Gyrid (pronounced “Ja-reed”) Hyde-Towle is a very accomplished violinist as well as a great cook. Just recently retired from the Oregon Symphony Orchestra, Gyrid came to us upon the recommendation of her fellow musicians (particularly Paloma Griffin!), who have been fortunate enough to sample some of her wonderful cooking.
Gyrid was born in 1932 in the tenements of Chicago, and her family was at times forced to live on “relief” after the crash came. Her mother, a professionally trained chef (which was unheard of for women at the time) moved to America from Norway after her true love and husband of three weeks died of tuberculosis. She spoke no English but managed to get cooking positions with wealthy families, eventually meeting Gyrid’s father, a wild yet charming Italian from Sicily. Gyrid would frequently help her mother with dinner parties and began at an early age to take a real interest in cooking, but her mother wanted more for Gyrid. She treated her daughter to all the things she didn’t have, including violin lessons beginning at the age of four.
Throughout her youth, Gyrid continued to study violin, eventually at the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago. One of her teachers believed she should pursue a solo career, but Gyrid also wanted to raise a family and felt that a career in the orchestra would be more manageable. Gyrid and her mother moved to Portland in 1946, following her father who came in search of career opportunities in the shipyards.
She continued to study violin, playing with the Junior Symphony (now known as the PYP). She eventually joined the Oregon Symphony for the 1952-1953 season. After some arm trouble in 1985, Gyrid decided to study cooking to have something to fall back on should she not be able to play violin. She attended the Hörst Mager School of Cooking (now known as The Western Culinary Institute) and began a small catering business while still playing with the symphony. Her fellow musicians continue to vie for invitations to her home and compare the wonderful dishes they have been served.
John Wayne Casserole
Gyrid doesn’t know why it’s named after John Wayne, but she’s been making this vegetarian dish for years — it’s green chili peppers baked with monterey jack cheese, cheddar cheese, eggs & tomatoes, served with a green salad
Beef & Roasted Vegetable Stew
“painted hills” beef, slow-cooked with red wine, potatoes, peas, roasted carrots, turnips, yams & onions
Chicken Breast Francese
from Gyrid’s Italian roots – boneless breast lightly dipped in egg batter, sautéed & finished with white wine & herbs, served with rice pilaf & sautéed spinach
Swedish Cream with Raspberry Sauce
the Scandinavian influence – a creamy vanilla custard made with a touch of sour cream