My Favorite Sous-Chef
In honor of Father’s Day, I thought I’d introduce you to my dad, or, as my brother and I (and several of our friends) affectionately refer to him: L-Dogs.
(L-Dogs, me, and Funk at my birthday dinner)
Pops and I got on each other’s nerves quite a bit when I was a teenager, but once I went to college, we actually became pretty close buddies. We like to do lots of stuff together: go for walks, catch up over coffee, watch Harry Potter movies. However, my hands-down favorite thing to do with my dad is to cook a delicious meal together.
The summer after my junior year of college, my dad very quickly (and unexpectedly) accepted a new job in Maryland. At the time, I was shocked and more than a little bit unsettled; I still had at least another year left in Rhode Island, and I had always planned to get a job in the area and stay close to my family. When Dad started packing up to move to Maryland, I realized that things were not going to go the way I had expected.
In the two or three weeks before Dad moved to Maryland, he and I created a new tradition for ourselves. Every single night, we would look up a new recipe that sounded good to the both of us, get the ingredients, and prepare and eat the meal together. In those couple of weeks, we never repeated a recipe, and our technique and presentation got better with each meal we created. Grilled shrimp with mango salsa, lime marinaded fish tacos, portobello mushroom burgers, summer peach and raspberry crisp—-the meals were fresh, wholesome, and downright delicious. Not only did we realize that we were pretty good cooks, but we noticed how much we enjoyed the process of preparing a meal together. Music in the background, a glass of wine in our hands, and some fresh summer ingredients all made for an energizing bonding experience.
When I couldn’t find any teaching jobs in or around Rhode Island, I decided to take a leap of faith and move to Maryland. As luck would have it, I got hired at a school only twenty minutes from my parents, and I moved into an apartment only ten minutes away from them. Once I moved down here, Dad and I reinstated our tradition, and we began having weekly Sunday dinners. Our menus vary depending on our moods, the seasons, and our cravings, and they’re not always successful. Once, Dad put a turkey in the oven with a plastic cover on top of it. Yes, a plastic cover in the OVEN. Needless to say, we ordered take out that night.
In general though, we’ve had some great successes: cranberry-orange glazed turkey on Thanksgiving, homemade potato latkes on Chanukah, and hearty chili and homemade cornbread on your average freezing February evening. He likes to call me his sous-chef, when in actuality, we try to share the responsibility equally. The results are nearly always delicious, and, even if we do argue over how much garlic to use, or how long to cook the pasta, they are always fun and successful in bringing us closer together. Food = love, right?
Happy Father’s Day, Pops. I love you!