Happy Father’s Day!

To all of you dads out there, a very happy Father’s Day to you! As many of you know, my dad is the behind-the-scenes partner for Simply Recipes. It’s his love of trying out new recipes that has provided inspiration for this site for the last 7 years. As we show our appreciation for dads everywhere, I thought I would share a few facts about my dad:

1. He turned 80 this year.

2. He’s from St. Paul, Minnesota, and feels a special affinity for Garrison Keillor. The neighborhood in which he grew up is known as Frogtown.

3. He can be rather curmudgeonly. From what I’ve heard, much of this can be explained by the fact that he is from Frogtown.

4. He loves the weather in California and takes pleasure in reading the midwest weather reports during the winter.

5. He works out with weights in the gym twice a week and regularly bench presses 250 lbs. (Yes, you heard right, 250, no kidding, the guy is strong.)

6. He cooks, does dishes when my mom will let him load the dishwasher (she usually rearranges the dishes in the dishwasher no matter how we load them), vacuums, mops the kitchen floor, does the yard work, and irons. My mom does this too, but dad usually gets to it first.

7. He says he doesn’t like kids but somehow he managed to have six of them.

8. Sometimes it’s hard to tell when he’s joking.

9. His best friend from when he was a kid, is still his best friend.

10. When he was much much much younger he and his best friend would regularly crash weddings. “It was good food! And free.”

11. After one of my friends from college spent a night in jail for getting drunk and climbing the arch made of antlers in the park in the center of Jackson, Wyoming, my father remarked that “you aren’t a real man until you’ve spent a night in jail for drunken and disorderly behavior.” Followed by, “of course if you do that after 30 you’re an idiot.”

12. Some people will not get my dad’s humor, and that is perfectly okay with him.

13. He simply cannot resist trying any recipe that contains sauerkraut or sausage (preferably both), and someday when we finally plug in my new deep fryer, the man will start making his own donuts and then we will truly be doomed.

Have a favorite food memory to share about your dad? Please let us know in the comments.

100 Comments

  1. Trixie

    Happy Father’s Day to him! (And to all the other daddies out there). His recipes are great :P. Thanks for sharing these tidbits about him.

  2. Greg Walker

    He sounds like a great guy! Your description of him reminds me of my dear dad, with the notable exception of the kitchen stuff. My pop had a bit of trouble boiling water for his own tea.

  3. bluejeangourmet

    I love your dad :) nearly all of my memories associated with my dad are food memories–he was that kind of guy–but one of my favorites is on Fridays in elementary school, that was his day to pick me up–and there was always a food treat coming my way that afternoon. Ice cream, roasted peanuts, a slice of cake from the fancy French bakery.

    I miss him, but having food associated with him makes it easy to commemorate & honor him.

  4. Christine @ Fresh Local and Best

    This is such a sweet portrait and post about your dad. He sounds like quite a character.

    My favorite food memory with my dad is when he came over for a lunch during college, and told me how proud he was of what I had accomplished.

  5. Rachelle M.

    Happy Father’s Day to all!

    My food memory about my dad would have to be shucking oysters when I was about 8 or so. My brother and I grew up in a household that was big on seafood and both parents cooked up a storm! My brother was bit pickier than I was, but closer to my father than me, and My father loved oysters and I thought whatever my dad likes I really want to impress him so I better like too! So he taught me to shuck oyster one day, and I got so good at it! I would eat the heck out those puppies with him!
    One afternoon my mom and brother caught us out by the pool, oysters in hand, squeezing lemon, sucking and downing iced tea (beer for him) and laughed at the sight of my plate toppled high with shells. good times.

  6. donutty

    I thank God for my dad, and have grown in appreciation for him, especially in the last 10 years as I’ve started to have kids of my own. My mom did the bulk of the cooking and still does, but I have a few special food memories of my dear pop. He nursed my sis and me back to health from a bout with chicken pox with sugar-sweetened warm milk, he and I used to do raw egg shots straight from the shell (miracle I survived :)), and he would put every leftover in the fridge into a big pot, fill it with water and add a huge scoop of miso paste for his idea of a hearty soup. Somehow it always tasted pretty good.

  7. Katharine

    My dad cooks pancakes he calls “thin and greasies” and is always the one to make hollandaise or bearnaise sauce. What he does, he does very well!!

  8. susan simovich

    i never really knew my dad – kinda unusual for a kid born in 1954 but i had my pop(grandfather) till i was 20.

    my first memeory of cooking was standing on a chair at age 4 making bacon and eggs for him…

    since pop always made breakfast …

    every year pop, who always was up before us girls(his daughter and 2 grands), woke us up on April Fools day “distraught” that he had overslept – even if it was the weekend. we were too sleepy to be able to counter that.

    when it was Valentine’s Day there was a Russell Stover heart on our plates.

    drying the dishes while he washed was my favorite part of the day.

    his smooch recipe, that i still make for my husband to this day – macaroni, tomatoes, onions, peppers and ground beef(buffalo in our case) and ketchup. course he said that the cigar ashes made the difference.

    him “choking down” the most horrible casserole i ever did in home ec. thin pancakes with ground beef and a white sauce with nutmeg…WHAT was i thinking? but he loved me anyway.

