Chicago author explains layers of tragedy through lasagna

by MATT MOLINAR//Opinion Editor

Tragedy and lasagna.

Two seemingly unrelated things are brought together in “Life Through Lasagna Eyes,” a new book by Samantha Kendall, Chicago’s “Lasagna Lady.”

Kendall writes that life goes on, and we must live through the tragedies.

In 2006, Kendall’s 18-year-old daughter, Amanda, was murdered in front of her own home.

In her book, Kendall uses lasagna as a metaphor for life. Just like lasagna, life is filled with many layers containing different textures and tastes.

“My book is really about being inspired and overcoming whatever obstacles you may have,” Kendall told the Plainsman Press in a recent interview. “You can live past it. The layers that we live in life are built like lasagna. The pasta, the sauce, the cheese. Each ingredient relates to life.”

In the past, Kendall says she has experienced heartbreak and tragedy. In her book, she explains how she was able to deal with the tragedy of losing her daughter, as well as having her husband walk out on her, all within the same couple of days.

In 2006, Amanda Gallon was murdered while waiting to go out for Valentine’s Day. While she and her friends were parked outside of her house, a man named Antonio Quinn opened fire with a gun.

“He just walked up and sprayed the entire vehicle,” Kendall said. “She was unfortunately one from the group that did not make it, and he also paralyzed the driver. That night, I remember making a delivery with my daughter Morgan. I remember telling her, ‘We need to pray.’ I didn’t know why we needed to, but when we got to the house, I soon found out that I had to get to the hospital, and we lost her [Amanda] that night.”

Shortly before the death of her daughter, Kendall’s husband walked out on her.

“I came home from work one day and my ex husband was gone,” Kendall said. “Right before she was murdered, he left.”

The efforts of Kendall have resulted in many people coming to terms with their own life struggles and personal tragedies. In comments left on, where the book is sold, readers have voiced that advice from the book has helped them with the process of mourning.

“Tearfully,” Kendall said,  “I’ll tell you that it means a lot to me, and it’s very rewarding to know that something that I wrote to be therapeutic for myself and for victims of violence, or for anyone who has had heartbreak. One woman I had the opportunity to speak to said, ‘I was walking dead, until I read your book. After reading your book, I am now finding my passion, and I am now living.’”

In addition to being an author, Kendall spends her time growing her business, Sam’s Gourmet Lasagna. Sam’s Gourmet Lasagna specializes in preparing a variety of pre-prepared gourmet lasagna dishes.

“We provide an exceptional flavor for our customers,” Kendall explained. “We make these products and we get them out to different grocery lines such as Whole Foods.”

Kendall says that she spends a large portion of her free time writing. She says she is currently writing a movie script, and the second part to her series, “Life Through Lasagna Eyes,” where she talks about relationships and what she calls “ooey gooey.”

“In chapter eight of the book,” Kendall explains. “I talk about loving again. I had been single for 11 years, and now my “ooey gooey”, Marlon, has arrived. Now I get to talk about what happens afterward in the whole relationship. The beautiful thing about the relationship is that we went to our senior prom together as dates, and we were nominated as ‘person you were most likely to go out with.’ In 2014, we reconnected on Facebook.”

Part of Kendall’s journey involved learning how to laugh again. In her book, she talks about the day that she got her laughter back, explaining how good it was to begin laughing again.

“I didn’t do music anymore, and music, for me, was something I loved,” Kendall said. “But it stopped playing in my heart. The day that I got my laughter back felt so good.”

Kendall says that she is looking forward to starting a new marriage and furthering her career with both writing and cooking. She also feels she has been called to join her “ooey gooey” in becoming marriage ministers.

“Life Through Lasagna Eyes” can be found at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and many other bookstores.

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