Cajun chef Paul Prudhomme passed away a few days ago
by Lesley Sudders
During the same week, I was scrutinizing our cookbook collection. It has grown over several decades, and the moment was at hand to decide what to keep, what is too used and food-spattered to keep or give away, what can be given away.
On one shelf, I found two of Prudhomme’s books. I moved them to the “undecided” stack.
Twelve to fifteen years ago, my job required staffing a booth at food shows, such as the Fancy Food Show, in various cities. I was able to meet Chef Prudhomme a few times. He was an incredibly sweet, personable man, and you could see how much people wanted to spend a moment with him. He was always unhurried, no matter how long the line of fans.
Even then, he was very heavy. He could walk short distances, but got around the mammoth convention halls on a scooter. It was rigged so that he could cook his wonderful fragrant dishes while talking to admirers. Or he could sign cookbooks.
The two books I have are personalized, one for me and one for my husband. Chef Prudhomme wasn’t a writer, exactly, yet his warmth and generosity shines through in his cookbooks, in the introduction and comments. Writers write to convey some sort of message, right? His message was often summarized as, “Good cooking, good eating, good loving.”
Hard to go wrong with that.
I confess I have not tried many of the recipes, but promised myself to do so. They sound delicious.
The two cookbooks have been relocated to the “Keeper” group. How can I part with something that is a small connection to a sweet, loving soul? Rest in peace.
Lesley Sudders has published a mystery, The Brodick Affair, writing as Les Brierfield, and is at work on her next novel and several short stories. A Colorado native, she lives in Arizona with her husband and writing collaborator Eduardo Cervino (E.C. Brierfield). Follow her blog: Les Brierfield, Author. Lesley welcomes contact at firstname.lastname@example.org.