  9. Lana

    Happy Father’s Day to your Dad! I admire his agility and determination to stay physically fit. My Dad will turn 76 this July, and I just wish to be half as young-looking as he is, when I am his age.
    As for the kitchen stuff – I am teaching him basics, and he is willing to help me. But as soon as he goes back home, he won’t lift a finger to help Mom! Talk about stubbornly sticking to old habits.
    Thank you and your family for sharing the recipes throughout the years.

  10. chefpaulo

    Father’s Day of my childhood marked the first day of getting the bar-b-que up and running with dad doing his famous chicken. He was not one to be waited on – he was in his element creating what he did best. Cooking for us was his present. Those many years are so fondly remembered.

    I raise one to you, Dad, the one who couldn’t have done a better job raising me.

    CP

  11. Terry Oliver

    Your dad is adorable! I love the stuff you shared about him today. Happy Fathers Day to him- he sure sounds like a wonderful guy.

  12. Renee

    In honor of two of the dads in my life: when my husband and I were dating, he was overjoyed at the fact that my dad had more types of mustard in the refrigerator than he did.

    Happy Father’s Day!

  13. Janis

    I really did not know my father….My Uncles (all 8 of them) where my father. Through my younger years they all took turns being a father figure for me. I am from a small town in the Pacific Northwest called Hoquiam and we spent our time as a family on father’s day I mean all of us (9 different families with no less than 2 children and the most children was 6). Clam digging (for Razor Clams), fishing, crabbing and swimming in grandma’s back yard creek and in a realtives private beach. What fun!
    My daughter is 14 and I want to tell you that she has the best in a Father..He puts his life on the line everyday (he is in the United States Army..He never fails to call her and usually long enough to hear her voice. He loves her to death…As for her dad (that is her step-dad) he is a veteran from Desert Storm, He too loves her to death and will like her father do just about anything for her even just get out on a Sunday and take a drive through all the counties in Tennessee and that is 99 of them…Both of Her Daddies love Basketball (One loves LA because that is where he is from and the other loves Dwayne Wade and Michael Jordan)…My daughter is a sports fan because of them and they both encourage her to do her best in whatever she wants to do. They never drag her down or put her down no matter how silly her ideas are. But they will let her know when she has gone to far. Now those are some DADS! ….HAPPY FATHER’S DAY TRAVON AND RUSTY… And to all the other father’s who can not be with their children on your day HAPPY FATHER’S DAY TO YOU TOO…Love from Cara and I

  14. Nadine

    How wonderful that you have so many terrific things to share about your dad. You are very lucky!

    My dad, who is 92 years old, rarely cooked except for breakfast. He loved making scrambled eggs with cream chesse, lox and onions. He also thought it was great to mix orange juice with Kool Aid. (I think it was just to get us to drink the OJ.) Today I made him grilled salmon and YOUR Teriyaki Steak.

  15. Stacy

    My dad used to pop popcorn for supper when my sister and I were little and he was left in charge. I’m not sure that anything tasted as wonderful as those popcorn and Pepsi suppers.

  16. Kim at Rustic Garden Bistro

    Happy Father’s Day to your Dad! Love the fact that he used to crash weddings. So did Mr. RGBistro in his younger days (he’s now 60). Maybe it was a generational thing that younger people don’t have the luxury of experiencing.

    Growing up, my father had an old beat-up pickup truck with bench seating. From about the age of 7, he’d let me sit in the middle and adjust the stick to put the truck in different gears for him. Anytime we got close to home, he’d also let me steer the wheel, all the way into the driveway.

    …Not sure if I’ll ever let my kids do that… ;-)

    [K]

  17. Dana

    Your Dad sounds really special, Elise!
    My Dad prided himself on being a bbq king – always tasty. But what we all remember best is the time his super hot fire blew the top right off our brand new Japanese “Big Green Egg” bbq. (Very hard to come by in 1958, specially imported no less.) The top flew across the yard and smashed into a million pieces. He didn’t miss a beat – just grabbed an empty flower pot and carried right on :) I still smile every time I see one of those egg bbqs and think how much better they’d look with a flower pot…

  18. Jill

    Thanks to you for sharing some of your dad’s food with us on your blog. My dad is now 94 and not cooking much since he broke his hip and lost most of his teeth in the last few years. However, he was a cook in the army at the San Pedro base during WW II. He grew up in a German-American family outside of Dayton, OH where he had different jobs, including working on a pig farm. He did a lot of the cooking in our family and would serve breakfast 3 times a day if permitted. We grew up in Southern California, but there was always a container of bacon grease on the stove, and we learned to eat farm treats like fried oatmeal cakes with syrup. Dad doesn’t like cheese or avocados and thinks artichokes are too much trouble, but he’s learned to appreciate some Chinese food over the years. To us, his strangest food habits are putting sugar on tomatoes and salt on cantaloupes.

