Year of the Horse
2014 brought many things for many of my friends and family:
For my friend Daniel, it brought about the loss of his dear friend James Foley, who was killed in Syria on August 19th. He wrote a poem that I get glimpses of regularly as I go about my day — true love. True friendship. True brotherhood. In the Absence of Sparrows. Published by the venerable Academy of American Poets.
For my sister, it meant a wedding. A raucous, wonderful joining of two of the kindest and best people I know. Congratulations to Mariposa and Corey, I'm excited for your next adventures!
I went to Eat Retreat and I remembered all the things that were true to me about food and people. Everything rooted in will and goodness. I brought back the maxim "Food Creates Family." And, a ton of wonderful friends from what felt like the best summer camp on earth. I learned and tasted so much. I got to know people of kindness and substance. I'm better for having participated.
Our BFF Isaac Fitzgerald made the book Pen & Ink with his BFF Wendy MacNaughton. It's the definitive guide to why ink up and the story of tattoos.
I was part of the start-up team for our neighborhood merchants association. And our little restaurant won a Small Business Week Award from the Mayor!
We participated in Indie Chefs Week in SoCal. It was a blast. So many different perspectives on cooking. So many techniques. And, of course, so much talent. We were lucky enough to cook in our dear friend Carlos' kitchen at Taco María, and spend the weekend with our bestie Emilie.
And, we had such a great time, that we signed up for the next Indie Chefs Week in Austin. I finally got a chance to see James McMurtry live and eat Frito Pie. Pretty complete. 30 Chefs. 1 kitchen. An incredible week. Huge thanks to the good folks at Foreign & Domestic for creating such a convening and hosting us in such a special restaurant.
I returned to my alma mater, Western Michigan University, and humbly received an Alumni Achievement Award. As a bonus, I saw my college roommate Nancy, my cousin, a host of influential mentors, and a dear friend and former professor, Lyda. Ever an inspiration.