I have been looking over several of the food-oriented posts that Jeremy has made over the past day or so, and it has got me thinking. Not specifically about food, though I officially undertook my after-Christmas diet restart today. No, it got me thinking about parenting, my own father, and the food things that he did that I can still remember from my childhood.
These memories and reflections may give you some family time ideas about things that you would like to do to invest in the recollections of your children. These are long-term investments, but they don’t really cost much, and the ones that stick are parenting gold.
My mom by far did most of the cooking in our home, but there were a few food things that my father did which stand out.
I remember family time trips to the local Orange Julius shop (are there any of those left around anywhere?). I can still remember the sticky sweet orange smell and taste of the concoction, and the whirring of the blenders they used to make them. These trips were always at night, and I seem to recall that sometimes I was in my pajamas.
An alternative to this was when he would go out and bring home a gallon of A&W Root Beer … and a half gallon of ice cream. Root beer floats for everyone. I can still remember the tall Tupperwear glasses. Lots of ice cream and then filled with root beer. A straw and a long spoon filled out the ensemble.
I am detecting a pattern here … The next thing that I remember he did, only a few times, was to use a deep fryer to make homemade donuts. He sprinkled them with powdered sugar. We ate them while they were still warm. Good stuff!
He worked long hours in those days. Even when I “grew up” to the ripe old age of 12 and started working with him at the service station, the standard work week was 54 hours, with three of the six days being eleven hours long. I think that probably explains my lack of BBQ (or as Jeremy would insist, “grilling”) memories. But we did go “camping” at my uncle’s cabin out in the high desert wilderness above Yucca Valley. He, of course, did all of the cooking while we were there.
I imagine that white gas burning in a Coleman stove does not really flavor the food, but it did seem like things tasted better there.
The fare was typical of bachelors out on their own. Canned potatoes, sliced thin and fried in butter — yum! Steaks – but, strange to me now, I believe they were pan-fried and NOT grilled. I will have to ask him about that when I get to heaven. Canned green beans or pork and beans.
Breakfast was pancakes or eggs with bacon. Lunch was sandwiches.
For the most part, I suppose that the real impact was not about the food, but about the family time with my dad. The food itself was nothing remarkable, except that it was different from what my mom would make.
My father died in 1983. His memories, and the impact he had on my life continue on in me and whether he recognizes it or not, in Jeremy. That is something to think about as you father your children.
Family time is tremendously important. Enjoy the adventure!