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Dads are a pretty precious commodity

Any nascent interest in cooking I may have had as a child didn't get the standard family boosts. Ours was not a large, boisterous, close family. Our cultural culinary influences were the same as just about everyone else’s in this part of Ohio: rib-sticking German starches.
There was no old-world nana transferring sacred and ancient stovetop sorcery to a new generation of kitchen shamans. We didn’t seek out anything more adventurous than a recipe cut out of a Better Homes and Gardens and shared among the people where my parents worked. There were canned vegetables, crock pot meals and the occasional frozen entree’— all hallmarks of a family with parents who each have full-time jobs.
All my love of food was sparked by people I never met— Julia Child, Graham Kerr and others, who I watched on television every chance I got. I guess they were my childhood mentors in the same way they mentored so many generations of cooks.
It’s Father’s Day weekend, and of course that sets up a warm wash of memories for me. Dad, who passed away suddenly in 1989, was many things: affable, gentle, funny, caring and always ready with the big hugs which are still one of the first things mentioned when his name comes up. He was a star tackle in high school and fought his way, foxhole by foxhole, across Belgium in World War II. He raised good, decent children who miss him greatly.
But a foodie, he was not. He was a meat and potatoes man who disliked vegetables and that sums it. He didn’t care for chicken, sweet corn made him ill on sight and cucumbers were an especially strong dislike. Mom knew he hated peas, which she loved, so she placed a single pea on his plate every time she made them. He sat, flicked the pea off the plate, and mom giggled through the rest of the meal. It was probably the closest thing we had to a dinner ritual.
I know he is still missed by his family, friends and remaining golf buddies. I know we’d all surrender a lot for one of those hugs when we’ve needed it.
This weekend, I hope you’ll go beyond the greeting card and phone call and get your hands on your father while it’s still possible. Dads are a pretty precious commodity and access to our parents is in limited supply.
My folks, who are both long gone, would appreciate the irony of offering a recipe for something mom made once or twice a year when she found someone to enjoy it with her, while it sent dad off to the Elks or Moose to grab a sandwich with friends. This is not mom’s recipe— I didn’t like this dish, either.
1 15 oz. can peas
2 tablespoons chopped onion
1/4 cup butter, in small cubes
1/4 cup flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
pinch pepper
pinch sage, rubbed into a powder
2 cups water
1 12 oz. can evaporated milk
Drain peas, reserving 1/3 cup liquid. Mash peas with a potato masher, or blend in blender or food processor. Mom liked hers a little chunky, rather than smooth. Set aside. In a large saucepan, saute' the onion in butter until tender. Stir in the flour, sugar, salt, pepper and sage until blended. Gradually add water; bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in the milk and pureed peas; heat through.
Recipe: Taste of Home

Published: June 15, 2017
New Article ID: 2017170619974