tasted one.

BURT WOLF:   You’re right -- you gotta eat ‘em when they’re hot.  Definitely an acquired taste.

There are a number of things that you can do to learn about a city that you are visiting, besides reading a guidebook.  You can walk around the main center of town at rush hour and see the people...You can take a careful look at the architecture... Human scale or future world... Preserving or destroying... You can eat the traditional foods of the town...  And if you can speak the language you can talk to shopkeepers or cab drivers.

SCOTSMAN:  [intense Robert Burns recitation]

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  I think it was George Bernard Shaw who said something to the effect that “the United States and England were two great nations separated by a common language.”  I think that was just proven.  But one of the most interesting ways to find out about the culture of a city is to get somebody to tell you the local jokes.

BILL BARCLAY:  There was an English tour up here, up in the highlands.  And this bus driver was taking them round and I’m not very good at history, but he was sort of stopping off here and saying that “In this field here, that’s when we annihilated the English, annihilated them in 16 whatever,” and he goes on and he says “Just the other side of that bridge is where we pulverized the English, pulverized them in 17 whatever,” and he goes along a bit and, “Over here this is where we massacred the English...” and this chap says “Hold on mate, hold on!”  You know in his English accent -- is that an English accent? -- he says “Did we not win any battles?”  He says, “Not when I’m driving the bus,” he says.

RADIO ANNOUNCER:  You’re listening to Bill Barclay on MAX AM...

BILL BARCLAY:  Now Hunt for Red October star Alec Baldwin is being whipped into shape by his wife Kim Basinger...wouldn’t mind getting whipped into shape by Kim Basinger...

Bill Barclay is an Edinburgh entertainer, stand-up comedian and well-known disc jockey.  Six days each week from noon until 2 PM, he plays records and tells jokes on MAX AM. 

BILL BARCLAY:  We got a lost budgie.  It’s a yellow budgie, it was lost on Thursday the sixth, from the back of Harriet Row between Dundow Street and Howe Street, but I don’t think it’s there now...

Today he’s spending the afternoon in the local pub and educating me on the origin of Edinburgh humor. 

BURT WOLF:  Scots have a big reputation for being, shall we say, careful with their money...

BILL BARCLAY:  Rubbish...

BURT WOLF:  Not wasting...


BURT WOLF:  Is that ever reflected in the local jokes?

BILL BARCLAY:  Did I not just buy you that drink?  There’s a lovely one where of course, where the chap, chapped at a door, a big, big posh house in Edinburgh, and he said, “I wonder if you could give me something for a cup of tea or some --”  “Oh!” the woman said,  “Would you like bowl of yesterday’s soup?”  And he says “Oh, that would be lovely,” and she says “Come back tomorrow.”  It’s not true but not really mean...Well, Scots are known to be sort of hard men.  There’s a lovely story about the Second World War when two Scottish hard men, as we call ‘em, they dropped ‘em off in parachutes behind enemy lines in Germany.  And they were arrested, and taken to the SS headquarters for interrogation and they kept one in one room.  And they grabbed the other one by the hair and dragged him into this room to interrogate him.  And while he’s being interrogated, his pal’s trying to listen at the door to see what’s going on, and he hears the SS officer saying “Vat is your name, wee one?  [Sound of slapping] Where do you come from? [Slap! Slap!]  What are you doing over here? [Slap! Slap!]  Stop punching me while I’m questioning you.”

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):    I like Edinburgh.  It has four distinct seasons and you get them all in the same day!  I hope you will join us next time as we travel around the world.  I’m Burt Wolf.

Origins: Virginia Beach - #107

Every place in the world has a series of things that give that spot a special character... and make it different from every other place.  When you look at the ORIGINS of these things, you often end up with a better appreciation of the territory -- and that makes it a lot more interesting to visit.  And sometimes, these ORIGINS help us understand why we live the way we do.

When we look at the history of the first settlers in what became the United States of America, more often than not the theme of the story is the search for political and religious freedom.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  That was certainly true for many of the colonists. But there were also hundreds of people who crossed the Atlantic and settled in because they thought they could make a buck.  And many of those people were employed by corporations that were in the business of setting up colonies purely for profit.  One of those corporations was known as the London Company.

