Celebrating Dad and foods that are special!
Today grills all across America will own the day. As families celebrate Father’s Day, it seems that when it comes to food the first request from dad is: I want to eat anything grilled. Who can blame them? The weather in June is perfect to fire up dad’s favorite piece of meat, seafood or veggies. So fire up the grill and let’s celebrate all things dad it’s Father’s Day!
Looking back on my childhood Father’s Day celebrations, a cooler filled with uncooked hot dogs and hamburgers were brought to one of nature’s gifts: City County Park located outside our hometown of Princeton, IL. Dad cooked the meat while the rest of us ran through the towering maple trees. After lunch, we enjoyed a hike down the slope of the park that felt like a 14,000-footer to us kids with big eyes. Don’t tell anyone, but it is a mere hill compared to the staggering Rocky Mountains. Nevertheless, we loved it and it was fun hiking the “steep” trail with dad.
The Father’s Day menu of burgers and hot dogs were always happily consumed. But when it comes to dad and the meals we shared together, I delight more in the dishes that connect me to him during the rest of the year. Dad was more than a grill master. He was a french toast master, scrambled eggs extraordinaire and most of all he made “the special.”
The special consisted of store-bought fixins that bring laughter and tears to my siblings and I to this day. I won’t go into the nitty gritty of what was in the special. Think everything but the kitchen sink. The recipe included pasta, ground beef, a can of corn, spring onions if in season, pasta sauce and a few secret ingredients that I still don’t know. No fancy stuff for us here. Dad was trying his best to fill the void of my mom’s cooking—after she died suddenly. This was our go to meal on the weekdays—and we loved it—not so much because of the taste, but rather it was made by dad. And when he served it on those white paper plates we felt loved and above all—special.
Dad also prepared a dose of healthy food. My dad was 100 percent Greek and all of us siblings know how to make a killer Greek avgolemeno soup. His Greek chicken—flavored drumsticks with lemon and oregano—were a staple that he prepared on Sunday mornings. He prepared the dish, popped it into a low-temperature-oven setting and off we drove to church. Yes, he left the oven on as we merrily went on our way.
I have so many fond memories of my dad and food. He ate some really great, healthy and weird stuff—sometimes all mixed together at once. A few of us brave siblings tried some of his dad mixes. I think just to be more favored by him. I was too afraid to try the mixes but that was ok by him. He still loved us completely each and every day. His palette wasn’t fancy. In fact, his favorite was to simply walk to our garden and grab a handful of spring onions. Those were his bag of chips.
Memories connected to dads and food happen every day. All across America, we sit as families and share a meal three times a day. While eating we are also consuming memories—talking, sharing, laughing and more.
Each of us has a few tender memories or better yet, hilarious ones. Perhaps you have a memory of dad and his mastery or failures in the kitchen.
Today I encourage all of you to celebrate dad with all the food that he treasures—spring onions and all!
Happy Father’s Day!
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