The word alone can set off a myriad of feelings; none positive that I know of. Fear, pity, empathy, anger and sorrow - to name a few.
None of which this strong willed lady bought into for more than 20 minutes. After all, she said "what am I going to do, cry about it?" If you have had someone you care about in your family with Dementia Disease you know the absurdity of what it offers its' victims. Much like Alzheimer's it does not discriminate toward intellects or the amount of schooling you have had. It does not discriminate between the 55 year old or the 85 year old - it ravishes all! Often times, Dementia and Alzheimers overlap, but not always. I had the pleasure of reading an article from the New York Times recently titled "Her Memory Fading, Paula Wolfert Fights Back With Food". It touched something in me deeply. Not because I have someone I know in my family who has lost the battle to this disease, but because it stank of the beauty of humanity! People's stories always touch me deeply because....yes, I care. The food component in this story is what gave me allowance to contemplate the subject and then write about it. So for those of you who are unfamiliar with Ms. Wolfert's name, she is a woman who is renowned for writing nine cookbooks, and it is said she is the one responsible for bringing tangines, couscous, aleppo pepper and cassoulet to us in the United States. She was a world traveler with Morocco's culinary delights having heavy influence on her. Those days are gone. Ms. Wolfert had her suspicions that something was amiss with her memory. The day she woke up and went to make an omelet for breakfast for her husband, and had to ask him how to make it, was the day she knew for sure. She once understood 8 languages, she is down to only English. She has surrended 40% of the words she knew to the aethers. And, for a woman who once held the title of having an impeccable palate, she can't tell the difference between a pecan and a walnut. After 40+ years of making food and spices a part of her soul and physical world, she made the choice (when she had all her facilities) to incorporate bulletproof coffee (a combination of coffee, MCT oil or coconut oil, and grass fed butter), dark chocolate, steamed salmon, berries, and greens as a main staples in her daily food plan - a plan that she intentionally set to "save her mind". The spices she incorporates are turmeric, cinnamon and eggplant. She does not eat grains. Ms. Wolfert came up with this plan after researching her disease extensively, and talking with experts and physicians in the field of Dementia. "Unforgettable: The Bold Flavor's of Paula Wolfert's Renegade Life" is a book that will be released in April. It will include recipes and highlights from Ms. Wolfert's life; and it certainly sounds like an interesting one! She was of a time before Celebrity Chef shows and competitions, before grand marketing plans when you released a cookbook - a different breed. A generation this world will miss with passing! So, for what it's worth, I find it most interesting that a woman who commanded excellence from her ingredients and cooking style, and investigated foods around the world for decades, has boiled it down to those few ingredients to save what she can of her memory. Maybe there is a lesson in that?