This begins a new segment on our blog. Portrait of Foodies will offer a brief, informative overview of public figures we recognize for various achievements, but often not for their dabbling with food, good eating or cooking.
Ethan Phillips, a stage actor and playwright, was born in 1955, in Garden City, Long Island, New York. He grew up with five siblings, all of them girls. His father and grandfather were the original owners of Manhattan’s legendary Frankie and Johnnie’s Steakhouse. While Phillips did not devote much time to the family business, it is interesting to note that his most widely known on-screen role, and the one that landed him on the cover of a cookbook, was that of an alien chef who took great pleasure in feeding others.
Phillips, who played the role of chef/goodwill ambassador Neelix on Star Trek Voyager, appears proudly on the cover of The Star Trek Cookbook, which he co-authored. It offers a collection of recipes based on foods mentioned onscreen throughout the famous TV series. “Is there one food that humans, Klingons, Bajorans, and Vulcans would like? If so, what would it taste like? How would you prepare it? Could you find all the ingredients locally?” reads the Amazon.com book overview. “The favorite foods of characters from every Star Trek series and movie are here, all adapted for easy use in twentieth-century kitchens,” it continues.
In a Morton Report article, Phillips reflects on his character Neelix: “… in the show’s seven years, he [Neelix] changed and became somebody who wanted to take more pride in his accomplishments,” says Phillips. “Neelix had a big heart, you know? He was like a life-size teddy bear with a fierce determination to be of service… I’d like to think that’s something I would strive for in my own life; to have the altruism, empathy, and compassion Neelix had.”
The above-mentioned article was prefaced, quite appropriately so, with the words “Service with a smile.” Food spells compassion. The love of food goes hand in hand with love for people and good company.
NOTICE: Excerpts in italics are from Amazon.com. We strongly encourage you to stop by your local library (Varnum Memorial Library, Jeffersonville) or a local bookstore (Ebenezer Books, Johnson) to explore this and other titles. Amazon.com link is provided merely for your convenience. 158 Main & JPD are not affiliated with Amazon.