Tracy Dempsey's Perfect Food Day

Tracy Dempsey is known for her thoughtful sweet creations and perhaps most known for her Original Bacon Pecan Brittle. She is smart, kind and completely dedicated to mastering the art of satisfying your sweet tooth. Dempsey (headshot here was taken by Sophia Flocken) showed an early interested in food and cooking, she even was gifted an Easy Bake Oven at the age of 5. Dempsey's father took his family around the globe with his career in petroleum geology. "Early dining experiences ranging from street food in Singapore to home-cooked meals at Grandma's house in Arkansas."

Her husband's work for SRP eventually bought her to the Valley. Even with a successful teaching career, she paused her employment as an ESL instructor at ASU and studies toward a PhD in French Literature, to work for Santa Barbara Catering. In less than a year, she was hooked. She enrolled in Scottsdale Community College's Culinary Program in the Spring of 1999. In February 2001, she became the Pastry Chef at Lon's at the Hermosa Inn after impressing Executive Chef Patrick Poblete with her garam marsala pound cake with a dried fruit compote and chai tea ice cream. She's been wowing the entire eating community with her talents at Restaurant Hapa, Gregory's World Bistro, Cowboy Ciao, and most recently her own endeavor Tracy Dempsey Originals. TDO is a "retail and wholesale desserts and confections business. Presently, her desserts may be found at The House at Secret Garden, Citizen Public House and Alchemy at the Copperwynd Resort. Her packaged confections may be found at Smeeks, Urban Grocery, Wedge & Bottle, Bonne Lait, Fossil Creek Creamery, Changing Hands Bookstore and Dos Cabezas Winery."

Thank goodness for Tracy Dempsey. She's an outstanding writer, too. 

Here is her perfect food day:

Dinner: With the Bostock kitchen returned to order, a stash of sweets laid in for the Bostock boys and the back of our car filled with a few cases of wine from Dos Cabezas, Callaghan Vineyard, Lightning Ridge and Canelo Hills, we'll make tracks back to the Valley where preparations for a late dinner in the style of Greek Easter is underway at the home of our retired schoolteacher friends. Andy has been marinating a butterflied leg of lamb for a day and the grill is warming. Laurie is manning her big pan of roasted potatoes and the sauté pan of green beans and tomatoes is bubbling. The pastichio, dolmades and various side dishes await and fill the kitchen with the promise of good things to come. However, it is the bowl of avgolemono that I can't wait to tuck into and savor. It's like a big bear hug in a bowl.

It is at these times when I am reminded of a line from a tune called "Three Days" by Jane's Addiction -- "...we choose no kin but adopted strangers". It contains references to weakening family ties -- "...weakened by the lengths we travel..." all of these are right on, but this line sums up the lives of many of us in a society where it isn't unusual for a family to be spread all over the place. Growing up, I moved around a lot -- SE Asia, Europe, the US and something that my folks taught me was that family isn't only your blood relatives. Family is often the one we create along our journey. Some of the most memorable meals, trips and holidays I had as a kid were spent with our "adopted" family in Indonesia -- food and cooking always brought us together. That family lives up the road in Fountain Hills now. My blood family may be spread out all over the place (my parents have lived in Muscat, Oman for the past 10 years), but I have these other families with whom I share a common love for good food, cooking and fellowship. Food has often been an expression of love -- something that is wonderful to give to others and equally wonderful to receive. Sharing food that has been produced with love in the company of those you love -- sounds like the makings of a perfect food day to me!

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Jennifer Woods
Contact: Jennifer Woods