On the 26th of April, 1607, one hundred and five of the London Company employees arrived here on the coast of what eventually became the city of Virginia Beach. They explored the area for four days, then moved inland and started the settlement at Jamestown.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Archaeologists point out that a number of distinct civilizations have been living in the Virginia Beach Area for over 11,000 years.  The Spanish were exploring the spot in the 1520’s.  But the first Europeans to actually settle in and become residents were the guys who worked for the London Company.  They had spent their first four days here wandering around these beaches in an area which eventually became known as Princess Anne County.

It was named after England’s Princess Anne, who became England’s Queen Anne in 1702.  She was a good queen and she made a nice chair.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  When the English government decided to try and recover some of the money that it had invested in the development of the colonies, plus what might be described as an overall management fee, the people of Virginia began to play a very active role in the Revolution.

One of the first things that George Washington did after he became President was to authorize the construction of the first federal lighthouse. You can still see it in the First Landing State Park.


During the late 1800s people began to appreciate the value of the seaside resort. In those days guests usually came for the day and rented their bathing suits.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  An early indication of the popularity of Virginia Beach can be found in a newspaper article of the time reporting that on a particular Sunday so many people had showed up at the hotel that all the available bathing suits had been rented.

Today Virginia Beach is the largest city in Virginia with nearly 500,000 residents. And over two million visitors stop by each year to enjoy the beach.

As you travel along the boardwalk, one of the buildings that you will pass is the DeWitt Cottage.  It’s the last surviving turn-of-the-century Virginia Beach oceanfront building, and it has been restored as a wildfowl museum. Visitors get a short lesson on coastal birds and decoy carving.  By the end of the 1800s the Back Bay area of Virginia Beach was a paradise for duck hunters. There was even a train called the “Sportsmen’s Special” that brought hunters down from the Northern states.

BILL JOHNSON:  As it became more and more known that the birds were here in great numbers, to the point even where they say they darkened the sky, when they flew, when they’d get up in the morning flight, so the afternoon flights coming back to roost they would “darken the sky,” quote-quote.  The people who enjoyed the shooting sports and could afford to travel and actually have lodges did that.  They built lodges here, big hunt clubs here.  Those hunts clubs had to have caretakers, they had to have guides, they had to have boats built, they had to have decoys -- functional objects that were made for the purpose of bringing game in range of the shotgun.  Today we look at those functional objects as art objects.

BURT WOLF:  And the ducks really thought that these were real....

BILL JOHNSON:     The ducks, the ducks actually... I think the ducks are dumber than we think they are, frankly.

BURT WOLF:  It’s quite a collection you have here...

BILL JOHNSON:     Oh, thank you.  This is, we love this museum, we try to preserve the heritage of the hunt club era, the old decoys, the art of the decoy, that’s what our purpose is; basically, to show the folks what it was like and to show them the art of the decoy, both old and new...

BURT WOLF:  You also had some really interesting models that I liked.  I’m a big fan of models like this... what’s that?

BILL JOHNSON:     This is a unique invention that was called a sink box because if you’ll notice the box underneath it is shaped somewhat like a boat or a little coffin...


BILL JOHNSON:     And it’s basically designed for a man to lie down in and be at the same level as the water.  In other words, if his head were popping up, it would look like a duck’s head.  And it was designed with flexible wings on either end on the sides that were hinged, and their purpose was to float with the waves so that it would not take any waves in the box.  Literally, from a low angle where birds would be approaching it would look like a dark spot on the water to them. 

BURT WOLF:  What an amazing piece of equipment. What’s happening around here these days?

BILL JOHNSON:     Well, today, I think, and not just in our area, but I think probably throughout the whole country that the people that do hunt waterfowl, are more into it from what’s called an aesthetic standpoint.  They don’t really care so much about whether they bring back a pile of game -- or “mess of game” is the way we used to say it.  But they go for the pleasure of working with the dog and working with the boat and actually just being outdoors, enjoying, enjoying the outdoors, the whole history of waterfowl and being in Back Bay and being part of that whole scene. 

This is the Adam Thoroughgood House. Today it’s one of the historic houses of Virginia Beach and a good place to take a look at what life was like around here in the 16- and 1700s.

