This Father’s Day…

As this is the first Father’s Day since I started my blog, I’d like to reminisce on my dad’s impact on my relationship with food.

My dad didn’t cook much. Not because he couldn’t manage his way around the kitchen, but more because it was never his passion. He and mom largely followed traditional family roles, and his passion was his family and taking care of them. He helped eagerly whenever asked. He was quick with a kitchen knife, and during the two years my family went vegetarian, he became indispensable to my mom with his talent for chopping veggies.

To this day, I’m a sucker for a well-chopped salad. There’s nothing more frustrating than paying for half a cucumber, tomato wedges and big leaves of lettuce dropped on a plate and passed off as salad. If the ingredients are in the salad, they should be in every bite, otherwise, I’m paying someone to let me do all the work. But I digress.

I’m not sure when it happened, but my dad became obsessed with hot stuff. My mom used to make him a special homemade salsa with twice the peppers she used in the family jar. He once told me he drank a bottle of tabasco sauce on a dare. I barely managed a shot. These days, it’s quite challenging to serve up something too hot for him. I almost succeeded with my messed up posole.

My dad was never a drinker. Well, not that I can remember. There may have been a little something in the house in the early years, but I can’t remember ever seeing anything in the house by the time I was ten. There have been hints over the years at a rough patch in his teen years, and he served in Vietnam, so I can’t imagine there wasn’t at least a drink or two on leaves. Yet it seems he’s recently begun exploring wine again. Of course, I had to be respectful when he dropped a couple ice cubes in his merlot when I took him to Cooper’s Hawk for his birthday. As passionate as I’ve become about wine, I’ll take whatever shared experiences I can get.

This year, my dad is at home caring for my mom so my brother and his family can travel. So Cathy and I are bringing down the dinner special from work for him to enjoy, while we spend time with him. After all he’s given me over the years, it’s the least I can do to show my appreciation to the man who gave my life such flavor. Happy Father’s Day, Dad! I raise my glass to you, now and always. Enjoy!

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