  19. Meghann

    I think I’d like your dad; he sounds like mine (only mine is only 55, lol). Happy Father’s Day to him, he did a good job of being a dad :)

  20. Syd

    Lovely tribute. I remember my dad grilling steaks when I was growing up in the 60′s and 70′s. He would just slather them in salt and butter. There was no such thing as too much. To this day I have to stop myself from following in his footsteps. I also remember coming home after spending a college summer in France. I made a seafood dish and ratatouille–both discoveries for me–and was very proud to share them with my family. As we were sitting down, Dad commented as to how he couldn’t wait to eat “ratty-poo and dead fish.” He managed to choke it down, though. Thirty years later, the phrase is still a family joke.

  21. jeanette

    Happy Father’s Day! I like fact 9, “His best friend from when he was a kid, is still his best friend.” I hope I still have the same best friends when I’m his age.

    This Father’s Day, instead of buying my dad a gift, I made him bread pudding and butter pecan ice cream (using your recipes, of course!). It was delicious and put a smile on his face. It’s always so hard to find the right gift for him, I think making his favorite foods definitely show I appreciate him.

  22. Kassie

    As I drive through Frogtown on the way to work tomorrow I’ll think of your cool dad. Yeah for MN dads.

  23. Annemarie

    Thanks Elise for sharing. My dad has been gone for 14 years but there isn’t a meal in my house that doesn’t have his signature on it! He was the best cook in the family. For fathers day we had his famous marinated tri tip on the grill, roasted potatoes, grilled fresh zucinni picked from the garden this morning and a delicious salad. For desert his favorite, and my husband’s too…majic cookie bars

  24. Francheska

    I miss mine so much, he died two years ago and I get weepy whenever I make desserts because he loved sweets the most

  25. JoAnn Russell

    Luckily, we both have great dads.
    Our favorite Dad and food memory would have to be our Dad fixing meals for us while our Mom was at work or at an out of town inservice of some sort. Dad always cooked a big plate of scrambled eggs w/ketchup on top, sliced spam or hot dog, sliced dill pickles, all served on a big tray w/saltine crackers on the side. My sister and I thought this was cool because he let us eat in the living room in front of the TV! Nowadays we do the cooking and this morning we were happy to make his favorite breakfast; menudo. Happy Fathers Day to all!

  26. geaj

    Nothing pleases me more than when my dad compliments us on how proud he is of us! He says it with such emotion, and it really makes me feel like I actually DID something to make him proud. His steaks are to die for, and he makes the best London Broil too!

  27. Candice

    I love this post. Makes me appreciate my Dad all the more.

    His cooking specialty: “Dad’s famous-amos eggs” which were scrambled eggs + cheese + secret spice (Goya adobo). So simple – - so delicious! the amazing thing is that my Mom could never duplicate it to perfection!

  28. Debbie Westbrooks

    Hi Happy Father’s Day,

    My first husband lived in Frogsboro, N.C.and he talked like ther Kountry Fella’s, I mean’t to mispell the words. But I thought yaw might enjoy that thought.

    Thanks

  29. Heather Keppler

    My dad was the Saturday breakfast king! We called it daddy breakfast. It was a huge platter of scrambeled eggs a big pile of bacon a tower of buttered toast and a giant bowl of breakfast potatoes. I miss him every day and those potatoes!!!!!!

  30. Ledia

    Your Dad is, without a doubt, a great man. What a blessing to have such a wonderful Dad. I’m certain you’re aware of how fortunate you are – hence the post. Happy Father’s Day to your family.

    Every minute of every day Ledia. Cheers, ~Elise

  31. Kristopfer

    He can bench 250 at 80 years old, and cook? Color me impressed! I’m 35 and have trouble with 250!

    Tell me about it. I can barely lift the bar, without weights. He would be the first to say bench press is all vanity though. ~Elise

  32. Peg Tomlinson-Poswall

    Elise, what a great picture of the two of you and what a wonderful tribute to him.

    My best memory of my Dad….his chocolate malts – so thick that after trying to suck them through the straw even my little round face had cheekbones.

  33. Dan

    You are so fortunate that you and your father have a shared interest. I can just imagine the look you share when you both put that fork in your mouth and say uuuummmmmm. Especially when it’s something you’ve made together.

    Happy Father’s Day!

  34. Edith

    What a lovely tribute to your dad! My dad’s gone now, but a favorite memory of him was his green thumb in the backyard garden. He turned a traditional ’70s suburban home plot into a garden that would feed an army. The rows of tomatoes and beans were endless. And, better yet, he’d bring the garden bounty inside and make a big vat of soup and a giant cast iron skillet of corn bread to sop it up. I think of him whenever I use that well-seasoned skillet.

  35. Lisa

    Your dad sounds like a treasure! I hope he had a wonderful Fathers Day. My favorite culinary memory of my sweet dad, whom I lost in 1988, was his (in)famous fried bologna and mustard sandwich on toast. :) I haven’t had one in years, but the memory of that smell in the kitchen will last forever!

  36. Lisa

    So sweet! Is he looking for an adopted daughter? I’m housebroken!

    My Dad worked for the Department of Agriculture, so ALL of my food OCD comes from him. I learned proper cooking temperatures at a very young age. Cross contamination was discussed regularly. Some of my fondest memories are calling home from college, or post college locales, and asking for him. I needed a food question answered, PRONTO.

