Lynne Abraham discusses childhood ‘treasure’ hunting, love of Julia Child, and what makes a solid marriage


Lynne Abraham discusses her childhood penchant for trash picking, her love of Julia Child, and what makes a solid marriage.

For months, the six Democrats running for mayor of Philadelphia have been on a treadmill of public forums, debates, and meet-and-greets — chewing on a familiar slate of issues.

So, in an effort to break out of the well-worn political discourse, I’ll be having casual conversations with the candidates about their lives as well as a few pet issues in the next few weeks.

First up is former District Attorney Lynne Abraham, once dubbed a “tough cookie” for her no-nonsense approach to law enforcement. But there’s another, more private side to Abraham that the public may not know as well.

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For example, she’s an ardent cook, whipping up anything from traditional American food to French and Chinese fare. She says most people probably don’t know about her interest in cooking — or that she grew up enraptured by a particularly bombastic TV chef.

“When I was very young, I was just captivated by Julia Child,” Abraham said with a laugh, “and how she could just drop a chicken on the floor and pick it up with her clean towel and just wipe it off, put it on a plate, throw some parsley on it — and nobody in the dining room knew the difference.”

Discussing her childhood, Abraham said she grew up in a neighborhood where “everybody … was broke but we weren’t poor,” and that made her more resourceful than the average adolescent.

“I was a very accomplished trash picker,” she said. “I would go around to every house on my block and — when I was allowed to cross the street — the other blocks and just pick out trash and bring it home to my mother and say, ‘oh, treasures.’ You know, she thought I was just a strange girl.”

Abraham also talked about her late husband — former radio broadcaster Frank Ford, who died six years ago — and how she remembers her marriage.

“We were just two wonderful human beings who came together and made life extremely sweet. I miss his company and his advice,” Abraham said.

“But the fact that you have a good, solid relationship prepares you for things in the future … You build on what’s in the past, and you use that to plan for the future.”

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