The Day Dad Cooked
The Day Dad Cooked
We all have those special memories of our Fathers, some when we were very young and
some when we grew into adults and understood him for the first time. How many of
us have thought "Hey, THAT'S what he meant!"? We have some memories to share with you
from daughters who remember well...
My only memory of my father in the kitchen was 2 days before my 8th birthday. That morning I awoke to the sight of my father asleep on the couch and mom, nowhere to be found. I knew right away what this meant. My 5 year old brother and I jumped on him and begged him to tell us if the new baby was a boy or a girl. Imagine my delight when dad said it was a girl! He said her name was Karen Marie and that we could go see her the next day if we were good.
"But who will feed us?" I asked. I was worried--mom always did the cooking.
"Well, I guess I'll have to. Let's get some breakfast," Dad replied in his calm, laid-back voice.
Breakfast wasn't difficult. Any brand of sugar-filled cereal will please two little kids. And lunch was just sandwiches. So far we weren't starving, but mom always cooked somthing hot for dinner...what will we do?
Dad quietly gets out the cast iron skillet, some ground beef, seasoned salt and butter. I protest, "Butter? Momma never uses butter to cook hamburgers, Daddy!" "I'm not your momma," he grins and goes about frying hamburgers in butter.
They had to be the most fattening, artery-clogging burgers I would ever eat. But they were GOOD. I was shocked that Dad could cook. Forget the new baby, I HAD to tell mom about this one. Did she know he could cook? I was sure she didn't. The very next day, Dad took us to meet our new baby sister. But I was more excited to see mom and tell her Dad's big secret. She laughed and grinned in mock surprise.
To this day I will never forget the day Dad cooked.
Dad Lost in the Kitchen
I grew up in one of those families where labor was clearly defined along gender lines. My Dad, the farmer, worked outside the house while mother did all the inside work and the yard and garden work. Dad certainly knew how to enjoy the fruits of Mom's labors but we never knew if he could find his way around the kitchen. As a child I remember being surprised and amused to see Dad washing dishes. He only did that on rare occasions, mainly when Mom was busy packing to go for a visit at Grandma's house. Those trips were almost always planned on short notice by Dad so he must have felt he needed to help out in some way. For years I thought Dad's non-involvement in the house was because he refused to help or didn't know what to do. As I grew wiser I came to believe it was this way because my Mom didn't want him messing up her system or telling her what to do. You see when he retired from farming he decided to "help" with the garden. It seemed that despite having feed the family year round from her garden she didn't know how to do it. Maybe it was "a good thing" he stayed out of the kitchen for the peace it offered us.
My Dad was one of those "saint kind of guys" and I mean this sincerely. He was hooked up to all these machines and I was there with my brother and he could not talk but would write us notes. I could not figure out what he wrote at first, but then I realized it was around my wedding anniversary, (4/27) and he wished me Happy Anniversary! He was always thinking of others; putting others first...something you do not see often. When my kids don't share I tell them "Is that what Dzia Dzia (pronounced Judgia) would do?" and they have a turnaround,most times, because he was so sincere, so authentically self-sacrificing, they can't help but want to imitate him because they appreciated his giving spirit and want to be like him. I want to be like him...I find it very difficult, but I WANT to be.
My Dad is the worst cook in the world, (seriously, in an effort to cook hamburgers thoroughly, he turns them into smoking carbon hockey pucks) but he always made dinner preparation very interesting. While getting the ingredients for whatever concoction he was making together, he would launch into a long involved story of the recipe's origins. It usually started with something to the effect of..."and this recipe was handed down to me by the Sheik of Yazoo when I traveled the Sahara Dessert..." The meal was usually pretty unpalitable, but the stories were always fun
Saturday Morning with Dad
I can remember growing up with mom doing all the cooking except for Saturday morning. Those were the times I waited all week for. My dad would fix us omelets and nobody makes an omelet like my dad, he always put cheese, onions, hot sauce, tomatoes and anything else that would go good in them. He always made them perfect, and that tasted so good. My dad loves hot and spicy things in case you can't tell, but it would always tone them down a little for me. I loved this time because it was always special, and for some reason having my dad fix me breakfast made me feel like we both shared that moment with quality time.
Since I have grown up and moved away from home, I can never seem to make omelets that taste or look like my dad's, so I always look forward to going home and sharing an omelet together.