    That was the first thing that tugged at my heartstrings when he passed away. About a week later I had a food question and no one to call.

    Dads rock.

  37. Alberto Hernandez

    Raised by old bark standards, I admire a man worthy of memorable reference and sincere praise, you are a lucky young lady.
    My wife of 40 yrs & I have 4 married daughters w/husbands & kids, & a ret. NAVY son w/wife and kids, they all call me Ito(short for ABUELITO, g-father in Spanish). They keep telling me that I am the best father, for one reason or another throughout the year. I do not know if it is my cooking or my behavior, but I try to not disappoint them,.. I don’t want them to go to some one else for advice or guidance.
    I learned to cook mainly from my father when I was young. My brother & I, drove Dad’s trucks in the road construction business in the 50′s, which took us away from home for days at a time. Dad always had all the utensils to cook over a fire on the side of the road when morning or evening came upon us.
    He could cook just about any Mexican dish, and his favorite was “CARNE GUISADA”, w/refried beans, this is a spiced beef tips on brown gravy dish with any sides that you prefer,specially a picante sauce, ..for bread, away from home,it was always corn bread, from scratch.
    Our const. boss & some of the crew, ate w/us often, even a state trooper, who stopped to investigate the cooking fire, ate with us several times. We laid his 60 mile patrol route between Freer and Laredo Tx. & he conveniently stopped on his way home to see how we were doing. Dad’s cooking always made people’s tongues happy.

  38. Rick

    When I was a kid, my Dad’s idea of a new recipe was showing me how to take a drink out of a bottle of Dr. Pepper and then pouring in a whole pack of salted peanuts. I still love it. Love you, Dad!

  39. MaryKJ

    My dad never cooked until after my mom passed away. She wasn’t such a great cook either, but my dad, was a REALLY goood cook. No one knew! Especially my mom. He made the best sauerkraut and sausage that I ever had – the secret was that he let it cook for hours with caraway and barley. Luckily, I wrote some of his recipes down before he passed away. Thanks for sharing the stories about your dad and starting this topic. Cooking and loving go hand-in-hand.

  40. Katie

    Hi, Elise: What a lovely tribute to your Dad!

    My Dad passed away 7 years ago – and I miss him so much! When I was trying to think of food memories of him, I laughed because my Dad was a great guy, but a terrible cook! The few times my Mom had to be out of town when I was a kid, my Dad would make one awful dinner the first night (Spaghettios – mixed with a can of water?!), then give up and we’d eat at Big Boy or Burger King every night until she got back. :-)

    But he loved good food – he enjoyed ice cream so much, that it’s one of my favorite memories of him. He was brave and would try anything – the only thing I ever saw him balk at were these green pickled sparrows that we were served in Greece (with their heads on!).

    He was smart & married an excellent cook – which is what I’m going to recommend to my sons if it turns out they aren’t able to cook well for themselves (I’m going to try my best to teach them, however!)

    Thanks for all you do and thanks to your Dad, too!

  41. Roslyn Reed

    Great article about your dad. Can tell you and your siblings are close with him. Like the way he helps with the house work. Good Man.

  42. Maureen Smith

    A day late, but still. . .my dad turned 82 in January (a young 82, he tells it). Mom did the bulk of the meal prep, but dad fancied himself a cook and did kitchen duty on weekends. He once made barley soup for us. Thinking that a little barley was good, a lot would be better, he added a whole box of barley to. . .something. It became barley glop. As there were seven children, food was not something that got thrown out. That glop was forced upon us for days. . .it started to ferment in the soup pot. Finally, mom prevailed and the glop (what was left) was thrown away. That was about 35 years ago – we haven’t let dad forget it. Happy Father’s Day to all the dads!

  43. jonathan

    Hamburger Helper could come out of that kitchen, and it wouldn’t matter.

    Because it would be filled with love.

    (High in sodium, maybe, but filled with love…;)

    I should look half as fit at 60. Wish your Dad the best. Belatedly.

  44. Anna Murphey

    Um, can I just say, that he looks fabulous! 80, I think you have to be lying because he looks better than some 60 year olds that I know. The fact that he is working out so much is awesome! I hope I can do that. I want to be spry at 80! I will totally eat donuts with him. Homemade donuts (I used Alton Brown’s recipe when I made them last) are out of this world, light and fluffy and sent from heaven.

  45. Karina

    What a lovely photo of you two. Great list. I never knew my father; he left when I was a baby. You are blessed to know your Dad- and- you get to cook with him! Happy Father’s Day to the Simply Recipes family. xox

  46. Marita

    My Dad didn’t cook much (and still doesn’t, at 81), but when we were growing up he always made something green to feed us on St. Patrick’s day – green eggs, green french toast, green mashed potatoes.

  47. Annie B

    What a cool dad! You are truly fortunate to have him. I recently lost my dad and your dad sounds very much like mine. He loved me unconditionally and up until the end, I was still his “little sweet gal”.
    Just hearing about your lovely father has flooded my thoughts with so many wonderful and silly memories. Thank you so much for your loving post about your dad and really, all our dads!

