I was completely shocked to hear last week that Mary Beth Lasseter, the can-do force at the Southern Foodways Alliance, had brain surgery last week. She seems invincible. This news just sucks and, like so many others, I'm wishing her a speedy recovery.
She would be the first to marshall an effort to lend a hand. In fact, she did just that after Hurricane Katrina, when she organized a bunch of well-meaning folks from across the country who came together to help rebuild a landmark restaurant, Willie Mae's Scotch House. It turned into a monumental project. That's Mary Beth, third from the right in this photo, taken in 2006, as the rebuilding was heading into the home stretch. The Scotch House has been frying its famous chicken again for a couple of years now.
This startling drop on the roller coaster of life is beyond a Hallmark moment. Sending a card isn't enough. I feel compelled to send a care package of freeze-able, comfort food-type meals: New Orleans-style red beans and rice, mac-and-cheese, clam chowder, smoked salmon pasta and a big helping of this sentiment: