“Just a minute  Lord!  Before you serve that fish, let me dress it up with  a sprig of these!” the bearded boy   suggested as he plucked wild herbs  from this bush.

“Anything else, Mikey?”

“Be sure to hone your knife before you cut those loaves. You don’t want to cut your finger.”

And that’s how Jesus ended up feeding five thousand instead of his motley crew.

Mikey Raney is –or was–one of the head cooks at JPUSA. Lord only knows why he was here.

Stooping over his magic pots with a long beard  and wired framed glasses, Mikey reminds me of a food wizard  who has traveled though time, gathering recipes from every corner of the world.

Many of his specialties originate  from the Silk Road, including aromatic curries and lentils. Then there’s  paprika rich goulash from Czechoslovakia,  Mideastern dishes from ancient times.  Southern  favorites such as collards, dirty rice and cornbread.

He can transform a few spices and donated food scraps into magical meals with the  help of Christi, his wife and sous chef.

Yes, this food sorcerer took a wrong turn in Tibet and ended up in Uptown, Chicago.

While cooking, Mikey would select music to play as carefully as a wine to inspire the kitchen help.

But Mikey and Christy are making their way back to Florida. I will miss them, the residents of JPUSA will miss them.

Here is a video of our taste-buds saying goodbye.



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