Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Men in My Life

Someone once observed that I tend to talk a lot about how my mom has influenced my views on food, and what about my dad? It's an excellent question, and as I mulled it over I realized that my dad has had a particularly important food influence upon me: he instilled in me a profound love of breakfast.

(Dad's famous mushroom and cheese scramble with tea, Acme bread and bacon, 2009)

My mom is often content with a bit of cereal or toast in the morning, but my dad prepares what often amounts to a multi-course meal. Orange juice, always. Tea, nursed lovingly for (now that he is retired) hours on end. Often a dish that includes an egg or two. Or, and I think this may be his greatest innovation, toast with hippie peanut butter with wheat germ mixed in. It is the most amazing breakfast...you won't be hungry for hours. And he is a dedicated preparer of the Sunday Morning Breakfast, a meal to which I always looked forward growing up and a tradition I have (semi-faithfully) maintained as an adult.

But his food philosophies are not confined to the morning hours, rather they apply throughout the day:

- a dinner is not complete without a salad
- parmesan cheese makes everything better
- white rice is repugnant but brown is sublime
- a day without hummus is not worth living

I can't say that I've wholeheartedly embraced all of these, but I do keep a hunk of parmesan in my fridge at all times and am rarely caught without a stash of brown rice...

While I'm on the topic of the men in my life and their food views, here are a few of my grandpa's gems as well. The man (also a dedicated and very talented breakfast maker/eater...he has absolutely perfected the fried ham/tomato/egg combo) still has brown hair at the age of 90-something so you'd do well to listen up:

- a martini a day keeps the doctor away
- Pinwheel cookies are a pantry staple
- do not fear bacon fat
- include an avocado in all dinner salads
- dinner plates should always be warmed prior to use

And Paul's contribution to my culinary evolution? His closely held belief that whatever the question, Indian food is always the answer.

So there you have it, my varied and wonderful Y chromosome food heritage.

11 comments:

Melly/Melody/or Mel said...

Great post. It got me to thinking about my food influences:

don't ever overcook pasta
don't rinse pasta after you cook it
garlic is your best friend
don't over-sauce your food
taste before you season
eat your veggies

The Townhouselady said...

Fantastic Post!

I think everyone who cooks has a list from each one of their influences.

Mary-Laure said...

Few things make me as happy as having breakfast with my mum, just the 2 of us, early in the morning: tea, muesli, yogurt, fruit... Or her fab pancakes!

mise said...

That's a wonderful heritage, by which I mean that I agree with all of it, except the Indian food. But hummus, gala breakfast, brown rice, salad, all the rest, Yes Yes Yes to that. When can the men in your life publish their cookbook for me (with detachable Indian section)?

brismod said...

Gorgeous wise men in your life. I would swap the brown rice with Basmati rice and then Paul will have a touch of Indian food...

My Farmhouse Kitchen said...

Very cute post, Laura..The breakfast looks wonderful.And Acme bread is a FAVORITE here too.....

very S.F. bay area..

i'll be back later, friend.

love,
kary
xxx

Angie Muresan said...

Great list, Laura. I have one too, but it isn't quite as cool as yours.
I do love breakfast though. We believe in going out to breakfast every Saturday at this little place by us. Other days of the week, it's coffee, grapefruit and yogurt.
I do agree with the suggestion of Mise about putting a cooking book out. But I think you should do it.

Laura [What I Like] said...

Mel - I agree with all of your philosophies wholeheartedly!

Townhouselady - Agreed, you can't get away from your own history, no matter how hard you try.

Mary-Laure - That sounds like absolute bliss. I adore muesli and am always up for pancakes.

Mise - Yes, Indian food isn't everyone's cup of tea, I know. I love your term "gala breakfast", it's a perfect descriptor!

brismod - brilliant! I'm sure he would be very touched that you're looking out for him.

Kary - I know, I miss Acme terribly!

Angie - Perhaps, perhaps. I love how wonderfully encouraging you always are, it's really so lovely.

Millie said...

One of my very favourite What I Like posts Laura! After reading your summation of your Dad & Grandad's food philosphy I felt I'd know them for a zillion years. While I respect Paul's succinct answer, I'm sorried. I read recently that Britain's most popular take-out dish is a Chicken Curry. While I'm sure his taste in Indian is much more up-market than his fellow Poms, he may want to give his answer some additional 'thought'!
Millie ^_^

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