When Katie Talbot lost her dad, John, last year, she wanted to do something to honour him, pay tribute and support a charity that helps to raise awareness of lung cancer. So, following in her dad’s footsteps, she headed to the kitchen to master John’s signature pickled onion recipe…
“Dad found cooking a bit later in life and developed a real love for it. He came up with his pickled onion recipe all by himself. He really enjoyed making it and it soon became a Christmas tradition.
Mum would get all the supplies and then he’d commandeer the kitchen for the weekend. The radio would be retuned to Absolute 80s. He’d have a few cans of his favourite beers, and off he went with the grandchildren running round his feet. Everything was just as he liked it.
He loved hearing about or watching people taste them and enjoy the ‘crunch’ and the heat. I remember one year he took great pleasure in watching one particular batch ‘blow my head off’!
My husband, Lew, also got in on the action, and made a couple of jars. Dad and Lew were great friends. They shared a love of Manchester United, 80s music, beer and cooking. When Dad died, it was Lew’s idea to make Dad’s pickled onions and sell them to show his love, honour Dad and raise money for Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation.
I think we made about 30 jars but we could have easily sold more than 50. They were in high demand from family and Dad’s friends. Lew has even been asked by some pub chains for a large batch!
I chose to support Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation to help other people, especially men, get diagnosed earlier. My dear dad was such a proud, hard-working, working-class man who never put himself or his health first.
Even though he was so smart, he couldn’t see that his symptoms were enough to get them looked at. He hated fuss and thought he was ‘alright’. By the time he was diagnosed, it had already spread to his brain.
I do believe we were given extra precious weeks with dad though. He has a massive brain seizure in early June, and we were called to hospital in the middle of night as they thought we were losing him. He went into a coma.
We spent the next 16 hours around his bedside, kissing him, hugging him, wrapping him in love and playing his favourite music. Then, he slowly started to tap his fingers to Fleetwood Mac, The Chain. From there, he regained full consciousness and we got him home to wrap him in the love of our family and hold him tight until the end.
This is why it was so important to find a charity that is working on this direct issue. Men deserve to put themselves first, and sometimes they need that extra push to do that which Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation is working hard to do. I’m really proud we’ve been able to help in a way that is really special and personal to us too.”