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Nancy Leson Goes To Florida, Sees Wondrous Things At The Caribbean Market

My phone rang and it was Nancy Leson: "Hey, Stein, I'm sitting in the exit row of an  Alaska Airlines flight, on my way to Ft. Lauderdale and Miami," she said.

And it wasn't on just any flight. It was the famed "Salmon-30-Salmon", the airliner that looks like a fish. With jet engines.

Nance was on her way to visit her aunt in Ft. Lauderdale and, of course, do a little eating. Among other things my "Food for Thought" pard was looking forward to some authentic Cuban fare. But it was not to be.

"The thing about going to visit your aunt is that ... you don't go search out the little Cubano restaurants. No, no, no. You end up in Walmart," she said.

But all was not lost. Our reporter did get to cruise the giant Caribbean supermarket, Broward Meat and Fish Co. She saw a whole aisle devoted to rice, and lots of meat and fish, including parrotfish. 

Nance also found some stuff at the market that she'd never seen before, which in her case is saying a lot. Like what?

"Like burnt cow skin. I want someone to write in and tell me what to do with burnt cow skin," she said. No need, Ms. Leson. Here's a recipe for cow skin soup, a Jamaican favorite.

Nancy also saw sorrel — "not sorrel as we know it — the green, you know, leafy sorrel." This sorrel looked like a dried flower of some sort, says Nance, who asked a woman what to do with it. 

"And she says, 'It's to make a drink.' And I imagine it's like hibiscus," she said. "That's another thing I'm going to have to ask Dr. Google."

Later this week, Nancy is headed down to Miami in search of "some real Cuban food and to eat at some of those fancy-pants Miami restaurants." I look forward to her further report.

"Almost everything strange washes up near Miami."

–Rick Riordan

Dick Stein joined KNKX in January 1992. He retired in 2020 after three decades on air. During his storied radio career, he hosted the morning jazz show, co-hosted and produced "Food for Thought" with Nancy Leson and wrote and directed the Jimmy Jazzoid live radio musical comedies and 100 episodes of Jazz Kitchen.