  48. Fay Evans

    Say, can I borrow your Dad? My Dad was not a cook but he loved to eat. He was from Yoakum, TX and my Mom was from New York so we grew up on plain Southern cooking and fancy Helen Corbett. My Dad’s favorite Sunday night supper was grits, link sausage and fried bananas. All the major comfort foods and an amazing combination of flavors. Fix it for your Dad sometime. He’ll bless you!
    Fay

  49. Cheri

    Never saw much of my dad, and didn’t really have any other father figure, but my husband is an AMAZING parent to our 18-yr old son. When it became apparent that a motorcycle obsession wasn’t going to go away, they took a safety class together and learned to ride. When my son had saved enough to buy a second hand bike, my dear husband bought one too, so they could go riding (safely!) together. He doesn’t cook, but he really, really rocks!

  50. Liane

    We love Garrison Keillor!!

    Favorite memories of my dad are:

    - sailing on the Puget Sound, he would let us take the wheel and steer the boat while he trimmed the sails. One time he made jam and butter sandwiches for all of us – that was actually kind of gross, but the trip was fun.
    - camping every summer, taking full advantage of his vast Boy Scouts experience and years in the Forest Service and knowing that our dad was the coolest in the campground. The biggest camping treats were Little Smokies and Dinty Moore stew.
    - eating his delicious salt and pepper steaks grilled on the plain old charcoal grill he inherited from his dad.

  51. Judy B. - Texas

    My Daddy has been in Heaven for a very long time and I still miss him so very much. His specialty was ribs. Daddy and I built our own barbeque pit and he put it to good use. He didn’t cook a lot but his main job was farming – raising vegetables, chickens, etc. to feed his family of 5 kids, my Mom, himself and his Mom. My, Daddy, he was wonderful!

  52. Sondra

    Your dad likes anything made with sauerkraut? ANYTHING? How about chocolate sauerkraut cake? Sounds yucky; tastes wonderful!

    1/2 cup butter
    1 1/2 cups sugar
    3 eggs
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    2 cups flour
    1/2 cup cocoa
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1 cup water
    1 8 ounce can sauerkraut, drained, rinsed, chopped finely
    1 recipe chocolate frosting (I use a chocolate sour cream frosting)

    Obviously, the key is to drain and RINSE the sauerkraut. It adds a slightly chewy texture to the cake that is fantabulous!

    Actually that sounds pretty good to me, thank you! ~Elise

  53. KariVery

    I wish I had seen this yesterday, but oh well… My Dad was from Owatonna, MN and lived in California most of his adult life. He LOVED calling his family back there and bragging about the weather! I have lots of great food memories of my dad – his silver dollar pancakes are probably my favorite thing he made, but he was quite an accomplished cook and made all kinds of tasty food. I teared up at the earlier post where someone commented on needing to ask their dad a food question, but not being able to just pick up the phone and give him a call…. I miss mine every single day. Thank you for giving us a glimpse of the great guy your Dad must be ;-)

  54. renuka

    In school, come exam time, my mom had the habit of giving us something sweet – just a teaspoon of sugar, if there is no candy. We liked it. If we ever asked my Dad for sugar/candy any other time, he always said “sugar is poison”, but never denied it. We always wondered why he never denied it if he actually believed it. Now that I am a parent myself, I believe the same, and still cannot deny it to my 3-year old son:) I just tell him it is bad for him, but he can have it anyway.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Regarding some fabulous dessert, my dad would say, “Before you eat it I have to taste it to make sure it isn’t poison.” ;-) ~Elise

  55. Vicky Go

    My father baked me a chocolate cake for my 2nd B-day using a make-shift oven set over coals in a dirt kitchen. We lived 30 miles away from Manila & this was in the late 40′s after WWII & we won’t have a regular oven for about 10 more years from then. The cake rose so high & he even frosted it & decorated it & had candles on it for me to blow out! Best B-day cake I ever had!

  56. Kirsten

    So many of my memories of Dad are food memories. Dad always makes the best food and we were never stuck eating boring old meat and potato dishes. Don’t get me wrong, as an immigrant to Canada from Germany we ate lots of Potatoes, usually with some sort of pork, but Dad was always creating and mixing flavors. He still makes the best fried rice I’ve ever eaten, and I’ve never had a grilled cheese near as great as his. Poor Dad can’t seem to get through his head that now his daughter is a celiac and therefore can’t eat all of our old favorites, as he continues to try to feed me “Dad’s Cake,” offers me his grilled cheese, wants to make our GIANT pasta feasts (with regular noodles) of days gone by and tempts me with his amazing schnitzel. What can I say, my Dad is pretty amazing in the kitchen and even more so in everything else he does! Love you Papi :)

  57. Teresa Rose

    Thank you for reminding me of my sweet father who has passed. Dad always showed up at family functions with a pan of baked beans. The pan would be covered in foil and wrapped with newspapers and ceremoniously taped into a paper sack. We all loved Grandpa’s beans.
    Shortly before he passed, he hand wrote his recipe for my niece. A copy, that included his detailed instructions,” your beans will get a nice tan…” was my Christmas gift the following year. It is treasured and graces the cover of my Cookbook/Binder that holds the copious number of recipes that I print from your blog.