NANCY BAKER:  We have some wonderful lighting devices at the Thoroughgood House --17th Century pieces.  Now, this particular lamp is called a Phoebe lamp or a five wick light, and you know it’s a Phoebe when you see the drip pan underneath because that would take care of some of the drips.  They would put their wicks in each one of the openings and light their wicks, of course the drip pan would catch the drips.  Now it has a sharp point, so they could take that and stick it up into a door frame or ceiling beam or hang it on a nail or peg.  It even could be hung over the back of a chair, so if someone was trying to read, they could hold it over the back of their chair.     Now, the oil was interesting that went in the pot.  They would use fish oil, whale oil -- if they could get whale oil, it was better.  A certain amount of whale oil, when it was burned, would give off as much light as a 60-watt electric bulb we have today.  So you can see why they preferred it. 

Now some of our candleholders that we have, this one is the favorite of everyone, which is the courting candle holder.  Now, when a young man would go to a young lady’s house to court her, her father would bring out this candle holder and set it on the table between the two young people.  He would push the candle all the way down in there and light it.  It depended on how well the father liked this young man how long he would let him stay and visit with his daughter.  So the father would light the candle, and then he would point to a ring on this.  When that candle burned down to that ring the young man had to go home.  So it was sort of like a colonial clock to tell him his time was up. 

I was wondering about the wicks in the 17th century.  They did use cotton, flax, wool, and also in the lamp sometimes they would just put an old twisted rag, so anything they had.  So I found out the wicks in the 17th century would not consume themselves, they just kept burning.  So you had this big charred mass on top of the candle and it would cause a big torch up here, which in turn caused guttering -- gutters of hot wax running down on everything.  So they had to fix it.  Now these were invented, I think they were using them in the 1500’s.  A little scissor device; they would trim off all that wick, it would go in here, and they would throw it in the fireplace.  For some reason, they called the charred mass of the wick “snuff,” so when they invented this they called it a “snuffer.”  The wick would be ensnuffed, so they would cut that off.

BURT WOLF:  “Snuff it out.”

NANCY BAKER:  Snuff it out.  That’s right.  And there was an art to this because you had to try to put it out without putting out the flame.  So you did not want to do that.  Now if they were finished with the candle for the day they would use one of these.  In the beginning it was only a cap, they had to hold it over the flame to put out the candle.  17th century is when they finally got smart and they put handles on them like we have today.  So this is the snuffer to take care of the wick’s snuff, this is the candle extinguisher to extinguish the flame. 

So, Burt, I hope that has shed some light on the subject.

BURT WOLF:  I feel very illuminated.


The years between 1720 and 1740 are often described as Virginia’s “Golden Age.” It was a time of increasing commercial prosperity and intellectual achievement. In 1732, in the middle of this period, the Francis Land House was built. It reflects the elegant lifestyle of the Virginia planters who lived here at the time.  During the summer months there are demonstrations of various household skills as they were practiced during the 1700’s.

VICKI HARVEY:  In eighteenth century Virginia when they wanted to change the color of wool which was white, usually from the sheep on the plantations, they would go out in nature and find things that they could use to dye with.  Many herbs like indigo would give you blue, or they would use something we throw away today, onion skins, and it would give us a nice bright yellow.  And what Susan is doing in the background is using an open fire and an iron pot, which acts as a mordent or a fixative to the cloth, and will also change the color.  Copper will give you a different color.  So what we have done in the very beginning is we have taken the wool from the sheep and we have washed it.  And in washing the wool it gets all the lanolin out of it and it makes it nice and fluffy.  And now we’re soaking it in water in a washtub which would’ve been made by a cooper on the plantation, and she is going to take that out and put it in the iron pot where she has some onion skins that have been boiling in some hot water.  And the color change is almost instantaneous.  These are a couple of examples of spun wool that have been dyed in onion skins.  In one case chrome was added to the water, and in another case there was copper added to the water.  And if you think you’re gonna get a different color from using red onion skins, well, that’s not true.  It’s keratin that’s in the skin and that’s what’s gonna turn everything a shade of yellow.  And any color you want today I can find for you out here on the grounds.

In eighteenth century Virginia the colonists had to make everything from nature and even their clothes.  And one of the crops grown here at The Francis Land House was flax.  And flax was used in the production of linen cloth.  If you have anything made of linen at home, it started in somebody’s field as the flax plant because you cannot get it anywhere else. 

