One of my first memories of Deborah Madison's cooking involves some unbelievably delicious deep-fried lemon slices. I forget if she served them with fish or fried seafood, because for me the slightly tart yet caramelized lemon slices were a revelation.
It was in Morocco or Tunisia, during one of the memorable Mediterranean food conferences that Oldways organized in the '90s. I think I can speak for all of us who had the privilege to take part in those unforgettable conferences if I stress that we learned not just from the local traditions of the places we visited but also from each other's good foods and rich talks. Since that time, I've been fortunate to consider Deborah a friend, although for too long now my husband, Costas, and I haven't seen her and her husband, Patrick. We keep discussing their second visit to our island, but her writing and traveling throughout the U.S. have delayed plans thus far. Nevertheless, we manage to keep in touch, in word and spirit, through our blogs, recipes, and the magic of the kitchen, where the communication truly begins and ends. I'm humbled that Deborah included me in the group of chefs and authors she asked to contribute to her clever and amusing What We Eat When We Eat Alone, a collection of about 100 diverse recipes, beautifully illustrated with her husband's art.