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A Birthday Soufflé For Rich

A Birthday Soufflé For Rich

In what seems like several lifetimes ago, a young girl named Linda (that would be me) met a young fellow named Rich who was not only handsome, but kind, funny, smart and loving – and he knew how to dance really well too.  Top-2 Fate threw them together that first night, but it didn’t take them long to realize they were meant for each other.

She baked him a chocolate soufflé early on in the relationship, despite the fact that she was as adept in the kitchen as a pig trying to fly. Which is to say, she didn’t know a sieve from a spatula. Attempting a soufflé when you’ve never even made a cake is like asking a baby to run before she takes her first steps. So in this case, her good intentions fell flat – literally. The soufflé never rose, but instead sank to the bottom of the dish. Nonetheless, she scooped out a piece of the chocolate mess and presented it to her beau, whose immediate reply was an auspicious hint at the generosity that was to mark his relationship to her for the rest of their lives:   “Wow, these are the best brownies I’ve ever eaten,”  he said. January 2009 1-28-2009 8-20-25 The soufflé debacle did little to squash his love for her, nor for her desire to cook for him again. Eleven months after they met, they walked down the aisle to start their lives as a married couple where she had a daily reason for improving her culinary skills. Rich and Linda - April 11, 1970Forty years of marriage, two children and many soufflés later, Rich always had a soft spot in his heart for her cooking, whether it was a fancy feast or a humble stew. When she started her food blog, he was the biggest booster of Ciao Chow Linda, emailing blog posts to friends and former colleagues. But regular readers have noticed that the blog came to a halt for a couple of months, a short while after Rich was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and Linda’s world also stood still. Only two months after the diagnosis – coincidentally and symbolically on her birthday, Oct. 21 – the horrible disease claimed the life of a beloved father and husband.Prospero family He was a man who touched the lives of so many, not just his immediate family and friends. He was an engineer who will long be remembered by business colleagues who admired his skill and enjoyed his sense of humor; by high school students he mentored in robotics for many years and helped them win a national championship last year; by neighbors who benefitted from his fix-it skills and advice; by strangers whose day was graced by his helpful gestures and friendly smile;  and even by the birds and squirrels who still come looking for his handouts. In short, he will be missed by many. Greatly missed. Top-5 Today would have been his birthday, and we would have been celebrating with a cake, but sadly the guest of honor is not at the table to blow out the candles. Even though he’s not here physically, he’s still very much here in spirit. For a couple of months now, some of you may have been wondering why the blog had stalled. A few of you knew why the joy had vanished from my life and showed your support across the miles, even though with one exception, we’ve never met. I am so grateful for your concern and am slowly preparing to reclaim my passion of writing this blog, knowing that Rich is following me too. So dear readers, I start by sending you this soufflé recipe in my sorrow, but also in gratitude and in heartfelt tribute to a truly caring, loving man who taught me so much about life and love from the first time I met him, right up to his dying days. Happy Birthday Sweetheart   132 Richard smiling  “He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much; Who has gained the respect of intelligent men and the love of little children; Who has filled his niche and accomplished his task; Who has left the world better than he found it; Who has looked for the best in others and given the best he had; Whose life was an inspiration; Whose memory is a benediction.”  -Robert Louis Stevenson My Dearest Richard – May God Bless You and Keep You Safe Always 286 Rich says hi Arrivederci amore Chocolate Soufflé Printable recipe here Recipe from Walter Royal of Angus Barn restaurant, Raleigh, N.C. included in the book, Chefs of The Triangle, by Ann Prospero

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 3 squares unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped or grated
  • 6 eggs, separated
  • butter for greasing soufflé dish
  • 2 t. vanilla
  • powdered sugar for dusting