SANDY CRAIG:  This is a flax break, it’s used to soften the stalk and break it up.  The fiber grows around the stalk on the outside of it and you can see the little tiny white pieces of stalk or “boon” on the table now.  Now we’ll go to the skutching board.  This skutching board is English style, the people who lived here were English, and this is how they would have used it.  The skutching is a good beating given to the flax to further soften the stalks and then the skutching knife scrapes the little bits of stalk that are left in the fibers.  Now we heckle the fiber or comb it.  See how the flax is getting combed as we go to the finer heckles.  This is now ready to go to the spinster, and the minute it passes from her hands onto the wheel it will become linen.  It is no longer flax.  It’s the only natural fiber that changes its name in its processing.

VICKI HARVEY:  Francis Land House has a lot of different kinds of gardens, a vegetable garden, and an herb garden and a formal garden.  Of course the vegetable garden this time of year would have great bounty for the colonists to use.  Things like marigolds which you might not think you’d use to eat with, but they did sprinkle them on their food.  And they also would begin the process of storing food.  This is the time they’re thinking about the winter and how they’re gonna keep the food preserved for those winters ahead.  From the garden they would get lots of green beans, and they would take those beans and string them on string, hang them up on the hearth, and all throughout the winter time they would be drying, and then when they got ready to use them they’d reconstitute them in water and they’d have green beans in their stews or whatever they were eating.  They would call them leather britches.  We don’t know why, we think maybe they looked like, they thought they looked like leather britches when they dried.  But they were just a very good way of preserving the beans through the winter.

And speaking of food, let’s check out some of the restaurants in Virginia Beach.  This is a picture of Angelo Serpe when he first started eating at his father’s restaurant in Italy. Clearly his father was a good cook.   And this is Angelo today cooking for his wife... his children... his grand-children... and his customers.  His restaurant is called Pasta e Pani -- Pasta and Bread -- and it has become well-known along the Virginia coast for good food and an atmosphere that makes you feel that you are in a family restaurant... which is, of course, precisely where you are.  Part of Angelo’s fame comes from a dish he calls Fettucine Hunters’ Style.  He prepares it on a wheel of cheese.

ANGELO SERPE:  I’m gonna put some garlic... some olive oil... get it a little slightly brown.  Okay, I put in the portobello mushroom... I’m gonna let it simmer for a few minutes... next will be the Marsala wine... next will be the tomato... now gonna go in the sundried tomato... gonna go in with some salt and pepper... have already the pasta... let it go for a couple of minutes... then I’m gonna go on the wheel.  Now I am gonna add some cheese.  While I’m turning the pasta, I’m scraping the cheese.  The heat from the pasta is melting the bottom and it blends in.  Now at this point I would like to put in the basil, which I’m gonna break with my hands which I feel gives better taste and it keeps nice bright color.  Okay, toss a little more... I go to dish it out...

BURT WOLF:  And that’s it: Fettucine Hunter’s Style!

And at a restaurant on the beach called Timbuktu, Chef Willie Moats is making his famous seafood cakes.

WILLIE MOATS:  Okay, we have lobster here, we have gulf shrimp and we also have the lump crabmeat. 

BURT WOLF:     All cut up.

WILLIE MOATS:  All cut up, all chopped, ready to go to make potato-chip-encrusted crab cakes.

BURT WOLF:     Show me what you do.


A half-cup each of pre-cooked crabmeat, lobster and shrimp go into a mixing bowl, followed by a tablespoon and a half of mustard... two and a half tablespoons of mayonnaise... a quarter of a teaspoon of dried parsley and a half tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce.  The next ingredients into the bowl are a half teaspoon of Tabasco sauce... a tablespoon of horseradish and a little salt and pepper.  There’s an optional moment here where some pre-packaged seafood seasoning and a Cajun spice mix are added.  If you’ve got ‘em and you like ‘em -- use ‘em!  Then an egg and four tablespoons of bread crumbs go in.  Willie is using Japanese bread crumbs, which are bigger and crispier than the standard crumb, and if you can find Japanese bread crumbs in your market, I think you’ll enjoy them.  Then everything gets mixed together... shaped into cakes that are about two inches in diameter, and rolled in flour.  The special touch is a final coating of crushed potato chips.  At which point the cakes are pan-fried in vegetable oil that has been heated to 350 degrees.  They’re cooked on each side for a few moments, and then they’re ready to serve.

