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Honoring the Life and Work of fifi (Linda LaRose)


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The eGullet Society lost a volunteer, member, and friend yesterday when Linda LaRose passed away.

Click here for the announcement.

For the next week, we invite you to honor Linda's lasting presence on eG Forums and to share your remembrances of her love and appreciation for food, cooking, and eating.

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I loved Linda, though I'll always think of her as fifi -- such a frivolous moniker for such a brilliant woman! Fifi was a charter member of the exclusive, insufferable elite we called SSBs -- Smug Scientific Bastards. (You know who you are.) She was an SSB with a killer sense of humor, a way with a word, and the subtle scent of a lady you'd want to party with.

To her family and the lucky who were her friends, my deepest sympathy. Oh, how I wish I'd met her.

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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To quote Linda on frying chicken:

What is it about frying a bird that has so much emotional baggage? It does for me. The baggage is almost always good and lightly carried. Even in the past few years, when I resurrected the ritual, it was universally greeted by family and friends as an "event." And a good one at that. I am also beginning to suspect that Aunt Minnie's technique of fiddling around with the chicken in a clockwise manner was a way of focusing her mind on the situation at hand. Oddly enough, the last foray into frying the drumettes and employing this technique resulted in a weird experience. I was focusing on rotating the chicken but in the back of my mind, many other life decisions became clear.

*cue Twilight Zone music*

OK . . . Maybe we need a thread on the Zen of frying chicken.

Wiser words have never been spoken.

Perhaps we should all go out and buy a Le Creuset pot or, better yet, make some Chicken and Sausage Gumbo to honor Linda.

I was fortunate to host Linda just over a year ago (actually, I enlisted her help in making sausages) and the SSB that she was entertained not only my husband (also a SSB), but three kids. We laughed a lot.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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This is a very unpleasant shock for me, probably because I knew fifi only from eGullet and wasn't in touch with her. We need a crying emoticon for situations like this.

fifi was a great colleague when we were both staff members. I could always count on her and confide in her, and she worked hard.

She also made a large number of terrific posts, which speak for themselves. I could never do them justice through description, but one of the things that sticks in my mind is her attachment to and appreciation for nature. There have been many foodblogs, but only one is all about gathering wild things.

Linda was a caring person of great humanity. She stood up for her opinions but could still have not just tolerance but warm feelings for people from different backgrounds who disagreed. I'm glad to have known her and very sorry she's gone.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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While it was not a shock it is still very very sad news. I knew Fifi personally and through eGullet. Her mentoring in my early days as host were invalueable. I even owe Fifi credit to all the pictures I post here since I had purchased this camera from her. She was down to earth and modest and loved life and food. She is already sorely missed. I'd like to think she is eating sausage and cream gravy on biscuits right now. That would be heaven to her.

Rest in peace Linda.

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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Even though some of us knew that her health was failing, I still received the news as a shock. It's hard to believe that a person with such vibrant presence is dead.

I got to know her very well on-line in our related volunteer work here and also had the chance to talk to her on the phone. As Maggie said, "fifi" she both was and was not. Linda had a personality that only a fool would for take frivolous or one-dimensional. She was more like a well-seasoned 24" cast iron skillet than a bon-bon eating French poodle. She knew far more about food than all but a handful of us around here, but you'd never know it from her tone or demeanor. She was a tireless worker, particularly on behind-the-scenes stuff, the sort of work that administrators know will never be appreciated.

I'm currently in Montana helping my mother-in-law prepare a chili competition, and all I can think is "1/2 inch dice...."

I just wish that everyone who knew her in eG Forums could have heard her sudden, throaty laugh a few times before she died.

Goodbye, Linda. You'll be remembered and missed.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Aw, terrible. I sure missed her around here, and will continue to... she was very wise.

Since Linda first explained it, I never fry chicken without using the Aunt Minnie clockwise-turning method, a mention of which Susan excerpted above. What a difference it makes, to both the dish and the mind of the cook.

Priscilla

Writer, cook, & c. ● #TacoFriday observant ●  Twitter    Instagram

 

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One of my favourite things to do, when I have some free time, is work my way through older topics. It no longer surprises me when I come across one of Linda's posts and get a laugh out of it, along with some interesting tidbit. I was never lucky enough to meet her, but her personality came through in her posts.

We only had a very short time volunteering together, but it was enough for me to experience how kind and generous she was. I'm terribly sorry that we didn't have a chance to get to know each other better.

My deepest sympathy to all that knew and loved her. We'll miss you, fifi.

