Salad Days of the Pandemic
Recently I received a call from the nicest person, Laura Chavoya, a local lady who loves food, gardening and people about as much as I do. She’s a freelance writer, as am I, and wanted to interview me for Estate Life magazine. I was also fortunate to be able to provide a recipe to one of my favorite salads. I hope you enjoy!
When Clark and I married in November 2003, Pat and Gene took in my children as their own. They took me in as their own while keeping me on my toes! I loved them and I really loved Pat. I admired her, I loved hanging out with her, once we were shopping and she said, “Let’s go to a bar!” like a 21-year-old just discovering the joys of spontaneous bar visits. We went and drank and laughed and cried and bonded. We did that a lot and I miss that now so much that I ache.
Pat was diagnosed with dementia and suffered a series of strokes, starting around 2016. She was being robbed of her wit, her strength, her determination and her frankly, terrible cooking skills. We were robbed on a mom, a friend, a sounding board, a drinking buddy. Krista was robbed of her mommy. Gene was robbed of his first mate, co-pilot, best friend a nd love of his life. Seven doting young adults were robbed of their Mimi. She passed away September 20, 2018.
In April 2109, Clark and I were asked to chair the AWARE gala which raises money for organizations that provide support, care and research to Alzheimer’s caregivers and all those impacted by this horrific disease which took Pat’s life. We agreed to do it to honor Pat’s life and to call attention to the role caretakers play in this insidious disease. As part of the deal, we were asked to share our story for Estate Life magazine. The publishing and editing team of Beverly and Steve Smirnis are well-known around North Texas for supporting philanthropic organizations and the people who work for them.
I appreciate them for allowing us to tell our story and talk a bit about our beloved Pat and our wonderful family. I hope you enjoy it.
If you’d like to support Alzheimer’s causes in North Texas, please connect with the Aging Mind Foundation or AWARE.
How I Got Started as a Foodie, Maybe
In 1978, when I was in 5th grade, I imagined a multi-layer candy bar that contained caramel, dark chocolate, crispy wafers, cherry nougat and almonds. I drew a very complicated diagram of this candy bar and mailed to it Hershey, with the complete expectation that they would start selling this unnamed candy bar and I would become a famous candy bar inventor. They replied with a thanks-but-no-thanks letter and an eight-pack of Whatchamacallit candy bars. Well, part of my dream came true because I learned that someone else invented an unnamed candy bar so they just called it Whatchamacallit, which is kind of a bad name. The caramel chocolate cherry crispy wafer and almond candy bar has, to my knowledge, yet to be developed and sold.
For more than 30 years, I’ve worked in marketing and public relations for all kinds of clients – American Airlines to Taco Bell. I’ve enjoyed them all, but I’ve always exceled at the food, beverage and hospitality gigs. That led to more clients, more involvement in the industry and, eventually, it led to ownership of three restaurants which have since closed, breaking my heart.
Today, I’m an active member of Les Dames d’Escoffier, an international culinary organization for women (like Julia Child), I specialize in marketing and PR for restaurants and hotels, I’m involved in philanthropic organizations that feed people and souls. And I travel, I love to travel. I’m a mama of kids that make me a better person every day and the wife of an appreciative husband. I write because I want to, not for fame or fortune. I gave up my dream of becoming famous when Hershey rejected my candy bar idea.
“Good food is the foundation of genuine happiness.” ˜ Auguste Escoffier
I believe Monsieur Escoffier with all my heart but I know that “good” is a relative, values-based descriptive term. To many, good food can mean black truffles, brut champagne and dark chocolate. For others, good food can mean a can of Dinty Moore Beef Stew they bought at the dollar store. I’ve lived and worked in the world of fine dining and exceptional cuisine. I’ve worked with those who are hungry, food insecure and grateful for whatever morsel of calories that can get their hands on.
The Kickshaw Papers will explore the entire spectrum of good food and good places. Please come along for the ride.