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. ūüė¶

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 jalape√Īos 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! ūüôā

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. ‚̧ ūüôā


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: (jalape√Īos, mushrooms, green bell pepper, sweet onion, celery, broccoli)¬†all grilled together.