My good friend and colleague Robert “Bobby” Urband would have been 65 today. Bobby was an amazing man. He was a lawyer by training and a manager by trade. He was my dear friend Michael Kamen’s manager for as long as I knew him. When I first started to work with Michael I had no idea what Bobby did. I knew that he was often around at scoring sessions, on distant locations and always in New York when we were there; the city where Bobby resided for a good deal of the time I knew him . (Later he moved to LA and was suddenly blonde. That is a different story.)
One day it dawned on me. This immaculately dressed fellow with the constant filo-fax who was quick with a pun or a colorful joke, was also the guy behind the scenes with a fire extinguisher. He was the problem solver. He could handle anything and anyone without breaking a sweat. He could solve an international incident or a dinner reservation for 12 with the same nonchalance and good humor.
I shared many a meal with Bobby. We ate in Prague, London, Modena, Seattle, Los Angeles and New York. We often had “dinner in another city” as he once so metaphorically described one of my royalty checks. But for the life of me when thinking of this piece today, I could not come up with a food I associated with Bobby. I fed him at my house, broke bread with him at Michael’s homes in London or Encino, had dinner at his home in Los Angeles and even had breakfasts in various hotels dotting the planet. I had the pleasure of sharing the wonderful meal at his wedding. But never in my mind was there a food specific to the man.
I finally figured out why this might be. You see, Bobby was a king maker. He was the man behind the curtain. His life was about making others successful. And this he did very, very well. So, all of those times in all of those places, the food (like everything else) was about his client. His joy came with theirs. I’m sure he loved certain things like the rest of us. But it was never about him. He embraced the selflessness with the same transparency that he carried out the rest of his business. I never remember feeling sorry for him or had any feeling that Bobby was wanting in any way. He was happy, truly happy. That is what I remember. If we all could be so lucky.
So today I thought I would share one of Michael’s favorites that I know both Bobby and I got to enjoy on a number of occasions. If you are hearing this, I miss you dear friend and think of you today like every other. All my love.
- 1 lb. Spaghetti
- 1 lb Lump Crab Meat, cleaned
- 3 Garlic Cloves, smashed
- 2 Lemons, juiced
- 2 Red Chili Peppers, deseeded and minced
- 1 Bunch Italian Parsley, chopped
- Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper
- Large Pot
- Large Pan
- Chef’s Knife
- Fill pot 3/4 full of water and bring to boil. Salt plentifully.
- If you are using whole crab you will need two large ones (double entendre for you, Bobby). Boil them, let them cool then remove meat. If you are buying already prepared crabmeat, make sure that there are no hard, cartilage bits.
- In a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in the pan, heat the garlic, chilis, crab, lemon juice and about 3/4 of the parsley. Add salt and pepper. If you can’t find any chilis, you can substitute 1 teaspoon of red chili flakes.
- Warm and stir the ingredients. Add a little of the pasta water or a glug of white wine to make it saucy.
- When the pasta is done, drain and add to sauce.
- Turn off flame and combine.
- Garnish with the rest of the parsley and serve.