  58. Susan

    My Dad’s speciality was sandwiches prepared on Sunday after church. Where my Mom would give us tuna mixed only with mayo, my Dad made them with added celery, minced onion, red pepper, capers, chopped eggs and sweet relish with the mayo. He dressed it with sliced tomato and lettus on lightly toasted bread. Any of the sandwiches he made were real “dagwoods.” I so looked forward to his Sunday lunches!

  59. Lola

    I love it! Your dad is the bomb! My boys will be so impressed with his bench press numbers–they love powerlifting and never miss a workout. Your dad is a great example to follow–best wishes to him!
    By the way, we love your blender hollandaise recipe, and now eggs benedict is our Sunday morning tradition.

  60. Eunice Van Loon

    My father could not boil water without burning it. I saw him fry an egg once and after he retired from farming he did peel potatoes for my mother. If he had any other skills in the kitchen, we never knew of them. I am 88 years old now and don’t cook like I used to, but I do enjoy your recipes and make copies of them. I have given away more cookbooks in my life than most people ever have but I still can’t resist buying new ones. I guess I plan to be the cook after I get thru the pearly gates.

  61. Carly

    I loved this tribute to your dad. Mine has been gone for 5 years and I miss him terribly everyday. I have many fond memories that I cherish and quite a few are food memories. Dad was an adventurous eater and passed that on to my sister and I. He once spotted turtles being prepared for turtle soup through the back door of a kitchen as we sat waiting in the car for Mom to finish grocery shopping. He tried his best to distract us so we wouldn’t be upset about the turtles’ fate, then later sneaked back down to the restaurant for some soup. I know he was drooling the whole time. Dad liked to say “eat til you bust” and “eat til you never want to eat again”(which I think came from his years in the army). He lost his mom young and had a great appreciation for his mother-in-laws (my grandma’s) cooking and even more so, my mom’s. He always complimented every meal. I didn’t get to cook much for him before he passed, but so often since I say to myself “I sure wish Dad were here to try this”.

    Despite his love of food, he wasn’t much of a cook. Sure, he managed to leave a lasting impression on us kids with his cowboy hat sandwiches (slice of ham in a hot skillet which bubbles up like a cowboy hat). He made them once when Mom was out at card club, along with root beer floats. But, he also liked to experiment with stuff Mom wouldn’t touch like smelts, duck, and chicken innerds; usually with little success. Once, when Dad was laid-off from work and trying to help Mom out more, he made baked beans which our dogs wouldn’t even eat. Awww…fond memories.

  62. Jeanette

    You are a very lucky women to have such a wonderful Dad, and he is lucky to have you a loving daughter who seems to put family first.

  63. Erin

    Your dad sounds like a great person. Thanks for sharing him (and his recipes) with us!

    My dad doesn’t cook. He only makes two things, but he makes them better than anybody I know (even better than my chef husband): scrambled eggs and grilled cheese! I loved Saturdays because my dad was home and I usually got to have both on the same day.

  64. Rosie

    What a lovely father’s day tribute to your dad. Thank you for sharing.

    I have many wonderful food memories of my dad: the two of us eating toasted sandwiches filled with salame, mortadella, prosciutto and the like outside under the eaves on a rainy day; my dad grilling steaks over a makeshift bbq-a wheelbarrow turned into a grill; and my dad giving me a little sip of his homemade wine along with a bite of salame and a bite of bread.

    Miss you dad.

  65. Renee

    My dad was from Minnesota and farmed in the SW corner of the state. Whenever my mom would get sick and couldn’t cook for us, we would have fried steak and milk gravy for lunch and dinner. He passed away in 1999 and I miss him dearly. He also loved sauerkraut and ribs or pork chops. Lots of Germans in MN! Hope your dad had a good father’s day and tell him to keep serving up the good food.

  66. Kim Chapman

    Hi,Happy Father’s Day.
    I loved “A few facts about my dad”
    My dad went to be with the Lord when I was just
    6yrs young, but I spent alot of time with him when he wasn’t at work. The one memory that came to mind was, dad coming home from work, clearly after having a not so good day & when he saw what was on the table( franks & bean casseroll) his nose flarred & said ” I worked all day & come home to this”…. & flipped the pan. Shocked, we started cleaning up the mess.
    Dad tasting some that got on his fingers regretted his action in more ways then hurting my mother’s feelings, because the taste was so good with the green peppers & onions that she seasoned the beans with. It was very funny to me.Mom couldn’t just warm food up out of a can. He should have known moms style of cooking but he wasn’t thinking at the time.

  67. Alice

    Happy Fathers day to him…he didn’t by chance attend Mechanic Arts HS did he?

