Tom Steinert-Threlkeld, Grilled Cheese Lover
While writing a story about Tom Steinert-Threlkeld (following his tragic death where he was the victim of a hit and run car accident), I took a look at his Facebook page.
We weren’t FB friends, but the page is open to the public. He was an avid photographer, and the page is full of photos of things he encountered on family trips and his many cycling journeys.
Not knowing him personally, I could get a good sense of who he was from the photos he took. There’s plenty of historic homes, monuments, beaches, yard art, fall foliage and animals. He put together a bunch of photos from one of his bike trips to the Lachat farm, and posted it on YouTube — Uncovering Hidden Chicken Coops of Weston. Great music!
As I was admiring his FB photos, I came across a rather startling surprise. Tom had a photo album with pictures of me on there. He took the photos at the first and only time we ever met in person, this past spring when I was holding a Grilled Cheese demonstration at the Norfield Grange in Weston.
Oh yeah. He and another cyclist had stopped by that day and ordered a couple of my Weston Grilled Cheese sandwiches — Cheddar, Smoked Gouda, Bacon, and homemade Tomato Jam on Sourdough Bread slathered with rosemary-infused butter. I was happy to oblige, and noticed Tom seemed very interested in watching me assemble the sandwiches on the griddle. It takes time to grill them properly. You need to make sure the bread is properly toasted and the cheese is melted. As I cooked I explained what I was doing and how I made the Tomato Jam. Tom seemed enthused.
I served the guys their sandwiches and thought they were on their way, when Tom came back for a moment. “I just want to tell you, this is the best grilled cheese I ever had,” he said. I smiled so hard. As a home chef, that is exactly the kind of thing you want to hear. That’s why I was doing the demo, to share my original recipe with others. Some people paint, some sing, some dance… I cook… a little. I thanked him so much and then he and his friend were off.
I did not know at the time that he was Tom Steinert-Threlkeld, the man who had contributed numerous nature photos to my newspaper over the years. Nor did I know his background. He was a top financial and business journalist who had worked at the Fort Worth Telegram and Dallas Morning News and founded Baseline magazine. That day at the grange, all I knew was he was a guy who liked my grilled cheese. That was more than enough to make my day.
This is what Tom posted on Facebook about that day:
“Sometimes you just have to go for it. This is the Norfield Grange in Weston, where I live. Scott Magill of Westport and I started our ride at 9 a.m. this morning, here, so we would loop back at noon. For this. A grilled cheese artist at work. Her latest creation: The Weston sandwich ($8).”
A few photos he took:
As I wrote my blog today, I went back to my April 29th post about the Grilled Cheese demo, and in one of the pictures in my slideshow, there’s Tom (In orange and blue, holding an empty cup of gazpacho) in a photo captioned “Steve and I cook the Weston Grilled Cheese for hungry cyclists.” Son of a gun!
Tom was a man with a plan who enjoyed the simple pleasures of life. I wish I had known him better. We had a lot in common.
I put out a plea yesterday, asking the driver who fatally struck Tom to please come forward and turn himself in. Nothing yet. If you are reading this, and I have tagged this post so I hope you will, please do the right thing. Call Sgt. Steve Pugner at 203-744-7900.