On 9th of October 2015, I learned of the passing of my food blogging colleague Richard McGary, of Dallas Fort Worth, Texas. One could take the view that I shouldn’t have been very upset. I had never met Richard. However, in the four years I have been writing this blog, there are very few people who would have had more of an influence on me than that kind, sharing and convivial man.
When I thought of writing something about bereavement, I started to feel a bit of a fraud. Given that I never have, and now never will have, the pleasure of Richard’s company, writing of loss seemed disingenuous of me. However, those feelings don’t cover it. Over a long period of time, Richard and I conversed at least a couple of times a week. That’s more than I talk to many members of my close family. Richard gave me an education in Texan and Mexican cooking. He opened my eyes to the amazing range and subtly of flavour in those often mis-understood cuisines. I well remember the fun and excitement generated by ‘The McGary Chilli Challenge’, a wonderfully generous and entertaining competition set for Stefan and me. His fun approach to the Board Meeting posts reflected so well on his personality. My friends Stefan Kees and Mimi all got to visit with Richard and Elia, Richard’s beloved wife and the Baby Lady of pouring shot fame.
Richard’s influence has led to the repertoire in our household being expanded. We now have Masa flour, Achiote paste, a huge range of sweet, smokey and hot chilis, a tortilla press and an understanding of ingredients that otherwise would elude the average Irish cook.
But, I have much more than that. Just like one of those wonderful ‘frozen in time’ pouring shots on the REM Cooks blog, I have memories that, though now frozen in time, make me smile and have kind thoughts of Richard, my Texas food blogging buddy. R.I.P.