This week, Pat Conroy’s funeral was held on Lady’s Island near Beaufort South Carolina. He was a prolific writer and his many works included The Great Santini and The Prince of Tides. He passed away last week of Pancreatic Cancer. It was sad for me to hear of his passing and actually one of my most favorite books that he wrote was his cookbook, The Pat Conroy Cookbook. When I contemplated writing this blog several years ago, I wasn’t sure what type of subject matter I wanted to include. I strarted reading his cookbook and realized he was a “foodie” and actually I think he was the first person that I realized could assume such a wonderful title. I read his introduction to the recipes in the cookbook and I realized he had been a world traveler and shared recipes from time spent in Italy and Paris. However, I also realized his heart was in the low country of South Carolina and that was his home.
I decided at that time that I wanted to introduce Southern recipes on my blog and also Southern traditions. I did not want my blog to be a cooking blog that taught skills but a blog that shared my love for food and for the South. As I read his beautiful descriptions of food, I realized I wanted to share food that was near and dear to my heart. However, I am also very aware that I could never write as beautifully as Pat Conroy.
I have never read one of his novels in completion. However, I think that would be a great idea right now. Mr. D is listening to the audio version of his book, South of Broad. He said it is written in such a special way and has such beautiful imagery of Charleston, South Carolina. Mr. Conroy’s love for the people, places and experience of South Carolina are expressed so beautifully by him.
So we now say farewell to Mr. Conroy and also thank you for the wonderful way you had with words. This is what the Monsignor Cellini said about him at the service:
Conroy wrestled with inner demons, Cellini said.
But he likened the mystery of Conroy’s life to the ingredients of a chocolate cake. Consumed individually, none is good.
God brought together the various aspects of Conroy’s life to form something special, Cellini said.
“The beauty of Pat Conroy is in his writing,” Cellini said. “The beauty you brought to the world will live forever.”
Thank you for that Monsignor Cellini and I am sure Mr. Conroy chuckled at being compared to a chocolate cake. However, he did have a passion for food and I think that was a wonderful comparison. In the cookbook there is a chapter entitled, “Why Dying Down South Is More Fun” and he talks about how Southerners prepare food for the grieving families. I agree it can be more fun but not so much when we are grieving the loss of you. Rest In Peace and I hope you left us with the assurance your words and recipes will be with us for many years to come. Here is an except from that chapter of the cookbook:
When I make my annual visit to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina this year, I am sure when I see that sign to Beaufort, South Carolina I will think of you and your passion for words, food and life. You will be missed.