So much for First World Subsistence Living, at least for 24 hours.
Last October Jay and I went to the Flavors Culinary Event in Nashville sponsored by the American Liver Foundation. We knew that there was one in Memphis in the Spring but hadn't really planned on going to it until a few weeks ago. Things sort of fell in to place (it was the kids' Spring Break, we had childcare lined up, a Confirmation Retreat meant that I didn't have to teach Confirmation that night, Jay doesn't have Monday class until 11:00) and we decided that we might regret missing given the ridiculous amount of fun that we had in Nashville last Fall.
And it did not disappoint. As always, the ALF people were lovely and wonderful. The Mid-South Division Vice President of the ALF has no reason to know who we are but she does, and she always treats us like old friends. She even listed us as sponsors for the event even though we didn't pay any more than anyone else did.
- Our chef was from '37 at Harrahs in Tunica and prepared a menu that was just unreal. Here's the rundown: Duck confit risotto with smoked duck breast and black port cherry sauce, Tomato tartar with greens and lemon vinaigrette, Cauliflower Bisque with lobster tail, Thyme crusted lamb with sauteed arugula and bordelaise, and Orange and lemon zest cookie with vanilla bean ice cream and candied macadamia nuts. Heaven.
- The LIVEr Champion this year was a woman named Amy Pollan whose husband, Benji, required a liver transplant due to Hepatitis C that he had contracted at two years old when he received a blood transfusion after a car accident. It wasn't diagnosed until he was 34. He got a transplant, the virus came BACK, he had more treatment, and they're still waiting to see if it will return again. They have two young children like Jay and I do, and it was great not only to hear their story, but to be able to thank them both personally for telling it.
- One of the major sponsors of the event was a 70-year-old retired bigwig from FedEx who received a liver last December. He was an inspiration to see. He had no problem cheering himself on and basking in the recognition he received for pouring a pile of his own money into the event. It looked like his whole transplant team was there, too. He hopped from doctor to doctor talking about how well he was feeling. It was great.
- Jay totally got pimped by the doctor who did Steve Jobs' liver transplant. It was a little annoying that he singled out Jay, who would like for people not to notice that he's a different color than everyone else, but it was still slightly cool to shake hands with the guy who replaced Steve Jobs' liver.
And of course it was great to spend time alone with the hubs. We carried our indulgence over into this morning when we went to the Trolley Stop Market for breakfast.
Oh, and Gina rocks my world. She took care of her two as well as my two, whom she treated as though they were her very own. I have a wonderful little village, I tell you.