Image: Courtesy of Deborah Szekely.

To celebrate Deborah Szekely’s 100th birthday on May 3, 2022, we had a chat about our favorite topic: food.

What are you interested in eating lately?

My meals are very simple with not much variation. Breakfast is usually a slice of toast with orange marmalade and decaf coffee. A salad with different greens, tomato, radish, cucumber, olives, and feta cheese makes lunch. For dinner, I eat steamed veggies and some sort of protein like eggs, fish, or shrimp three times per week, or sometimes just a baked potato or sweet potato with cottage cheese. As a treat, I may order a pasta dish when I’m out and always bring half of it home for leftovers the next day. I also enjoy pad Thai with shrimp from Saffron and get it almost weekly, again only eating half so meals out are always twice the value.

What are your essential kitchen tips, shortcuts, and tools?

I no longer cook, but my best kitchen tip is to shop frequently and eat what’s in season—fresh, raw, organic fruits and vegetables.

Where do you like to frequently shop?

I go to the Hillcrest Farmers’ Market on Sundays with my helper and pick up fresh fruits and veggies for the week. I try to eat only organic, hormone-free, non-GMO, and pesticide-free foods.

Image: Courtesy of Deborah Szekely.

What are the staples that are always in your fridge or pantry?

• Seasonal fruits and veggies

• Always blueberries

• Russet and sweet potatoes

• Tomatoes

• Watermelon (when in season)

• Assorted olives

• Prunes (a healthy snack)

• Walnuts

• Matzo and soda crackers

• Cottage cheese, feta cheese, real butter (Calcium is very important at my age.)

• Decaffeinated Earl Grey tea (I avoid caffeine.)

• Dark chocolate (I enjoy the French custom of having a small piece of dark chocolate after dinner.)

What do you have in your fridge that might surprise someone?

It’s more of what I don’t have in my fridge! I don’t use salad dressing.

What steps do you take to support a sustainable food system, and why are these values important to you?

I buy local, in-season products in small quantities, only what I need so that items in my fridge or pantry don’t sit around and diminish in nutrition. I’m very aware of the time it takes for my food to get from garden to table to my stomach. Freshness is important. When I was raising my children, we had a small garden so we always had just-picked produce.

Deborah Szekely is an American philanthropist and the co-founder of Rancho La Puerta in Tecate, Mexico, a destination resort lauded and recognized around the world as the progenitor of the modern wellness resort and spa movement. She later opened the Golden Door Luxury Resort & Spa in San Marcos and the New Americans Museum in Liberty Station, and she has been extensively active in civic and charitable affairs. Most recently she authored a book, 100 Lessons from a Grasshopper, benefiting Our Green Umbrella, a long-term tree-planting and growing campaign in Tecate honoring Szekely’s 100th birthday.

Edible San Diego Issue 66 Summer 2022
Cover Image by Dave Rudie.

Published in the print edition of Edible San Diego's summer 2022 issue.

Find issue 66 online now.

No items found.
About the Contributor
No items found.