Introducing Andrew Grygus and Clove Garden

While I’m waiting for my website host to finish upgrading the server that all my photos are on, I’ve got another co-author to introduce. (If you’re starting to think I had a lot of help on the new book, you’d be right. Follow that link to get a free chapter, and to be notified when the book is done and available to order.)

Today I’m happy to introduce Andrew Grygus, the man behind Clove Garden, the best-researched, most thoroughly documented food site I’ve ever seen. You’ll see a note on the front page saying he’s still building the site, so you’ll find some missing pages. But what’s there is mind-boggling, especially when you consider every single bit of it comes from Andrew. Don’t go to his site unless you’ve got several hours you can spare to lose.

So who is Andrew?

Andrew was born in the spring of 1943 in Greenwich Village, New York, to Herman Grygus, a musician, engineer and wanabe farmer; and Isobel Burzycki, a farm girl. The family soon moved to Pennsylvania, then to a small semi-abandoned farm in the back woods of New Jersey. Andrew received his entire primary education in the four room school in the nearby hamlet of Bloomsbury.

During these early years Andrew showed a great interest in classical literature, but, alas, the Russians launched Sputnik, and he was drafted to become a scientist. Despite an intense interest in things scientific, he was not at all compatible with the rigor and specialization required of a successful scientist, a fact completely disregarded by the education system.

Andrew finished middle school and high school in Burbank California, then went on to some college, until he and organized education finally parted on grounds of unreconcilable differences.

For the next 20 years Andrew worked as a manufacturing engineer, cost estimator, production planner and in audit defense, but at home he was studying food and cooking, as well as Shamanism, Tibetan Buddhism and ceremonial magic. During this period he became a vegetarian — OK, substantially a vegetarian, though certainly never an “ethical vegetarian”. This lasted for about 10 years until he became intensely interested in ethnic cuisines and food research.

In the mid-1980s the aerospace industry in California collapsed, but Andrew had already founded Automation Access, the semi-successful computer consulting business he runs to this day. Being unmarried and without children he was able to continue his study of food on the side, and amassed an impressive collection of ethnic and international cookbooks.

In recent years he has been working intensively on the Clove Garden site as the foundation for a future business involving food and cooking — against the inevitable day when he has to bail out of the consulting business.

Quite a bit of what I have written is informed by references I found on Andrew’s site. His main contribution to the book is seafood, plus something a bit more … “exotic”, which I’ll leave as a surprise. Until then, go get the sample chapter.