Throughout its history, the development of Virginia Beach has been dominated by its relationship to the sea.  One of the ways that Virginia Beach pays tribute to that relationship is the newly expanded Virginia Marine Science Museum -- a mixture of hands-on interactive exhibits...  live animal habitats... and a 300,000 gallon aquarium.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Because of the reduction in financial support from governments, many educational institutions in the United States have been forced to reduce their staff and accordingly their educational programs, but that’s not been the case here at the Virginia Marine Science Museum.

They’ve been able to come up with a system that allows them to run the facility with a staff that is sixty percent unpaid volunteers, and it works extremely well.

C. MAC RAWLS:  We utilize on a regular basis this time of year about 325 people a week who come in and give us four hours of their time here at the museum.  Most of the things they do are to offer services to visitors out here on the floor.  It’s easy to get a smile out of a volunteer, it’s easy to get a volunteer to be excited about this place and they do a good job of selling as well as educating people.

The northern shore of Virginia Beach borders on the Chesapeake Bay.  It was the spot where in 1781, a French fleet inflicted so much damage on the British Navy that the British were unable to support the English army at Yorktown -- a tactical situation that led to the colonists winning the American Revolution.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  It’s also the place were in 1910 Eugene Ely flew an airplane off a cruiser and inaugurated the age of Naval aviation. Today the shores of the Chesapeake are home to the Oceana Naval Air Station... the United States Navy’s Master Jet Base.

In 1940 the federal government purchased a little swampland... and set up an auxiliary airfield. During the Second World War the base tripled in size. A list of the aircraft stationed at Oceana reads like a history of Naval Aviation. Their family album includes just about everything the Navy ever put on board a carrier.

Today Oceana is home base for the world’s most advanced naval aircraft and some of our nation’s most sophisticated pilots.

LT. STEVE KOEHLER:   Well, this is an anti-G suit and all the tactical jet guys wear this.  They’re filled with bladders actually... you put this on here, this plugs into the airplane and as you pull G, as you increase your, your turn and get more force of gravity, this will fill up with air and then the whole point of it is to keep the blood in your head, so rather than have it as you’re sitting down pool in your feet, you pull this, this expands and it keeps more blood in your head, keeps you awake. 

This now is the actual harness that hooks you into the ejection seat, so if in fact you do have to eject and the parachute opens this will be like a parachutist’s harness. 

And here these coat fittings is what they’re called, they hook into the top of the seat.  And those then become your risers, so this would be hooked into the parachute as you were coming down if you had to eject. 

This thing being the next piece of gear which basically has all the survival equipment in it.  This has the flotation device.  When it hits seawater, it’ll open up.  So if you’re unconscious as you hit the water, pull this bladder here and these bladders right here will inflate, and, uh, it’s supposed to keep you so that you don’t end up face down.

This thing obviously is the oxygen mask, you use as you fly, it’s also the way we communicate, the microphone’s in there as well.

LT. PAT PERRY:  So all of a sudden you’ve got about 30 pounds, maybe 20 pounds of gear which for a hot day makes it interesting.

LT. STEVE KOEHLER:  Kinda hot.

BURT WOLF:  Are the cockpits air-conditioned?

LT. PAT PERRY:  They are once you get the motors on-line, but there’s a ten minute, fifteen minute period where during the start period you’re pretty much underneath that glass and it gets pretty hot until you get everything on-line. 

LT. STEVE KOEHLER:  And that’s followed by a helmet with a visor and you’re set.

During my early twenties I served with the United States Army, but I never actually saw any combat. The only life threatening situation was the daily morning service at breakfast of chipped beef on toast. But I never forget that my right to practice whatever religion I choose, to educate myself the way I wanted to be educated, and to work every today in what is truly a free press comes directly from the men and women of the military who defend my constitutional rights -- constitutional rights, by the way, that to a great extent were written originally by people from Virginia.  So I particularly enjoyed my visit here.  And I hope you enjoyed being here with me, and that you will join us again next time as we travel around the world looking at the ORIGINS of the things that surround us. I’m Burt Wolf.