Grief has a funny way of creeping up on you. I hadn’t planned on writing this post, but like the tears stinging my cheeks, and the source of my maudlin mood, the words came unexpectedly. Twenty-six years ago today the world lost pop artist Andy Warhol, and my then husband Nick Rhodes lost his dearest friend.

Toasting Andy Warhol's birthday

Toasting Andy Warhol’s birthday

Nick and I were sound asleep at the house we’d rented on Stone Canyon Rd. in Bel Air, California when the phone rang at 7:00AM February 22nd, 1987. I knew something was wrong the minute I heard my mother’s voice warning, “Julie, do not turn on the television. Andy is dead, and you need to tell Nick before he hears it elsewhere.” I felt like someone was standing on my chest pressing all the air from my lungs. I was in such shock I think I put the phone down without uttering a word.

Julie Anne & Nick Rhodes in front of our Warhol-Basquiat collaboration

Julie Anne & Nick Rhodes in front of our Warhol-Basquiat collaboration

It was one of the hardest things I ever had to do, but I gently woke Nick to relay what I’d just been told. Neither one of us could wrap our heads around it – we’d just spoken to Fred Hughes (Andy’s business manager) the night before, and he had assured us that Andy had come through the surgery with flying colors and was doing well. It had been a relief, because we knew how terrified of having the gallbladder surgery Andy had been – he endured acute pain for a long time trying to put it off. It was as if he instinctively knew that surgery would be the end.

Nick called Fred, “is it true?” I knew immediately from the tears streaming down Nick’s cheeks that denial would not shield us from the devastation any longer. “How, what…?” Andy had come through the surgery, and was stable in the intensive care unit of the hospital. We were told that during the night he’d gone into cardiac arrest, and for some unknown reason the nurse on duty did not respond in time. He should not have died, so the senselessness of “why?” made it that much harder to accept.

Hanging out with Andy at The Factory

Hanging out with Andy at The Factory

It was no secret Andy had a huge crush on Nick, but he was also a tremendous mentor, and dear friend. He was also one of my heroes – I bought my first Warhol when I was 16 years old. He was my favorite artist long before I ever met him, and he welcomed  me into the inner sanctum of The Factory, and his glamorous world the moment Nick introduced us. In fact, the Interview Magazine engagement announcement I referred to a few posts back had been at Andy’s personal behest. One of the most instantly recognizable faces of his day, rivaled only by Jackie O, and Princess Di – he was also probably the most misunderstood. In spite of his public image, he was a very kind, intelligent, down to earth person whose shy nature was often misread as eccentric (although I believe he enjoyed cultivating that misconception).

Andy Warhol, Nick & Julie Anne Rhodes

Andy Warhol, Nick & Julie Anne Rhodes

New York would never be the same again. You see, Andy didn’t just have his finger on the pulse of the New York scene – to us, he WAS the pulse of New York City. He was always our first call upon arrival, and every night was spent out on the town with him either at Odeon, or  holding court at Mr. Chows with his close friend Tina Chow, and then onto the Michael Todd room at Palladium. Nicks 21st birthday party at Studio 54, and my 25th (both arranged by Andy) are still two of the most spectacular parties I’ve ever attended. Those were heady days, I’m so grateful to have been a part of.

Message in a painting

Message in a painting

Andy also taught us a great deal about business. I’m not saying this pigheaded girl took to it like a duck to water, but much of the success I enjoy today is directly attributable to the wise advice he shared with us back then. He loved to mentor the people he cared for. The memories are smiling through the tears, but I must also honor the sadness of missing a very special friend. Thank you Andy for enriching our lives. I will miss you always.

Julie Anne Rhodes & China Chow

Julie Anne Rhodes & China Chow

Seeing Tina Chow’s gorgeous daughter, China Chow backstage at a Duran Duran concert a couple years ago also brought back some wonderful memories of those decadent years. Here’s my rendition of my of my favorite Mr. Chow dishes – Chicken Satay.

Chicken Satay

Chicken Satay

Don’t let all the ingredients scare you. It is very easy to make. The great thing about this recipe is that you can taste as you go along, and alter slightly to suit your specific taste. If you don’t care for spicy? Cut back on the Srirracha sauce. Prefer a less sweet flavor? Use less coconut sugar. If you can’t find an ingredient, others are easily substituted, or you can omit some of the spices without losing the complete integrity of the dish – just a little of the complexity.

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

Chicken

  • 1 pound chicken tenders (or the protein of your choice)
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh Thai basil or cilantro chopped
  • 2 stalks lemon grass peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 2 leaves Kafir lime or 2 teaspoons lime zest
  • 1 tablespoon ginger minced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 Thai chiles, membrane and seeds removed optional
  • 20 wooden skewers soaked in water for at least 20 minutes

Peanut Sauce

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar or dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger minced
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sriracha chili sauce or red chili flakes *see note
  • 1/2 teaspoon tumeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions

Chicken

  1. Whisk together all marinade ingredients. Add chicken tenders, toss well to coat, cover, and refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours to overnight.
  2. Prepare a hot grill or preheat broiler. Remove chicken tenders, shake off excess marinade and thread each tender onto individual soaked wooden skewers.
  3. Grill or broil chicken skewers for 2-3 minutes per side, until just cooked through. Serve hot or at room temperature drizzled with peanut sauce and more for dipping.

