Monday, June 11, 2012

What My Dad Cooks

What I learned from Esquire's "What My Dad Cooked:" 

Dads like fried stuff, especially fried breakfasts. Mostly eggs and bacon. Steaks are good too. The dads of many of these famous chef's reminded me of mine (despite the fact that I am neither a famous chef nor a man). So I wrote something in honor of this upcoming Father's Day and "What My Dad Cooked." Only, my father still logs a fair amount of kitchen time (there's no "cooked" past-tense here).

My dad is a decent cook, but he thrives in the art of basic cocktails and dips. This isn't a dig. I'm serious, people. In a tall glass full of cubes, with just a splash of tonic, a standard G&T becomes a refreshingly fizzy wonder of citrus and crisp top-shelf spirits. Bloody Mary's are filled high with extra spicy V8 and bedecked with as many edible garnishes as the fridge allows. Topped off with a glunk of worcestershire sauce and Cavender's Greek seasoning, a Mike-made Bloody Mary isn't for the faint of heart. You'd better have a thing for heat. 

At times it seems a shame to patronize fancy cocktail bars when I've savored spiked sips of something so basic. Not to mention, these libations are strong to boot.

But it doesn't stop at happy hour. With enough avocados and garlic to scare even the toughest vampiric iteration, my dad's guacamole is a dish to be revered. Any game day or sunny Saturday evening provides a perfect excuse to cut, pit, dice and smash halves and wholes of the ripe green fruit atop wooden chopping blocks. 

Like any good ol' guac recipe, there is no recipe. The man measures nothing. Instead, he determines every diner will consume approximately one avocado. And he always portions four extra for himself. 

Cheeses, nuts and cured meats are a similar story. There's no pastry or oven temperatures to worry about, no broiler to check. He'll pour a can of Planter's fancy cashews into one of Mom's nice bowls, and it will mysteriously remain refilled throughout the night — past cocktails, past dinner and long-past the feeling of full, when mindless snacking becomes a vital necessity for eternal games of pool or late-night television comedies. This stuff is simple. And lately it's consistently better than all of the messy bruschetta that's stained my shirts.

Along with possessing a bottomless stomach and Olymipian-rate metabolism, my father is a generous guy. Depending on his mood, he may not say much, but there will always, always, be enough food and drink to satisfy the hungriest of travelers and friends. Perhaps it's because my dad is one of the hungriest people I know. And who would want their guests to endure the same feeling?

No comments: