September 17, 2014
Paula Wolfert has always been one of my heros. She has the best palate of anyone I've ever met, and her cookbooks are meticulously researched, beautifully written and completely reliable. I've been cooking from her books since I first discovered Couscous and other Good Food from Morocco in 1973.
But now she's doing something even more admirable: going public about the fact that she has Alzheimer's, talking about the problem, raising money for research.
She is wryly funny about the problem. "It's great to see you," she told me last Sunday at a fundraiser in her honor in Sharon, Connecticut, "although I probably won't remember it tomorrow."
It was a wonderful afternoon. The event was organized by Serge Madikians of Serevan Restaurant, who catered the lunch. This is what we ate:
Amazingly delicious smoked lamb, cooked by our host Ken Tyler. Mr. Tyler, who is one of the world's most famous art printers (he started Gemini G.E.L. in Los Angeles), turns out to be as good a cook as he is a printer. "You trying to take credit for my lamb?" he asked Serge (standing to his right).
Unusually tasty coleslaw, with cauliflower, jicama, cranberries and chayote in Arakh vinegar.
Sweetly sour roasted carrots withe pomegranate and spinach.
Eggplant, mint, labenah
Sumac-sprinkled feta with local tomatoes.
The food was fantastic. The speeches were moving. But the highlight of the day had to be the chance to wander through Ken and Marabeth Tyler's beautifully simple house, a showcase for their remarkable collection of art. Looking at a lovely little Hiroshige hanging over the bathroom sink, I had this thought: I bet Paula will remember this.
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That really is an amazing looking menu! Those thin eggplants on top of the labaneh are beautiful. It definitely reminds me of the typical wedding food spreads in the Middle East – rich, long tables, laden with the freshest seasonal offerings, in bright flavours and colours.
I had the great good fortune to meet Paula about 12 months ago via Skype when I interviewed her for her new book. We talked and laughed for well over an hour and it is a memory I cherish, even though I’m pretty sure she has lost it.
She is a remarkable women and while her memory fades, her books will always be with us.
What a wonderful day!
Nice posting Ruth, shows your good heart to write about this.
Don’t worry they are working on a cure for Alzheimer’s at this time!