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Ah fooey. I hate it when such people die. Fif aka Linda always showed such humor and I especially loved her posts on dealing with cooking & shopping for 1. I never met her, but this news darkens my day.

If nothing else, the internet serves to hold the memory of Linda, her smarts, her humor and her sass. (and her steel mushroom).

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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She was a fine, feisty lady, and her posts never failed to make me smile. I'll miss her.

"Tea and cake or death! Tea and cake or death! Little Red Cookbook! Little Red Cookbook!" --Eddie Izzard
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I, too, enjoyed her posts and felt a connection with her.

Thought I was going to get to meet her.

Sadly, I was just a little too late.

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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I always enjoyed "fifi's" posts as she was what I think of as a true Texas woman, full of opinions, humor, and stories--think Molly Ivins with a skillet! Although her many posts related to cooking are memorable, in particular I am indebted to her for learning of the Top Wated Grill in San Leon, a bastion of Gulf Coast seafood well off the beaten path but well worth the 70-mile one way drive. Many time in the last two years I have loaded up my cooler to get fresh shrimp and oysters on the coast, and I always combined that with a trip to the Top Water Grill, every time with a tip of the glass to Linda for such a great recommendation! Rest in peace, friend, as we who remain cherish your memory.

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I'm very saddened to hear this news. I first met Linda at an HMNS lecture given by Stephen Coe. It was my first time meeting "live" eGulleters, and I was very nervous. Linda was the first person I introduced myself to. Her knowledge and contributions will be missed.

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I am grateful to Linda for my new found interest in foraging kindled by her wonderful 2005 egullet foodblog. My walks and drives are enriched by a "new pair of glasses". Thank you "fifi"- Linda. I will try to pass along some of your foraging wisdom and joy.

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I'm really sorry to hear this! I had actually not known about her failing health so this is really a shock to me. My best wishes to her family and friends.

"There are two things every chef needs in the kitchen: fish sauce and duck fat" - Tony Minichiello

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Yeah, I have missed her for a while myself. When I was a shy ( :biggrin: ) little lurker, fifi was the center of my attention. I even managed to register and post due to a specific post that she made.

My deepest sympathies.

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Oh, dear. I was so hoping she'd recover enough to rejoin us one day.

We corresponded some, online and offline, but I'd hoped to have the pleasure to meet her in person. She made me laugh. Judging by her appreciation of "characters" and her sense of humor, I sensed she was quite the character herself. She told hilarious stories about her aunt and grandmother fussing together in the kitchen, arguing about how to fry chicken or who was being too fiddly. She and her sister must have been just as much characters: "Pull over right here! I just spotted (fill in wild forage here)!" and nearly careening into a ditch.

I have Linda/Fifi to thank (?) for my now-expansive collection of Le Creuset cooking pots and my love of paprika. I can "hear" her now: "BWAA-HAHA...another one comes to the dark side!" And yes, now I too can make gumbo.

Rest in peace, Linda. I'll miss you. Say hello to Julia and Mabelline for me.

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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There is something in that Linda/Fifi quote that people do: they're not really writing about the food per se. They're showing you a little glimpse of their gorgeous, ordered minds, and their appreciation and respect for the process of cooking, and their love and kindness for the recipients of the food. Ostensibly they are writing about the food, but in reality they are writing about the non-violent 'collisions' of their beautiful souls with the concrete world, enabled through food & cooking. That chicken quote made me cry at work: please indulge me as I re-quote it. RIP Linda/Fifi.

- - -

"What is it about frying a bird that has so much emotional baggage? It does for me. The baggage is almost always good and lightly carried. Even in the past few years, when I resurrected the ritual, it was universally greeted by family and friends as an "event." And a good one at that. I am also beginning to suspect that Aunt Minnie's technique of fiddling around with the chicken in a clockwise manner was a way of focusing her mind on the situation at hand. Oddly enough, the last foray into frying the drumettes and employing this technique resulted in a weird experience. I was focusing on rotating the chicken but in the back of my mind, many other life decisions became clear.

*cue Twilight Zone music*

OK . . . Maybe we need a thread on the Zen of frying chicken."

"The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears, or the ocean."

--Isak Dinesen

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Our time volunteering together was short. Her passion for food, life and eG was evident in all she said to me. She will be missed.

RIP sweet fifi.

(where is that crying emoticon?)

A.

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It occurred to me not too long ago that I hadn't seen Fifi/Linda post in a very long time and I wondered what she was up to. I recall how much she was looking forward to retirement, all her plans for her new place, and foraging.

RIP.

"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

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