Friday June 01, 2012 | 12:04 PM

My colleague Karen eats radishes raw at her desk sometimes - often with the same hand-to-mouth enthusiasm I used to save for Goldfish crackers.

I figured she must be onto something, some root vegetable delight that I'd never had the pleasure of knowing, so I tried one.

It was expectedly crisp. And unexpectedly hot. (I'm Finnish, folks. And my people are sensitive to food that's any spicier than a potato.) I didn't beg Karen for more. I didn't set a small fire in the lunchroom to distract her, like I might be inclined to do if I actually wanted to steal the bag of remaining radishes from her desk. Radishes and I just didn't click.

Thursday May 10, 2012 | 04:32 PM

I've met nutmeg before. We're both fans of cold-weather cocktails like hot buttered rum and mulled cider. But I'd only ever come face-to-face with the ground-up stuff that's sold in cylinders at the grocery store.

But I happened to stumble across some whole nutmeg in the Aurora Provisions kitchen recently. (I swear I didn't break in and that Chef Marion Bannon was supervising.) The whole version - before it's ground into dust - actually looks quite like a nut.

nutmegwhole_570.jpg

And inside, it looks quite like a brain. But then I think everything looks like a brain.

Thursday May 10, 2012 | 04:30 PM

This is a head of cauliflower:

cauliflower_head.jpg

You might recall cauliflower as a cerebrum-like vegetable that your mom used to boil into limp submission a few nights a month. Perhaps she covered it in Velveeta in an attempt to hide the mishap. (And by "your mom" I mean your mom, not mine. My mom was too busy pulling burnt Wheat Thins from the toaster oven to do much damage to heads of cauliflower or anything else.)

Most Americans are familiar with the stuff - and how to steam the dickens out of it.

Thursday May 10, 2012 | 04:28 PM

Holy halibut. I just bought fish.

Perhaps that's not earth-shattering news to you - someone who probably eats fish and knows how to cook it - but for me, today was a life-changer.

With help from Chris at Browne Trading Market on Commercial Street in Portland, I decided to buy halibut. Chris recommended it for multiple reasons (The season's short, he said, so take advantage. And Halibut isn't as oily as, say, salmon, and a higher oil content is what gives fish that "fishy" taste), and when you don't know what you're doing, it's typically wise to take advice. At least that's what I've heard.

Thursday May 10, 2012 | 04:28 PM

Holy halibut. I just bought fish.

Perhaps that's not earth-shattering news to you - someone who probably eats fish and knows how to cook it - but for me, today was a life-changer.

With help from Chris at Browne Trading Market on Commercial Street in Portland, I decided to buy halibut. Chris recommended it for multiple reasons (The season's short, he said, so take advantage. And Halibut isn't as oily as, say, salmon, and a higher oil content is what gives fish that "fishy" taste), and when you don't know what you're doing, it's typically wise to take advice. At least that's what I've heard.