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Remembering Tim: A Mentor, Friend, and Culinary Extraordinaire

In the story of our lives, there are special moments and people that leave a lasting impact. One of those people for me was Tim, a family friend and coworker who became like an uncle to me. I met Tim when I was 15, and little did I know how much he would shape my views on friendship, food, work, and the joy of sharing life’s moments by capturing everything with my camera.
Tim had a contagious laugh and a warm heart, leaving a lasting impression on everyone lucky enough to know him. In 2020, we said goodbye to this incredible soul, but his memory lives on. Tim was dedicated to his community, friends, photography, cooking, and enjoying simple pleasures like fishing with his beloved dog Jack.
For more than 30 years, Tim worked in the food industry, not just as a seasoned professional but as a masterful mentor. He played a crucial role in my first real job at a coffee shop connected to the kitchen he managed. Tim taught me the art of deep-frying a turkey when I was only 17 and the secrets of creating the perfect roux.
But Tim wasn’t just a coworker; he became a part of our family. Many holidays were spent with him, and my kids saw him as a grandpa figure. Monday nights during football season were sacred at Tim’s house, where he hosted watch parties with wings, pizza, quesadillas, and every snack imaginable. Tim could multitask, managing a football party while making sure everyone was happy.
Tim was there for all the big moments – birthdays, weddings, babies, graduations. If there was a celebration, Tim was there with a witty comment and a camera around his neck, ready to capture the memories. He was a true adventurer, whether it was fishing with his dog or experimenting in the kitchen.
Below is a recipe that he sent me back in 2017 when I was hosting my own Super Bowl Sunday party. Tim’s spinach artichoke dip was my personal favorite – a culinary masterpiece filled with warmth and shared joy.  
So, to Tim, may your wings always be crispy, your pizza forever cheesy, and your laughter echo in our hearts. Cheers to the culinary maestro, the football enthusiast, and the ultimate Sponge-Bob-Tim, you are dearly missed but never forgotten. RIP Tim Arel December 8, 1958- April 26, 2020
Tim’s Spinach Artichoke Dip
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened 
1 (8-ounce) package shredded Parmesan cheese 
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream 
1 (12-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped 
1 (10-ounce) package frozen spinach, thawed and drained 
4-5 cloves of garlic
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper 
¼ teaspoon onion powder 
¼ cayenne pepper
Mix the cream cheese, Parmesan, and sour cream in a big bowl until they’re all blended.
Then, toss in the drained and chopped artichoke hearts and spinach, and give it a good stir.
Finally, add garlic, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and onion powder, and mix everything thoroughly.
Heidi Allen
Heidi Allen

2 Responses

  1. I miss him every day. I know his ID family missed him when he came back to MN but I was happy to have him home. Love that picture. It’s from when we went to Crex Meadows to photograph swans and Sandhill cranes.

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