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!