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Monday, July 7, 2014

A Tribute to Michele Wynn Gerhard ~ La Belle Cuisine

Years ago, I fell into a friendship that began on Southern With A Twist over some recipes I had posted and comments that were made on my blog...
"Wow! You know I love this, Lynn! When I read about your Mama making biscuits, I could picture my grandmother doing the same thing! Her biscuits were heavenly! When I would try to duplicate her efforts, I would always fall short! She'd smile and say, "Well, you're probably not holding your mouth right..." As with biscuits, so with pie crust and any other "short" dough... it takes a very light touch. Looking forward to much more from you, Lynn!" Going Back To Your Culinary Roots
And thus a friendship was formed. We found out that we had so much in common. It seemed that the more I wrote, the more we connected.
"Okay... as I was saying an hour or so ago... I LOVE your post! As you know, family culinary history is very dear to my heart! What you wrote reminds me of a long-ago 4th of July weekend spent with dear friends who helped organize a progressive party around a lake near McComb MS. It started out with Bloody Marys and went from there... Actually, there was some great food, but everyone remembered and talked about the Bloody Marys and the bottomless Daiquiri glasses served by a Delta pilot at his cabin. Apparently he was just sneaking up behind folks refilling their glasses. Best daiquiris I've ever had! And of course, a couple of the guys just HAD to have a swim across the lake. Mercy, mercy, mercy... Looking forward to your next post, Lynn!" Going Back To Your Culinary Roots
I loved the stories that we shared and the things we had in common... so much in history and food!
"Lynn, this really takes me back! I'm drooling all over myself! Actually the kind of meal you describe takes me back to Oklahoma when my grandparents had a place on Grand Lake. No crabbing there, but tons of fish! And my Grandmother Dolly had a fantastic vegetable garden. Mercy, mercy, mercy... As for the oysters and crabs, we spent some time in Colonial Beach VA, which is right at the mouth of the Potomac..... little oysters fresh out of the water, the sweetest I've ever had! I never did cook any crab in those days, but I sure did eat a lot!"  Soft Shell Crabs from Mitchum Creek
The more we connected, the more we felt connected!
"OK Lynn, I'm pretty sure your Grandmama Bradham and my grandmother were related! :)" Mama’s Date & Nut Bread
I think that her comment here is my favorite. I loved all her stories, but when she called me "Sistah!", I knew I was something special! 
"LOVE this, Sugah! Takes me straight back to long ago summers in Oklahoma with Grandmother Dolly and Granddaddy Mack! I still have vivid memories of watching her wring a chicken's neck, just the way you describe! And Granddaddy Mack cleaning squirrels and rabbits, and whatever else he might have brought home from the woods... We are soul sistahs fo' sho'! xoxoxoxo"
And a friendship bloomed, and we exchanged phone numbers. We had glorious talks on the phone! We rejoiced, complained, discussed, confided, cried, laughed and shared all manner of stories. I even sent her parts of my two books to review for me... In return, she sent me two cookbook, with a note attached...
"Read these! Look over them carefully! They are garbage! You are 100 times better than them!"
Michele was an awesome Mentor, Friend, Cook, Writer, Mother, Sistah and all around Woman! It was my PRIVILEGE to have known and loved her! I am a better person for having her in my life!

Oh how I'm gonna miss you my Sistah from another Mothah! I'll keep you in my heart Always and Forever! Until we meet again! XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOX

Please visit Michele's beloved website La Belle Cuisine and get a look at the wonderful, amazing woman that I had the privileged to get to know and love!


  1. Oh God Lynn, I am seriously sitting here in front of my computer crying like a baby! Michele was a such a light, I just don't know any other way to describe her. She was right there when I first started on Facebook. Always applauding the things I did and urging me on. I had no idea if I could do this, be a food blogger, and she was one of the first people to tell me that was a bunch of crap and that I could do anything I wanted to. I will miss her so very very much!!!

  2. That was wonderful to read. Michele was one of the first bloggers to reach out to me too. She had an amazing way of making your feel worthy of being a contributor to the cooking world. She never missed a chance to comment on the pictures I posted. This made me feel valued. I will miss her wise words and beautiful spirit. I know that she must be at peace and pain free and for that, I am grateful. She had suffered too long. Rest in Peace Michele.

  3. Michele was such a beautiful light in our world. Never wavering, always there. Thank You for sharing this with us. People think that Facebook connections aren't real. Tell that to my heart. Michele was a friend, a mentor, a confidant, and most of all, love in it's purest form. I truly cherish our friendship and will be forever grateful for her loving pushes and hugs when I so needed them most. We are blessed to have had her as a part of our lives. <3