Father’s Day is coming up on June 17. (Don’t worry — you’ve still got a few weeks. I’m not trying to rush you.)
Dad’s big day is never quite the holiday full of hoopla that Mother’s Day is, unfortunately. Mom gets showered with brunch, flowers, chocolates, and/or breakfast in bed.
On the other hand, Dad usually gets to grill his own lunch. Of course, many dads like that plan, so it’s not really a problem. And the gift-giving is easy, too: No ties are necessary, unless they’re the ties on a new apron with a cute pun or slogan of some sort on the front. Grilling tools and toys are always welcome.
Remember, though, that not every Father’s Day feast involves a grill, lighter fluid, propane, or charcoal. There are lots of fabulous dishes to serve that can be prepared in the kitchen, from chili and potato salad to macaroni and cheese and ice cream sundaes. The menu is more summery, in mid-to-late June, than the springy selections for Mom in early May.
I’m curious to know what you serve for Father’s Day. What delicious dishes make the day special for you and for your dad. So let’s have a mini recipe exchange.
Is there a particular salad that always goes with the burgers? How about a spice rub for ribs that’s been passed down, and maybe tinkered with a bit, for three generations of fathers? Or does the chicken get basted, brushed, and burnished with a sweet-tangy sauce that is Dad’s culinary pride and joy?
Maybe the kids take over the kitchen. What treats do they make for the occasion? Do they cook as a group, with older ones organizing the troops? Or do they help Mom and/or Grandma?
Does Dad like a particular pie and the day just isn’t the same without it? Or does he prefer brownies or some other treat?
Was there a mix-up or a catastrophe one time that led to both a change in plans and lots of laughter? (Now, naturally, it’s become a part of your tradition, as the tale gets re-told every year.)
Be sure to tell us why this particular dish is integral to your celebrations, because the stories are really the most important part. Instructions for preparation of a recipe are great, of course, but the silly or sentimental sagas behind them are really at the heart of it all when it comes to the foods that have been enshrined in the pantheon of our holidays.
In my own case, my father loves raisin cookies. Most people think they’re a disappointment, masquerading as chocolate chip cookies but without the requisite ingredient. But my father absolutely loves them.
I remember getting the recipe from an issue of Highlights magazine in the dentist’s office when I was very young. Hundreds, if not thousands, of these cookies have been baked over many decades.
My father traveled to 38 countries while working for General Motors, sampling all sorts of wonderful foods throughout his career. But the simple spiced drop cookies full of sweet little dried fruits remain, at the age of 91, one of his favorite treats. He always says he shouldn’t eat them anymore, because they’re not good for his health. That doesn’t stop him, however, whenever I bake a batch.
By Mary Bilyeu – BLADE FOOD EDITOR