ood is drama. A good meal takes you by surprise, elates your senses, and eventually becomes part of your soul. Transformative culinary experiences are akin to getting hit by lighting; just ask Basic Bitchen author Joey Skladany.

“It’s actually a crazy story,” he says with a signature blend of understatement and intrigue. While strolling through his hometown of Naples, Florida, Skladany mixed it up with Mother Nature’s ultimate showstopper: a bolt of lightning. “It hit the tree next to me and the current traveled and just zapped the hell out of my feet. Yeah, I jumped a good – I wanna say three feet in the air. I was so disoriented; I ran the opposite direction than my house. It was one of those things where I completely blacked out. If I was hit directly, I wouldn’t be talking to you right now.” Oh, and are we ever glad he’s talking, because Skladany has so much more to dish. “I went to the ER. My feet had sores on them and were burned, but I just wanted to make sure everything else was OK and it didn’t mess me up neurologically, or mess with my heart. It’s

very typically me. My life is very high highs and very low lows. This was a very unsurprising moment.” Dismissing a brush with death as yet another life affirmation,

Skladany concludes, “In my mind, this is just God or the universe testing me, going like, ‘Yeah, bitch, you’re gonna live forever, but we’re gonna throw a lightning strike your way.’” And now it’s my turn to electrify Skladany with a question he

didn’t see coming: If you could make a meal for Beyoncé, what would it be? “That is probably the most loaded question you could ask me! I idol worship her. I wanna be cliché and say I would make her a really nice lemonade, and I would obviously do something with hot sauce. Gosh, I am most confident in my Italian cooking because I grew up around it.” Effortlessly pivoting from Bey to birthrights, Skladany

reminisces about his foodie heritage. “My great-grandma, Vincenza Albanese, may she rest in peace, passed down a lot of family recipes and just a lot of little tips and tricks. She also taught us never to go into cooking with a set recipe; it really is made with love.”

(continues on page 22)

August 2020 | @theragemonthly 21

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