The most ancient way we humanoids ate anything was
raw. Its hard to imagine a time B.C.,
much less B.F. (before fire).
Well, actually, there was already fire. Along with
Earth, Wind and such. But cooking with fire
didnt happen for a long time after we started
There is a new/old food trend and Ive been
asked to be a part of it. It all happened very innocently
when a nice guest called me from her beautiful home
outside L.A. to tell me that she and her husband
wanted to return to dine at NORMANS.
I remember their last visit. They were strict vegetarians.
I assumed they would want to continue their pleasure
of dining in this fashion while also enjoying another
passion they embrace as well as anyone Ive
ever known - fine wines! It is not unusual for them
to have a little dinner party and drink over $10,000.00
worth of vino. Such is life. For a few! But as we
discussed their coming here she let me know that
she and her husband had gone well beyond not eating
meat, fish, dairy, eggs etc. they now only
eat food that is raw. Hold on. Im not
saying raw fish and so on. Remember they dont
eat fish. Heres a little Iron Chef
challenge for you closet sous chefs. Devise
a menu with six courses where all of the food must
be raw. They came twice the week they were in town.
So I had the pleasure of their company on two separate
evenings with two completely different menus. I
must tell you I have never spent more time not
cooking for guests!
Heres one of the rules. You can heat the food
up to about 100 degrees. Thats it. After that
the raw foodies claim that the nutritional
value of the food is ruined. 100 degrees is not
much. I racked my brains for ways to give them food
that they never had before. At the end of it all
a few weeks later I received a phone call from The
New York Times. The word had gotten out that I had
cooked this meal and that our guests had also dined
similarly at Charlie Trotters in Chicago and
The French Laundry in Napa. The Times
sent out a photographer and then I really began
to worry. What if the phones started ringing with
guests who wanted me to cook this way for them?
A few did. But when we told them what we would need
to charge them they decided that eating cooked food
Im Norman Van Aken and thats my word
© by Norman Van Aken, 2001