About two hours before serving, mix flour and 1 1/2 cups of the sugar in a 2-quart saucepan, using a wire whisk. Slowly stir in milk until smooth. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Cook one additional minute and remove from heat. Stir chocolate pieces into mixture until melted. Temper egg yolks by adding a small amount of hot mixture to yolks to gradually raise their temperature. Then very slowly add yolks to chocolate mixture, mixing well. Refrigerate until cool to lukewarm. Stir occasionally. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 2 1/2 quart soufflé dish with butter and sprinkle with a small amount of sugar. In a large bowl, beat egg whites with mixer at high speed until soft peaks form. Sprinkle in remaining 1/4 cup sugar and continue to beat until sugar is completely dissolved. Whites should stand stiff. Fold in cooled chocolate mixture 1/3 at a time. Add vanilla and mix. Pour mixture into soufflé dish, leaving one inch from the top for expansion. Bake 35 to 40 minutes until a knife inserted in mixture comes out clean. When soufflé is done, sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve immediately.

This Post Has 64 Comments
  1. Linda, I'm terribly that you lost your love of your life but he's resting now, looking down on you and if you will, your guardian angel.

    Thanks for sharing the souffle memory ans do share more about your husband.

  2. I'm so sorry to learn that your husband isn't by your side anymore. You were a harmonious looking couple.

    A beautiful soufflé and a lovely way to remember him.



  3. what a beautiful tribute for two beautiful people. You and Rich were and remained so strikingly handsome and attractive and the beauty of your love has touched me deeply – I am so very sorry for your loss.

  4. I'm so sorry to read the news about your dear husband, Linda. Your tribute brought a tear to my eye. You and your family are in my prayers.

  5. I was happy to see you writing again. We are so glad that we had the opportunity to meet Rich and get to know how smart and kind he was. He was the Best of the Best.

    Happy Birthday to him. Hope you make many more souffles.
    Love, Stacey

  6. Linda, You have been in my thoughts for months now I'm so happy to hear your voice again friend. What a beautiful tribute to a beautiful man, I needed to get the box of kleenex out when I was reading it. Rich would be so proud of you that you're reclaiming your passion back for writing, and we your loyal followers and friends are very thankful.
    A warm hug to you and a welcome back.
    BTW, You two were a stunning couple!

  7. Linda-my heart breaks for you. I love your tribute to this wonderful man and know that there are so many of us who will keep you in our thoughts.

  8. How beautiful to start writing again for Rich. (I love the "brownie" line! That is indeed a sweet memory.) I smiled through the post as tears came from everywhere – but my tears came from love. And I tear often at unabashed love. And that's what shone through – your love, Rich's love, growing together love, family love, community love and not unfitting – a wee bit of food love. The Stevenson quote is a celebration. I shall toast Rich tonight as it is fitting that his loving life continues to be celebrated.

  9. Linda, I had been wondering what was going on as the last post was the loss of your beloved Rocky and couldn't figure out so today when I saw a new post I jumped on my chair only to sink in a deep black hole while reading. First a smile across my face seeing you both young and happy and carefree and then as I kept on reading my head started spinning, I can't believe it yet it's real.
    Blogland is a place where even if you never a met a person you get so close and affectionate and I feel so very sorry as if I knew you both and lost a friend.
    Please accept my sincere condolences and may Rich rest in peace in God's embrace.

  10. Tears rolling down my cheeks. I'm so sorry Linda. Rich was truly a class act, warm, generous and funny. So glad I got to meet him. Wish I could give you a hug. –Kim Frick

  11. Linda… I have been missing you and thought perhaps you had been traveling…
    I was so happy to see a post from you. I am so sorry to see that this was the reason for your absence.
    I sit here with tears rolling down my cheeks knowing there are no words that can offer real comfort at a time like this.
    You can see the love in both of your eyes in the pictures you shared.
    I send you my deepest condolences…and warm hugs…
    Happy Birthday Rich!

  12. I am so sorry to hear of your loss. Though we have never met; I have enjoyed reading your blog for sometime now. This post is an moving tribute to your husband and your life together. Thank you for sharing your story with us.