    No, St. Agnes. ~Elise

  68. Lauren

    My father passed in 1989 and I still remember the hot cereal he made when my siblings and i were growing up. He’d get the cereal going-oatmeal; always Buckeye Old Fashioned, or Roman Meal or Cream of Wheat or a mix of oatmeal and Roman Meal, then set the pot in a pan of water to double boil it for at least twenty minutes or it was, “no good.” He also made apple sauce from our own apples including the core and peel and then pressed it through a colander. And he made juice from carrots and apples and celery when he got on the health kick. Other than that he didn’t like cooking. But, like your father, he swept and mopped and ironed. And he had a teasing sense of humor, was passionate about Middle East history and politics, and learned every job in the woods starting from whistle punk when he was sixteen. He was a faller when I was growing up and told us stories about how he was a chauffeur when he was 12, driving a doctor around until he got caught and throwing rocks at the pretty stained glass windows in the church because he and his friends, “liked the sound.” He was also a WWII vet who rarely talked about his experiences. He was one of my best friends and I still miss him. Love and Light

  69. Julia

    I am glad that your father is still alive. I lost my father in 1996 and my mother in 2003. So when Father’s Day and Mother’s Day come around I have no one to give wishes for a happy day.But I am very happy to wish your father a very belated Happy Father’s Day.

  70. jmm

    This was wonderful!! The only food memory I have of my dad when I was young (and he is still alive & kickin’ @ 85) is when he would occasionally take over the cooking duties from my mom (I have six siblings). My mother is a very wonderful and predictable cook- no surprises, which is good when you’re a kid.
    One concoction he made was called “Papa Merriman’s Special” and I think it contained cream cheese (too weird for midwestern kids in the 1950s) and peas. Because we had a family rule that we sat at the table until we finished eating, several of us sat for a very long time that evening (I think the ones who left sneaked the mixture into a napkin).
    To this day, when faced with a dish of unknown origin that is inedible, we call it Papa Merriman’s Special.
    PS- we, too, ate lots of kielbasa and sauerkraut growing up…

  71. Brenda

    Thanks for sharing all the tidbits about your Dad. Great picture. I hope he had a real nice Father’s Day. I’m sure he did.

  72. Alta

    I remember stretches when my Dad would try to cook in the kitchen. Lots of experimenting, and lots of dinners we could barely get down. Then came “Surprise #7″ (found on my blog) – it was basically rice and ground meat with some tomato and spices, but it tasted good. We ate it nearly weekly after that. Love your post about your Dad – I hope he had a wonderful Father’s Day.

  73. Brandy H

    Loved the information on your father! Sounds like an awesome guy and I love that now there is a picture to go with all those other stories and recipes. Thanks for this website! I absolutely love it and share it with everyone I know.

  74. RobbieAnn Montgomery

    Hey Elise,
    Love your site and I always enjoy your family stories. My daddy is 88 and although my mama passed away in 1995 we still tell her stories. She was also from Frogtown but Mississippi not Minnesota how funny is that. My daddy sounds alot like yours, it’s a shame that they live so far apart.

  75. Ariadna

    Well, food memories… not really; only when my dad ate, you could notice from the trails he left… But I do have to say when I was little, he always saved me from my mom. I know that is not right, but then it was… I miss them both so much; my mom passed 10 years ago and my father 3 weeks ago. My brother passed too; he had two kids. I miss all of them!

  76. Judy

    Happy Dad’s Day to all the Dads out there. I was very blessed to have my Dad with me till he was 96 years old! He now resides in Heaven with my Mom, when she passed he never spent a day without kissing her photo…
    Dad loved to eat!! He was my perfect guinea pig, and boy was he honest! He was a wonderful, caring, generous funny soul that loved to be around people and tell jokes. He truly was from the “Greatest Generation”. HAPPY FATHERS DAY DADDY, I MISS YOU.

  77. Mark Boxshus

    Elise

    What a touching tribute to your father. And the fact that he was such an important and instrumental part of your culinary awakening is really very special. God Bless him. He is clearly a talented, funny and unique character, and you’re very lucky to have him at your side.

    I recently lost my father one month to the day after he turned 86. It was a sudden and unexpected passing, but I was blessed in that I was able to be there when he passed. I was at a medical conference in Vegas when I got the call that he was critically ill and on life support. Miraculously I found a red eye flight that got me home in time.

    Keep up the great, inspirational work. As you know, you are amongst my favorite food people, and some day, I hope to be able to tell you that face to face.

    Mark

  78. Vokee

    Wow…to think that the person behind all of these recipes was a man from Minnesota!! I am also from Minnesota :D I am proud, haha. I am currently in college right now but I often look at the Simple Recipe web because I like cooking for a hobby. My major isn’t in culinary arts but I do like food. Although I do not have a food scene to share with you guys about my dad, I would just like to thank you guys for supporting this website and making this website happen. Thank You!

  79. Liz

    Your dad sounds wonderful. Mine is too, and just turned 90 a few days ago. His humor is also hard for some people to get – and I bet you and your dad would love him. He used to write joke recipes on an old typewriter to crack us up – my favorite was “Treacherous Mushroom Jello” which included Smith Brothers cough drops. The last instruction was “Serve near a railing — if at all.” Another one was “Log Cabin Wiener Cake,” which involved hotdogs and marshmallow fluff. Mmm…

  80. Mischka

    What a great tribute to your Dad! A Belated Happy Father’s Day to him and to your family. Thanks for the great site – your tomatillo scrambled eggs recipe is DELICIOUS!!!

