Once a year, I make “Gratin of Four Onions” as a side dish at holiday time. This recipe was given to me over forty years ago by my then boss and mentor, Mary Lyons. Whenever I start peeling and chopping the shallots, leeks and onions, I think of her and her invaluable contributions to my early career development. I like to call this my "Madeleine" experience, which you’ll grasp if you subscribe to the Proustian theory as I do. We all have these powerful moments of recollections of people or events from our respective pasts which are sparked by a food.
Yearly I think of the knowledge gathered at the hands of Mary who taught me the public relations profession while working as her assistant at Sopexa (Food and Wine from France). Under her tutelage I learned to (hopefully) write coherently, to think like a journalist, to never over-promise, and to be 100% honest in all matters. Thank you Mary for these enduring lessons and for this divinely, delicious recipe. Naturally, I couldn’t resist a little tinkering but this is essentially the recipe I inherited from a great lady.