Monthly Archives: June 2011

Happy Father’s Day!

Yes, I know it’s a week late. We’re celebrating today, under the assumption that the specific Sunday in June matters less than the attendance of one’s wife and daughters. We’ll mark the occasion in our traditional way- swimming and eating- floating in the lake on the relaxation station, and making dad grill our dinner.

My dad spent his formative years in an extended bout of competitive eating, him versus his four brothers, in a fight for second helpings and caloric intake. But with middle-age came a more thoughtful approach to food. While my mom is still the master chef of the family, he has gradually expanded his repetoire from burritos and bagels to the Bouchon cookbook.

I owe my dad a debt of gratitude for the three primary food lessons he has taught me; also, for the college tuition. First, that a bagel and cream cheese makes a perfectly acceptable breakfast, lunch, or dinner. No apologies necessary. Second, for training me to hold my knife and fork in the European style, as he learned from his German mother. It’s more efficient, looks neater, and you don’t have to hack away at your food like a lumberjack sawing a tree. And finally, for all the culinary tourism.  My dad has taken us to some of the most iconic restaurants in the country: The French Laundry, L’Etoile, Commander’s Palace, Charlie Trotter’s…. Those trips shaped the way I eat and the way I travel- it’s no coincidence that when I plan my own vacations, I book restaurant reservations before hotels.

So happy Father’s Day, and thanks for waiting the extra week to celebrate!

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Skipping the Salad Bar

When we were in law school and graduate school, respectively, my friend and then-roommate Caitlin and I consumed at least one-third of our weekly meals from the Whole Foods salad bar and prepared foods section. We’d camp out at our favorite round table, near the column with the power strip, and chip away at our reading and research, eating with one hand and turning pages with the other. Now that I have slightly more free time, I’m just as likely to spend an evening reading through dinner (nerd!)- except it’s The Hunger Games on my Kindle instead of photocopied journal articles.

When dinner is getting in the way of the D.E.A.R (drop everything and read) portion of your day, I recommend this sandwich. The brie makes it just luxurious enough so you don’t feel you’re missing out on a legitimate dinner, and most importantly, it can be assembled quickly, leaving you with ample time to become engrossed in a book.

Apple, Brie, and Turkey Sandwich

1/2 pretzel baguette
Spicy honey mustard
1/4 gala apple, cored and sliced thinly
5 thin slices brie cheese
2-3 pieces thinly sliced oven roasted turkey
Handful of arugula or spring greens

Slice the pretzel baguette in half lengthwise, leaving the two halves connected. Spread honey mustard generously on both sides of the roll. Layer apple and brie slices, add turkey and a generous handful of greens.

Eat with your left hand, using your right to click “next page” on your Kindle.

Serves 1 bookworm.

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Uncle Wally’s The Dingo Ate Your Baby Back Ribs

My Uncle Wally is the quintessential hunter-gatherer. One memorable Christmas, on his way to the family celebration, he watched as the car ahead of him struck a deer, and immediately pulled over. To help, sure, but also to ask, “uh, are you going to keep that?” The rest of us snacked on appetizers while he and my dad field dressed the deer in our city backyard. He watches with pride as his children devour homemade goose nuggets, and his garage is home to no fewer than four devices for cooking, smoking, or otherwise preparing meat. So when he swears allegiance to his Weber charcoal grill, I take him at his word, particularly when it is accompanied by delicious barbecued ribs.

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