Gourmet's ChoiceTime Out

Ron Fischer’s Foods of the World

I once asked Ron Fischer, founder of Foods of the World, what prompted him to develop which, according to the web site, is a “forum” for “bringing friends together through culinary heritage and diversity.”

This is what Ron said:

The impetus for the founding of FotW was a simple passion for the nexus of many facets of our common human experience: food, history, geography and culture. By themselves, these subjects can be rather dry; however, the human element is paramount. When you add to the mix the basic human need to survive and a built-in human desire for community and fellowship, things start to get interesting; the one thing that everyone in the world has in common is that we all need to eat, and throughout history this simple need brings people together, whether at the kitchen table or in a banquet hall. This is the beginning of many happy memories that we all have deep within our awareness, whether those memories are of preparing food or of enjoying it with other people.

Oxtail San Fermin style (Photo courtesy Ron Fischer)

Oxtail San Fermin style (Photo courtesy of Ron Fischer)

A friend of mine and I had had many good conversations about these notions, and I eventually came to a point where I decided that it would be a good thing to build an online home for these ideas and the culinary projects that they inspired. From the beginning, the intent was to provide a forum for anyone who had similar interests, where discussion could be fostered in an environment where ‘foodies’ of all levels  could both gain and share knowledge about the foods we enjoy, where they came from and how to prepare them.

One focus that is of particular interest to me is in what could be called ‘peasant food,’ which is humble food that comes directly from the land and is prepared by frugal, industrious people all over the world who have learned over the centuries to make the absolute most nutritious (an usually delicious) food from what was provided to them. These dishes have a real, true history and in many ways are quintessential, regardless of geographic location.

Home-made pastrami, photo courtesy of R. Fischer

Home-made pastrami, photo courtesy of R. Fischer

An important part of the forum concept is to provide a friendly, supportive environment that encourages productive discussion and sharing of ideas. The goal of FotW is to give someone a place to start so that she or he can actually try a project that might

have at first seemed intimidating; nothing is more frustrating or overwhelming for a new cook than to hear a bunch of esoteric, advanced-sounding terms or to read a recipe that gives very little idea as to how it should look while being prepared or when finished. We seek to mitigate those entanglements and to put nearly any dish from any place within easy reach of the culinary novice. On the other side of the coin, we want to provide a stimulating environment for more-advanced cooks with an interest in international foods or history; consequently, we are privileged to see many modern re-interpretations of older or more-traditional foods.

Ron Fischer:

Ron's Upside Down Pineapple cake

Ron’s Upside Down Pineapple cake