Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Tortilla Chip or Spoon???

David Hall, MD was a surgeon who's office was in the same medical office building in which I used to work.  Not only did I enjoy knowing him professionally, but I had the pleasure of having him as a friend.
Occasionally, our gang would hit On the Border for happy hour on Fridays.  David would never disappoint; always making us laugh and smile with his intelligent, witty banter.  He was engaging, charming and always a gentleman.

I was frequently compelled to try to come up with something that David didn't already know.  Our friend, Yvette, and I were always in a race to see which one of us could solve his email riddles the quickest.  And his stories!  Oh, he was a story teller! My favorite one was about a midnight spelunking adventure when he was in college.  How I wish I had saved that email!

I was quite proud of myself when I discovered an unusual story about a certain wine varietal called Carmenere'.  It was made from Bordeaux grapes in the Medoc region of France until a severe drought wiped out the vineyards in 1867.  They thought that variety of grapes were lost forever, until it was discovered that an art collector from Chile' had visited the area and fallen in love with the Carmenere' wine. He had not only brought several cases of wine back home with him to Chile'--he had also imported several vines and had started growing them locally!  The Carmenere' varietal had been delivered from extinction!

David was fascinated with my find and by the accompanying story!  And, of course, I brought a bottle of Carmenere to his home for us to sample. 

It was not unusual for David and his lovely wife, Linda, to host a get together at their home.  David, who was quite adept in the culinary arts, would usually be busy in the kitchen concocting something fabulous.  On one occasion, he had whipped up some homemade Gazpacho and it was waiting on the serving bar for us to sample. There were small bowls and spoons by the side of the large serving bowl which had a ladle for the Gazpacho. 

One of our friends in attendance was Mike, a post master from Vernon, Texas.  He took a look at the Gazpacho and asked, "Where's the tortilla chips?"

His girlfriend, Stacy, was humorously annoyed and told him, "That's soup, dumbass, you eat it with a spoon!"

Well, to make a long story short--none of us could pass up this opportunity.  We found a large bag of tortilla chips and started eating the Gazpacho with them.  All of us kept complimenting David on his wonderful "Salsa".  I know he was probably frustrated with us, but he was just as amused.

Several times after that party, I would run into David in the hallway of our office building.  I would ask, "Hey, David, you got any of that yummy salsa?"

He would smile and reply, "No.  Do you have any of that Dodo Bird Wine?"

We lost David last year.  He was loved.  He is missed.  Today is David's birthday.  He would have been 64.  And today, his lovely wife, Linda, gave me his recipe for Gazpacho.  I will feature this recipe in my next cookbook I am currently working on, 'Signatures'.  I find it a fitting way to honor the memory of such a wonderful man.  You can bet I will be enjoying a glass of Carmenere' whenever I whip up a batch of David's Gazpacho! Happy Birthday, my friend.