As everyone who’s ever spent any time with me knows, I love food. Just like scents and music can evoke specific memories, food also does this for me. When I think of a place I love to go, something I love to do– something delicious is somehow tied in. Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge = a good excuse to go to the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory. Sunset over the Pacific = the best banana rum drink I’ve ever had. Baseball game = ballpark hotdogs.
So I guess it makes sense that when I think of my dad, a bunch of happy food memories come to mind. My dad frequently supplied treats. He often came home from work with a treat from the bakery where he worked: Gingerbread cakes with chocolate icing. When we went to the mall (Hunt Valley, of course), he always went to the candy store and got bags of sesame sticks or nonpareils. And he always shared. When we were on our family summer vacations, usually involving a road trip to and from, he’d go to pay for gas and return with candy bars for everyone. It was always Kit Kats.
For almost as long as I can remember, whenever I want to do something special for him, I always cook or bake something. Something that I know he loves. Interestingly enough, I’ve never connected these two ideas before now. But yeah, I show my appreciation and love by trying to create a happy food memory, just like he did for me.
Sure, when I say that my dad is a great man, I could give you specific reasons like how smart he is; how I always know when he’s telling a tall tale because of the twinkle in his eye; how he is a living, breathing example of overcoming a terrible childhood and not letting it stop him from a successful life and being a supportive father. (In fact, I was once talking about my dad to an acquaintance who was a new father, and he said to me, “I can only hope that when my daughter grows up, she will talk about me like you talk about your father.”) But when it comes down to the little memories that make me smile, it comes down to food. Because I love food? Yes. And so does my dad. And I love my dad.
Happy Father’s Day, Dad!