I will not see another pomegranate again without thinking of Eli and her great pomegranate cook-off. To me the event epitomized so many things about her, starting with:
- Take-no-prisoners approach to competition. As I mentioned, this was a friendly cookoff with friends. But she planned and strategized for this like Hannibal plotting his course over the Pyrenees.
- Her love of food. This came up again in my last trip with Eli to California, when we went to a vegan restaurant for lunch. As we drove away from that meal I started musing about how much healthier a vegan lifestyle was ... and she interrupted me with a very serious, "But Mari--we're foodies. Who are we kidding? We come across the best ever cheeseburger, we're gonna HAVE that cheeseburger." Touche, Eli. And the care with which she constructed the pomegranate dinner menu was proof of that--she was as obsessive about food quality as she is about the quality of projects on GlobalGiving.
- Her love of people and ability to create communities. This cookoff was a long-standing competition she had had with friends, and she and her friends had managed to create a tradition out of it and kept to it in spite of busy schedules and changing lives. She's done the same in the supply fortress at GlobalGiving. It's always been one of the things I have most admired about Eli.