Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Contest for Fathers Day: Entries 1 & 2

Have you entered our Father's Day contest yet? If not, what are you waiting for? Just send us a few words about a memory of your dad (or your kids' dad) and his good food!

Entry #1: Valerie
"There's nothing like his food from the grill!"

As a little girl, my mom did all the cooking in the house. All, that is, until it was time to grill. Now my dad could make a good chili and a killer spaghetti sauce, but there's nothing like his food from the grill! Burgers, steaks, ribs...it was all good! He wasn't one for marinating. He used good ole' Lawry's Seasoning Salt. That's it. When we knew Dad was grillin', we made a beeline for home! Even though we're all grown up, we still LOVE to head over to mom and dad's for some something hot off the grill!!
Entry #2: Michelle
"Mix things up a bit!"

Most of the cooking knowledge I had growing up came from my father. He learned from his parents who probably learned from theirs back in the little village of Campolieto, Italy. I guess my lessons go back a long time. I truly didn't learn how to cook until I was a young adult due to the family circumstances but then I picked things up rather fast.

I can't say that my dad taught me specific recipes, one at a time, it was more like a little here and there. I distinctly remember though a day when he called me into the kitchen to get the "big lesson" on how to make sauce, meatballs, and braciole. I was probably already close to 23, a mother of two girls and at the time we lived with my dad. We regularly had my sister and her family over for Sunday dinners and any other siblings and their family if they lived nearby. 

Back to the lesson...he took me to the store with him that day to shop so I knew what kind of meat to buy and what kind of canned tomato products to choose for the "recipe". He taught me to use fresh ingredients when possible but also that it's ok to use whatever you have on hand. He often said to me that any time I rush the sauce, it will turn out bad so to make sure when I cook it, there is plenty of time for it to simmer. I also learned it was best to make it on Saturday for the Sunday dinner so the flavors could integrate overnight and make a better tasting dish. He was right. Sometimes I just don't take the time for that extra day and eat the end product the day I make it.

One thing my dad did that drove me crazy was to mix things up a bit when it came to cooking and following directions. For instance, he would purchase those McCormick Bag-n-Season mixes for specific types of beef, pork or chicken then use them with a different meat! A pork seasoning bag and mix is not supposed to be used with chicken! At least not in my mind it wasn't. As I look back on that now it's kind of funny. I certainly don't use those mixes any longer preferring to make up my own combinations and skip the powdered mystery "other flavors and seasonings" in those things. And I am very prone to mixing things up a bit in the kitchen. Thanks to my dad for encouraging me.
Thanks to Michelle & Valerie so much for entering! Good luck!