Tanya Tandoc

Friends and family of the late Tanya Tandoc hosted a memorial celebration for the Wichita chef and frequent KMUW commentator.

The recording of "Tanya Tandoc: A Celebration of Life" which took place Thursday, June 11, at the Wichita Orpheum Theatre can be played here.

More of the news coverage about Tanya's death can be found here. And all of her food commentaries can be heard or read below.

Nifty Nut House

Aug 26, 2011

I was one of those kids whose craving for candy was so intense that I would search not only my own couch cushions for loose change to buy it, but the couches of waiting rooms, neighbors’ houses, and church as well.


Aug 12, 2011

I have heard many Midwestern people complain that they don’t like the taste of curry, and therefore will not eat Indian food at all. I can relate to that, but I just find curry powder pretty boring. Curry powder itself isn’t Indian. It is an invention of the British that was made to export during their colonial occupation of India. It is a blend of coriander, turmeric, cumin, fenugreek, celery seed, and other spices. I think it’s the fenugreek that people respond negatively to—it has a weirdly earthy, sweaty smell that you either adore or find repellent.

Hot Food

Jul 29, 2011

Everything in my garden is dead. The tomatoes are crispy dead with a side of wilt. The pumpkin plants shriveled up and their lovely umbrella leaves melted away last week. This makes me really sad, because one of the only reasons to live in Kansas in the summer is eating our garden treasures. Our pug dog Lulu lives for tomato season, waiting for the blooms and little hard green tomatoes, which she harvests before they are ripe. We plant one grape tomato plant just for her. Olive, our other pug, will knock down corn plants and inch her body along the stalk to nibble the ears.

Real Chinese food is nearly impossible to find anywhere in the central United States. There is plenty of Americanized Chinese food around, most of it deep-fried, oily, and swimming in sticky sauce. Superbuffets overflowing with deep-fried meaty bits in sweet red sauce, weirdly soft beef bits in brown salty sauce, unidentifiable pork bits in clear salty goo, or broccoli, peas and carrots with tofu in spicy sweet-sour sauce sort of sum it up around here. No wonder the food police are out to get Chinese food—all that fried greasy saltiness is just irresistible to Americans.


Jul 1, 2011

Lots of people I know are texturally sensitive eaters.  They won’t eat anything slimy, bouncy, gummy, gelatinous, or spongy.  Even the idea of tapioca pudding gives them the shivers.  I once shared a meal with a friend who, on encountering a piece of sticky, chewy beef tendon in the soup, spat it out and spent the rest of the meal miserably shuddering while I ate the remainder of her pho.

Seasonal Eating

Jun 3, 2011

Our growing season in Kansas is brief and violent.  One month we have nothing but lettuce and radishes poking up through the snow and the next we are leaving giant baby-sized zucchini on the neighbor’s porch under cover of night. Eating seasonally in this area is challenging, since for eight months we have nothing at all and for four months we have too much of everything. Summer in Kansas is a tomato-basil-cucumber-pepper avalanche.  It’s fantastic for salsa lovers.

My Favorite Cookbooks

May 20, 2011

For as long as I have known how to read, I have been obsessed with cookbooks.  I read them everywhere, on the plane, in bed, and of course, by the stove.  My best cookbooks are dog-eared, splashed with sauce, and broken of spine.  They have a scratch-and-sniff quality that I find comforting. Here are a few of the books that inspire and teach me about cooking to this day.

Farmers' Markets

May 6, 2011

This is the time of the year when my thoughts turn to gardening.  It’s all about what I want to eat…not so much about the actual work of planting, weeding, tending, and harvest.  I pore over seed catalogs, plan, order, and fantasize.  It’s really mainly about the fantasizing. I am definitely not thinking about weeding when I place my orders!

Little Saigon

Apr 22, 2011

I have mentioned many times my passionate love for all Vietnamese cuisine.  I love pho, banh mi, fresh spring rolls, everything.  I could eat Vietnamese food every day and be perfectly happy.  Whenever I need comfort food I heat to one of many favorite places and immediately feel better. I have found lately that I go to one particular place more often than any other: Little Saigon.

The Stinking Rose

Apr 8, 2011

Garlic!  It’s hard for me to imagine cooking without it.  I can eat so much of it that my skin smells of it, it leaks from my pores, and I am asked to sleep on the couch.  Most people nowadays will tell you that they love garlic, too, and use it liberally when they cook.  There is even a festival named after it where you can eat crazy things like garlic ice cream (which is actually kind of addictive) and they crown a Garlic Queen.  I think I might try to have a shot at that title some day.