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.
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.”