  81. viv

    How lucky are you? My dad passed away a very long time ago, and I remember him, each day, when I use one of his sayings, as we tend to do. Great recipes which I enjoy receiving. So keep your Dad in the kitchen.

  82. Emily

    My dad and I used to make chocolate chip cookies together — I still have that Nestle Toll House recipe memorized, even though I use a different recipe now. At the end of the recipe, he would pour the chocolate chips from high above the bowl and I would catch some and eat them right then – -fun!

    My dad would also make breakfast (sounds like a lot of dads do this!) for me and my mom while I was growing up. He still makes breakfast when we have Christmas brunch at his house: eggs, bacon, pancakes (now he has a waffle maker so he makes Belgian waffles!), sausage… nothing fancy’s fun to watch him cook! He has a special stance when he cooks bacon — one hand on hip. I think of him when I catch myself at the stove in this cooking stance as well!

    My dad is a good host — he has had Thanksgiving the past several years and takes pride in making everything nice and planning everything, but he doesn’t cook any of the food! Just organizes my family bringing everything.

    Thanks for the great idea of sharing dad food memories. I’ve enjoyed reading yours and the others! I really like the photo you posted. Happy Father’s Day!

  83. anna

    My dad always made the best meatballs and spaghetti dish, cuz he followed how his dad cooked! My Grandfather owned a restaurant!

  84. PiquantMolly

    I’m very impressed that a man from Minnesota is so willing to try new and exciting foods! I’m from Minnesota, as are both of my parents (I’m actually from Garrison Keillor’s hometown!), and “exciting” is not a term you’d use for traditional Minnesota cuisine. I think the only things we used to season food in our house were salt and pepper. I remember discovering herbs and cayenne and flavored vinegars when I got to college, and it was like a new world opening!

    Does your dad at least still do a good ol’ Minnesota hot dish? Remember to include a can of cream of mushroom soup — also known as “Lutheran binder!”

  85. Andrea

    What a nice post. It is evident you treasure your dad and the super relationship you have. Simply beautiful!

  86. Paula

    Thanks for such a great Father’s Day post. I enjoy the insites into the behind the scenes of simplyrecipes.

    I charish the day that my dad told me that my pork chops and gravy (I learned to cook them from his mother) were his second favorite food next to fried chicken.

    As for my husband, he excitedly cooked his own father’s day entre, BBQ pork tender loin. It is a different recipe every time. We both enjoy trying new recipes from your site regularly.

    Thank you again and keep up the good work.

  87. Linda

    Thank you, Elise, for all your stories as well as the recipes. It’s so reassuring knowing there are others whose roots of the family tree are entertwined with roots of the earth’s bounty.

    I loved Sat morning grocery shopping w/my dad. We’d go to the Slovak bakery for hard-crusted sourdough rye bread and perhaps a poppyseed or nut buchta, then off to the Italian bakery to pick out a half a dozen crusty rolls that were piled high in a big wooden crate on the floor.

    Dad would always get me a nickle piece of “hot pie” or pizza, as it is known to the rest of the world. Bread dough was patted into big cookie sheets, covered with homemade tomato sauce, sprinkled w/cheese and baked in the bread ovens. A sheet of “pie” always sat on the counter next to the cash register. Cut into 5-inch squares and served at room temp, wrapped in a piece of wax paper, it was the original fast-food-to-go and so good!

    At the meat market, sawdust covered the floor behind the meat case. Dad would buy a 3-foot whole pork loin that he’d cut and saw to mother’s specifications when we got home. (She was a farmer’s daughter and knew how she wanted the loin cut.) The butcher would carry them on his shoulder from the cooler for Dad to pick which he liked. He never wanted huge chops “from an old pig”, but rather tender, medium-sized ones.

    A stop for hard salami and cappacola at the Italian deli, then head cheese, liverwurst, and skinny, foot-long hot dogs at the German grocer’s and we’d head home for a delicious lunch of all our goodies and mother’s homemade dill or hot pickles.

    I really appreciate our immigrant-settled upstate NY town of Slovaks, Poles, Russians, Italians. Greeks, Jews, Germans, Irish, etc., and the wealth of their wonderful foods! Thanks to my mother and dad we were taught to enjoy it all, including the liverwurst, headcheese, pickled herring, jellied pig’s feet, sardines….. and I still do!

    I love it. I too was brought up with liverwurst, pickled herring, sardines. My mother loves headcheese and jellied pig’s feet. I haven’t gotten into pig’s feet yet, but these days I’m addicted to head cheese. Thank you for your story. ~Elise

  88. Sherihan

    Happy farther’s day to your father Elise and thx to all his delicious recipes and happy father’s day to all the dads out there :)

    My father died back in 2006 (May god bless his soul) but I still miss him as much as before and still remember the day before he died like it was just yasterday, he had a heart of gold and a strong spirit, strong till the end, everybody loved him and I didn’t realize how much I loved him untill he died, so to everyone don’t miss any chance to tell your father how much you love him.

  89. Jen

    Well, I’m late, but I read all the entries with a big smile and was moved to remember my dad’s eggs over easy with minced garlic and woschester sauce, then layered with cheese and ketchup (dads seem to love ketchup and breakfast) between toasted bread. Unforgettable.

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