When you are a 15 and a junior in high school, life should be about having a good time. But with the death of Dave Cwienk’s dad, he was left the bread-winner of the family. Dave did graduate from Bishop Kenrick High School and worked full-time for Genuardi’s at the same time. After graduation he continued working for the Genuardi Company.
The Cwienk family lived on the east end of Norristown. His dad was his hero. Both were die-hard Yankees fans. Dave told me a story I would like to share. His dad was a delivery man and when Dee Cwienk went into labor with Dave and a message was left for him. But — a big but — was that there was a Yankees game on TV. So his dad went home to watch the game before going to the hospital to greeting his new baby son. To this day, Dave is still a major fan of the Yankees.
Dave and I met when we were both involved in Norristown politics. Dave managed quite a few campaigns in the area and I became more of an activist and not a politician.
His work record has mostly been in retail. Starting out in the food industry there were Genuardi and Fiore supermarkets. For eight years he drove a “cookie truck.” Before it closed, he was the assistant manager of the Mad Grocer on Bridge Street in Phoenixville.
There was switching over from food and moving up in the furniture business. For the last year-and-a-half, he has been with Moore’s Family Furniture in what is now identified as in Chester Springs. Originally the area the store was located was called Eagle out on Route 100. He is the sales manager and hopes this is the job he will retire from.
Speaking of retiring, Dave hopes and plans on retiring in New Orleans, Louisiana. Now, I need to tell you he has never been there. Dave finds a strong connection with the culture of the New Orleans area — especially the 9th Ward. Drawn by Jazz, blues and funk music, he has met and attended at least 150 concerts of Dr. John (who recently died). He also follows Sam’s Funky Nation, Trombone Shorty and the Preservation Hall Brass Band. Dave plays the guitar himself.
A single dad of daughter Nicole with two granddaughters.
Dave’s hero is 5-year-old Mighty Miss Maya (Tisdale) who has been working through her cerebral palsy. Dave believes “no kid should have to work so hard.” She is brave and keeps going. He is a strong supporter of Alex’s Lemonade Stand. Alex Scott was so brave and her work still continues to inspire.
Today he lives in King of Prussia. Previous to working in Chester Springs — he would have breakfast every day at Lou’s on East Main Street in Norristown. But with Chester Springs being in the other direction he only gets there a couple times a week. Lou’s is an area icon for breakfasts, zeps, cheese steaks, anything Italian.
Dave is also partial to a New Orleans custom called a Monday Night Tradition which is the serving of Red Beans & Rice. There are many recipes for this dish — here is an easy recipe for you to try.
RED BEANS & RICE – The Easy Way
2 cups water
1 cup uncooked rice
1 lb. smoked sausage
1 onion – chopped
1 green bell pepper – chopped
2 cloves garlic – chopped
(2) 15 oz. cans kidney beans – rinse & drained
16 oz. can whole peeled tomatoes – chopped
1 bay leave*
½ tsp. dried oregano
salt & pepper to taste
Prepare & cook rice according the package directions. In a large skillet over high heat cook sausage for 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in garlic for additional 2 minutes (be careful not to burn). Add onion & bell pepper – sauté until tender. Pour in rinsed & drained beans & tomatoes in juice. Add seasonings – simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. Juice will thicken into a nice sauce. Serve on hot rice.
*Remember to remove bay leaf before serving.
Contract Bette at banjack303.verizon.net. Search YouTube – with BetteBanjack. As well as phoenixvillenews.com (search bar Banjack). She can be found on Facebook. Her book “2 Cups of Yesterday” can be found at the Gateway Pharmacy or by contacting her directly.