The Last Supper

Fourteen years ago, almost to the day, I penned my very first food column for the then Daily Evening Item.Today is my last.I know, crazy, right? It’s been a good run. We’ve covered the gamut from holiday dinners (put down the “Martha Stewart Living” and step away from “The Food Network”), to seasonal specialties and important things like why some have an odorific relationship with asparagus (it’s the mercaptan). We’ve had fun with Halloween (Phlegm brulee and deadman’s meatloaf – don’t forget the butter knife in the heart and the ketchup spatter); and we’ve tackled some serious subjects like diabetes, heart health and even the loss of a good friend.My favorite column will always be the one that still hangs over my desk, “What are We Eating Food Girl,” a tribute to my muse, who I still miss.Barry’s favorite afternoon pastime would be to wander casually into the newsroom (from the advertising department), pull up a chair between Jill and me and think up local or semi-local things we could try and then write about (like the cheesecakes at Bernies, the salsa from Marblehead or the whoopie pies from Maine). Or he would tell us about which restaurant he went to and what he ate, which seldom included fancy fare. He was a diner-BBQ-dive-lobster shack or Rossetti’s-on-the-beach kind of guy.It was often the best part of the day.Next to election night (nothing beats election night) writing for you was probably the best part of this job. Don’t get me wrong, I love the other stuff, you know, news reporting. I’ve covered some interesting and offbeat things, but this is where I get to speak my mind, be snarky and sometimes troublesome (I irritated vegans and some from the Jewish faith early in my career – sorry). You’ve met my family and friends and colleagues over the years and even one of my cats, Jazz.But what really made it fun was your feedback. You guys crack me up. I have loved your handwritten notes (not all nice but sometimes with recipes included), emails, phone calls and comments on the street. I particularly love how few of you seem to have any qualms telling me how much you dislike my headshot at any given time. I’m going to be honest, I have never, in all these years, figured out what to say when you say things like “Wow, you are so much better looking than your headshot,” or “That headshot of yours is horrible, why don’t they give you a new one?””Thank you, I guess,” or “I’m sorry” were my two standard replies, but no worries, it always made me laugh.I think my favorite picture actually ran a few years ago when I wrote about donuts and Sean replaced my headshot with Homer Simpson. Now that was funny.I particularly love those of you who tell me you don’t cook, but you read the column anyway. That’s the great thing about this column, no test. I never once showed up at anyone’s house and demanded they whip me up the previous week’s recipe. Although Maria did call me recently to ask when I was going to make Cynthia Fordham’s portable apple pies so she could have one. I’ll get right on that.Since I learned two weeks ago that this would be my last column, I’ve had lots of advice on what it should be. John thought it should be “the last course” and focus on desserts, someone else thought it should be my favorite recipes from over the years (too hard) or my tried and true ones, but I liked my colleague Sarah’s idea best, “The Last Supper.” Not the one Jesus and his friends ate, that would essentially be figs, olives and flatbread. Rather, my last supper.It would probably start off with a small charcuterie (my only fancy word, cheese, cured meats, dried apricots, pickles, olives and a good loaf of French bread). It would also include strawberry ice cream, a pitcher of iced tea, a good bottle of Reisling and a long afternoon because I’d want time to relish it – just like I’ve relished this space for the last 14 years.It’s been a great ride. Thank you Peter, and my thanks to all of you. I leave you with my mom’s sage advice: “You are wha

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