  13. Oh Linda, I am so sorry to hear of your loss. Your tribute has touched me in so many ways and I write this through a blur of tears. Our loved ones are never truely gone as they live in our memories, hearts and minds forever. My own mum died when I was nine and I still to this day talk to her in my prayers and daily thoughts. I hope you too, can find this comfort. May God bless you and your dear family.

  14. Linda, I'm so sorry to hear of the loss of your husband. I have enjoyed your blog for some time now and was excited with the new post until I continued reading. What a lovely tribute to him though. My heartfelt condolences

  15. I know it wasn't your intention to sadden your readers but I must say this post brought me to tears. Rich sounds like an exceptional man and it's evident you shared a beautiful and strong bond and 40 years of wedded bliss. Not many people today can say that. I know that doesn't help in your loss, but blogging does — so keep reaching out and we'll be here.

  16. Linda, I am so very sorry – what a wonderful man – I know how much he will be missed. I am shocked and very saddened but also deeply touched by your tribute to Rich. I will keep you in my prayers. Jen

  17. Linda, so sorry to hear about your loss. I shed a tear for you too. This is such a lovely tribute to the man of your life. No matter what happens, love endures …you will see him again in the future when God shall wipe away every tear from our eyes and there will be no death, nor sorrow, nor pain …

  18. Oh my. I have my list of cooking blogs I read each day and I couldn't help but wonder where you've been. I am so sorry about your loss. What a beautiful post about and for him.

  19. A truly loving, moving, and delicious tribute to a wonderful guy.
    We'll miss him too.
    Jan and Dave

  20. I know many readers feel sadness at your post, but what I read is how lucky you were to have experienced true love for 40 years. Your Richard sounds divine….just exactly what you deserve.

    Your post makes me realize how lucky I am too to have a husband I love dearly. I will make him this chocolate soufflé and tell him about you (though he already knows about you because I showed him your recent cat post).

    And also Linda, you are lovely now, but you were a knockout in your 20s!!! It was so nice to see pictures from your youth 🙂

  21. I am sitting here with tears rolling down my cheeks. I am sorry to hear of the loss of such an important man in your life and the lives of your children. What a special birthday and way to celebrate it. Thank you for allowing him (as well as you) into our lives. You have made us the richer for it.

  22. Dear Linda, my family and I have terrific memories of the time we all spent together in Pettoranello years ago. Your post is a wonderful tribute to Rich and to your love for him. May God bless you and your beautiful children. Please come back to Italy to see us whenever you can. My mom and dad would be very happy to see you again. Love, Rita (Camillo and Enza's daughter)

  23. Linda, I am so sorry for your loss, but you have beautiful memories of a loving husband. I don't know you but ears are streaming down my cheek as I write this. A wonderful reflection of a life together. Please keep on blogging.

  24. So very sorry to read this and I wish you and your family strength through this very difficult time. And times don't get much more difficult than this. Sending you love from across The Pond.

  25. Oh, Linda, I am so sorry. I thought maybe you had just taken a little blogging break. My heart sank as I read this post. This is a beautiful tribute to him! I hope you will be back to blogging and I hope you find peace and happiness in what life brings. Prayers are going out yo you and your family.

  26. ciao Linda un abbraccio forte forte e questo soufflè sicuramente è molto speciale un bacio Lucia

  27. What a heart wrenching time you must have had. As a person with family members passing away with cancer, I have an inkling of what you experienced. At the end, even if it's difficult letting go, we know they will no longer be suffering so much. My condolences to you and your family. You have so many beautiful memories, cherish them.

  28. I am so very very sorry to read this post and for your loss. He sounds like a wonderful man. I did wonder if all was well, checking back every few days but had no idea. (I have lurked for a while, not sure I have ever commented.) My thoughts and prayer will be with your family.


  29. Linda, I was deeply saddened to learn of the loss of your dear Rich. Thank you for sharing your beautiful story and photos. May you draw strength and comfort from your many treasured memories. I will be keeping you in my thoughts,

  30. I am so sorry for your loss. Thank you for being brave enough to post this tribute and to share your life with us. I am sure Rocky was there to meet Rich on the other side and is purring in his lap now.

