Make it HOT!!! (Remembering & Honoring Mr. Richard Neal)

Make it HOT!!!

I love comida picante (hot and spicy foods), but typically Chilean food is not very spicy. 😦

When cooking in Chile I compensate relative to my desire for hot dishes by adding lots of pepper and merken (a traditional Chilean spice) to my food (see above scrambled eggs with black pepper).  However, the local grocery story is starting to carry more “international” food item from the other Americas.  I scored these two babies pictured below today at the grocery.  It’s not very often that we get fresh jalapeños in, so I snatched me up these hot peppers real quick.

Additionally, I almost turned a backflip out of joy when I saw bottles of Mc.Ilhenny Tabasco salsa.  I remember my mentor, Mr. Richard Neal would always carry a bottle of this product in his suit jacket pocket.  No matter how fancy the conference or dinner affair he had no reservations, with the cool of James Bond 007, reaching for his inside coat pocket to access his Tabasco sauce and discreetly dab a few drops on his meals.  Those were the days! 🙂

I honor and dedicate this particular post today to Mr. Richard Neal who passed away last summer, but was a role model and mentor to me and so many minority students, faculty, and staff during this long and distinguished tenure at the University of Akron.  I know God had a special reward when you arrived as you have blessed so many people and played such a big role in the successes I’ve had as a professional and now doctoral candidate.   Thanks Mr. Neal.


Mr. Richard Neal

Who Mr. Neal was to so many students

I spent the majority of my undergraduate work-study days in the EEO/AA office working for Mr. Neal and Mrs. Kalavity his secretary who became the godmother of my daughter.  Mr. Neal was always a very quiet and classy man with a heart for black people and always looked to help minority students succeed at the University of Akron.  I graduated with a science degree and hated working in the laboratory at a major company near Akron.  I asked Mr. Neal if he could help me find something else as I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life doing boring chemical test of commercial products.  He offered me a temporary position that was being created by the then University President Dr. William V. Muse (another on of my mentors), as the coordinator of the Peer Counseling program designed to recruit and matriculate struggling minority students at the University.  It subsequently turned into a full-time administrative faculty position.  The program I headed was a novel concept that identified successful minority students who would mentor and monitor the academic, social, cultural, and personal development of students during their first 2 years at the University (much like Mr. Neal).  The program became a model success both locally and nationally and propelled me on my trajectory toward adult learning and development.  Although himself a highly respected educator, Mr. Neal never lost sight of his roots and desire to help the less fortunate in the community.  I am sure he had no idea how many students’ lives he affected in the most positive of ways while here on this earth’s plane, but I am confident he certainly knows it now at this point, and here is my small contribution to that knowledge and “shoutout” to Mr. Neal. ❤ 🙂


The meal ended up being so delicious I wish I could share it over the blog: Blackened Merken chicken breast cubed over angel hair pasta in a soy sauce base plus: (jalapeños, mushrooms, green bell pepper, sweet onion, celery, broccoli) all grilled together.

4 thoughts on “Make it HOT!!! (Remembering & Honoring Mr. Richard Neal)

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