Home » In Loving Memory of Jeff Boyardee

In Loving Memory of Jeff Boyardee

November 9, 2020
Pumpkin Ravioli in a Creamy Alfredo Sauce
Pg. 153
Tommy, Season 1
50 down…49 to go!

I’ve been putting off this recipe for weeks. First of all, I don’t like pumpkin. I know, weird. Don’t worry, I’m a basic white girl in most other ways. I wanted to make this sooner than later to be like all my other foodie friends on the Fall food trends. However, it completely triggered me missing my dad, Jeff, who passed away almost 8 years ago. I was 19. He was my best friend. And I miss him every damn day.

What does this have to do with pumpkin ravioli? Well, my dad was an amazing cook. He loved being in the kitchen (though he could get a little cranky if I was in his way haha). My dad was sick for a good 10 years before he passed, so he didn’t work. The main thing he loved to do at home was cook. He even told me he was thinking about going to culinary school, just because he wanted to know more. Unfortunately, that dream never came to fruition.

Even though he never got to call himself a professional chef, he decided to nickname himself “Jeff Boyardee.” He even got it embroidered on an apron! Here’s the funny thing: while he was a great cook, he was dirt poor (love him, but that’s the truth) so we didn’t have many fine-food dishes. He’d save up and make us amazing steaks when he could, but we often ate cheap meals just to get by. One of the regular favorites was Chef Boyardee canned ravioli. I haven’t had it in years, but when I was preparing to make this dish, I realized I’ve only ever had canned ravioli. That got me thinking of Chef Boyardee, then Jeff Boyardee…and then all I had left was sadness.

I had never showed any interest in cooking when I was younger. Eating? Yes. I was (and still am) always hungry. But I did not care to cook anything myself. Fast forward to today, and I love cooking! It’s funny what will trigger feelings of grief. I would have never thought that cooking my way through a cookbook and documenting it on social media would make me miss my dad more than any other life event. He’s missed a lot in the last 8 years, but this one hurts different.

I think it’s because we were best buds. We had so much in common. He loved all of the same things–songs, movies, games, and I miss that so much. And now, I just want to call him and tell him what I’ve cooked. If he was alive, he’d be the first person I’d send photos to once they were edited. I would be texting him excitedly as I got my meal plan for the week, and I would face time him as I cut into my first lamb chop to show him the perfect medium rare cook-up. I miss doing life with him, and something as simple as cooking/eating with him is all I wish I could do.

Anyway, I know that was a lot of heavy stuff for a cooking blog post, but this dish is in honor of my beloved dad, Jeff Boyardee. He would have loved it (especially because that sauce was the BOMB!).

All my love,
Dani, a big tid

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  1. What an amazing tribute!!! He’s be so proud of you love!!

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