  31. Linda,
    I have missed you for the past few months. I'm very sorry to hear of your loss. I hope your love of cooking and passion for life help you through these difficult times. I will attempt to make the souffle with love and kind thoughts in my heart for you. If it flops, I will enjoy it as a brownie with an equal amount of adoration.

  32. His face was kind and gentle and his smile was endearing; I am so touched by your post and regret that you lost him; hope you can think of all the happy moments and focus on that. You were a lovely couple.

  33. I had absolutely no idea. I was smiling at your beautiful photos, and then… and then, my eyes welled up with tears. While I've never met you, you've become a foodie family member to me.
    I'm so very sorry to hear this news. I pray for you and your family to find comfort and healing at this very difficult time. Be well, and see you when you are ready.

  34. Funny, I was thinking of you the other day as I made the Osso Bucco. I had wondered where your wonderful blog had gone. I am so very sorry for your loss.

  35. I am so sorry for your loss, Linda. What a beautiful post and tribute to your soul mate. The last two months must have been so hard, but Rich had you and your beautiful family by his side to the end, and now the beginning of a life rich with memories and family must keep you going. Blessings to you and yours. It is good to hear your voice again and to share this bittersweet dessert.

  36. Oh Dear Linda – I am so sorry for your loss. I've stopped by several times only to see Rocky again. I hope returning to blogging brings you comfort. Your tribute is simultaneously sweet and heartbreaking. And your photos together are touching and so lovely.

  37. Oh Linda, I am so deeply sorry for your loss; am wishing you strength and comfort in these difficult times. Thank you for sharing so candidly your life with us all. Un abbraccio forte.

  38. Oh I am so sorry for your loss. This has been a tough year for losing loved ones. In July my husband's brother died at the age of 50 and September 24th our cat Kramer past on.
    Your tribute was beautiful and so touching.
    Thank you for sharing such a special recipe.

  39. What a beautiful post and memories of our husband. I am terribly sorry for your loss. While I don't even know you, I feel just by reading your post, your love and sadness. I wish you and your family peace.

  40. Mi dispiace davvero tanto per la tua perdita. Ma dicono che bisogna pensare a quanto si è stati fortunati ad avere qualcuno da amare per tanto tempo, non al fatto che lo si è perso. Spero tu ci riesca.
    Un abbraccio.

  41. Linda and Family,
    I am so sorry for your loss. May loving memories Rich warm your hearts at this time. Your tribute was beautiful and made me cry. God bless and keep you all as I know your husband is sitting on your shoulder as an angel watching over you and your family.

  42. Ahh loss always the down side of love, the price we pay for such happiness. You write so beautifully of your lovely husband, I am saddened for your loss. What a legacy

  43. Oh Linda, I just decided to take a peek at your blog and was so saddened to hear about the loss of your loving husband…I am so sorry, yet I really enjoyed your beautiful tribute to him, to your love and life together…

  44. Wow, Linda. I just teared up in my cubicle at work. Your photographs are incredible, and I'm sure only a sliver of the memories. Happy Birthday Rich!

  45. Linda,
    So sorry to hear about your husband. My prayers go out to you and your family.
    Thank you for sharing your beautiful love story and pictures, which brought a tear to my eye.

  46. I am so very sorry for your loss.

    My hubs was lucky, they found the tumor when it was still benign and removed his pancreas. It's such a scary and fast disease.

    What a beautiful story and tribute to your beloved.

    So glad to see you writing (and cooking) again.

  47. I feel horrible that I missed this news, Linda. Your post has my heart heavy and tears rolling down my face. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  48. Oh Linda, Th is at once so ad, and yet so full of joy. What a lovely tribute. Seeing the photos of you two together, the love shows through. I am so very sorry he is gone. Thank you for sharing this story.

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