Clubs Would Have Made
Pola Rosen, Ed.D.
Gene Wilder’s wife, comedienne Gilda Radnor died prematurely of
ovarian cancer, the decision was made to found a club where cancer
patients and their families could find repose, a haven to seek
solace and a shared compassion with others who were going through
similar trying times. There are now 14 clubs nationwide that are
free and open to the public.
According to founder and president Joanna Bull, one of every two
men and one of every three women will have cancer in their lifetime.
In raising money for the important work of the clubs, The Gilda
Lunches began recently, a series that incorporates the concept
of intimate conversations with interesting women.
Only 40 women are invited to a gourmet lunch at Eleven Madison
Avenue, one of Danny Meyer’s (Tabla, Gramercy Tavern and the Union
Square Café owner) wonderful restaurants featuring special menus
and contributed by Meyer as his commitment to fighting cancer.
The committee includes Matilda Cuomo and Dr. Margaret Cuomo Maier,
and Angelica Berrie, of the Russ Berrie Company, the international
At a recent gathering, Ruth Reichl regaled the group with food
tales including research
done on Phi Beta Kappa members which
indicated that the most salient common thread was the dinner that
families had together. Citing her 12-year-old son as an example,
time spent with him at dinner is more important
to him than hours spent at any other time of
Reichl brought the “good news” in these troubled times that people
are cooking again and going out less than they used to. “Cook
books are flying off the book shelves.”
Eating at home is a good thing and far too little that people
have done before, although she acknowledged that restaurants offer
us a kind of theater, a glimpse of the good life and a bit of
magic for a few hours.
When asked what advice she would give a young person wanting to
prepare for a career as a chef, she responded, “I ran a restaurant
with no previous experience [in California] and did journalism
without going to a J school.” She believes experience is the best
Future events coming up are on Friday, November 16 with Wendy
Wasserstein and Thursday, November. 19 with Linda Fairstein. For
reservations and more information: Gilda’s Club Worldwide, 322
8th Ave., Ste. 1402, 646-486-4900, 917-305-1200.
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