Peanut Sauce

  1. Add all ingredients to a food processor, and process until well combined.

Serving Suggestions

This is usually eaten on its own, straight off of the skewer, but here I served it with the Thai cucumber salad from my Jewels Turkey Jasmine Burgers. The flavors go great together.

Heat To Eat

I recommend marinating these in the refrigerator until ready to grill and eat, or freezing raw in the marinade, then defrost and grill off; or you can microwave the meat, off of the skewers, for 1 to 2 minutes.

Variations

Try making this recipe with sliced flank steak, pork, or shrimp instead of (or in addition to) the chicken.

Notes

Add chili to taste.

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  • February 22, 2013
    3:10 pm

    One of the things I love most about reading your blogs, Julie Anne, is how much you share. Your struggles, your recipes, what works, what doesn’t, and in this case, your feelings. I’ve admired your blog and Personal Chef site for a while and it’s only been recently that I have noticed your sharing to this extent. That’s what keeps me coming back. Thank you x

    @rissadee

    Reply
  • February 22, 2013
    3:48 pm

    I’m so sorry for the loss of your friend. I didn’t realize Andy died due to medical negligence. My sister passed from not being properly treated after giving birth in 1980. Knowing that it could have been so easily prevented definitely adds insult to injury. I have to believe that God only takes the best of the best early and that it was somehow meant to be, as painful as it is to those left behind. Andy left the world with an amazing legacy of art and inspiration. Thank you for sharing your personal memories of him with us who weren’t blessed to have known him.

    Reply
  • February 23, 2013
    12:45 pm

    So sad that he died when he didn’t have to. I hope his family raised holy hell after his death.

    I have the Interview magazine packed away in a box somewhere.

    How wonderful to have such great memories and to have learned so much from him.

    Reply
  • February 23, 2013
    7:47 pm

    Thank for this post. My respect to you & Nick.

    Reply
  • February 23, 2013
    10:09 pm

    It is so hard to deal with the death of someone special…I’m not sure you truly ever get over it. But one thing that really helped me after my mother passed was an interview I saw on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday with Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. He is the sweetest, most precious person I’ve ever witnessed speak. He talks with a loving, very soft-spoken hush, and truly makes you feel like he is speaking directly to your heart. I wish I could find the video of this to post here, but I can only post what it is that he said about death…I hope it can help someone as much as it helped me:

    What happens when we die?
    It’s like a cloud in the sky.
    When the cloud is no longer in the sky,
    It doesn’t mean the cloud has died.
    The cloud is continued in other forms,
    Like rain, or snow, or ice.
    So you can recognize your cloud in her new forms.
    If you are very fond of a beautiful cloud,
    And if your cloud is no longer there,
    You should not be sad.
    Your beloved cloud might have become the rain calling to you,
    “Darling. Darling. Don’t you see me in my new form?”
    And then you will not be struck with grief and despair.
    Your loved one continues always.
    Meditation helps you to recognize her continued presence
    In new forms.

    Reply
  • February 24, 2013
    9:30 am

    This was a hard read so I am so impressed with the strength it took to write it. I can’t imagine the weight and responsibility put on you to tell Nick this news when you were reeling yourself. Such a huge hole was left by his unnecessary passing but what a wealth of gifts he left.

    My favourite of his pieces was one of the more widely known pieces… Marilyn Monroe. I bought a postcard print of it when I went to New York in grade nine. It was my first chance to own something he had produced and it hung in my locker for years, on corkboards and I still have it.

    His passing was one of those that changes everything. When people like him pass, it feels like someone has just said “ok that party’s over” and there will be other parties but none like that one. I am so sorry

    Reply
  • February 24, 2013
    12:37 pm

    I can remember his death vividly. I can recall hearing of his passing, and knowing that Rachel was a fan (at that point I knew little about art in general) being more focused on music myself, how foolish of me now that I realize how hand in hand they are. I can recall approaching her at school to give her my condolences. I also remember even at your young ages, her being shaken by his passing. Now, looking back I can see what a tragic loss it was.

    My condolences to you and Nick. And my sympathies and heart breaks for the continued sorrow and loss you must feel even to this day. Thank you for this post and all that you do. xo

    Reply
  • February 26, 2013
    7:03 am

    What a brave thing to do, to write this post. I know it must be so incredibly painful to relive the hurt; thank you for sharing this with us, Jewels.

    Rachel – I completely understand how you feel – I used to collect Interview magazines because of him; it was my way of owning something of a Warhol, on a budget!

    Reply
  • February 27, 2013
    5:42 am

    Thank you for sharing this Jewels, it was beautifully written, I could feel your emotions as I read it. Even though it’s been years, I still remember that day clearly. I was in college and had some of his reprints in my apartment.

    Reply

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