Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Dad's dinner

I happened to be browsing through other peoples blogs when I came across Anna's blog "At Anna's kitchen table" and read her lovely post about attending an old family friend's funeral. A few tears welled up and then I realised that it was the anniversary of my fathers death.......he died on January 9th, 1991, 17 long years ago. A couple of times in the last few years the day has actually passed without my even marking it (which always makes me feel very guilty) but I do take solace in the fact that it is after all just another day and that I remember my Dad most days anyway, after all my son is named after him! And I would rather remember the days other than the one which he died on!

The tears that came from reading Anna's post came from that feeling I always get now when I go to other peoples funerals. It always brings up the pain I felt at losing my Dad, and it always makes me especially feel for those people who have lost someone close to them. Funerals are a blessing and a curse, they are such an emotional wrench yet they are such an important part of the grieving process. I always love hearing the kinds of anecdotes that get spoken of at funerals, they are usually filled with a lot of love. I remember getting huge comfort from the words spoken about my father from his extended family, friends and coworkers at his funeral.

I must say that I have very fond memories of my Dad, especially when it comes to food. He was very adventurous in his tastes and used to delight in trying different kinds of food, even more so if it made us squirm. I remember him gleefully eating snails at a restaurant, slurping down raw kina, and making beetroot and twistie sandwiches! He certainly encouraged us to try new things though, it was great growing up and being exposed to lots of different styles of food.

I remember my first fine dining experience with my mum and dad when I was 15, it still sits firmly in my memory. It was on the top floor of a hotel in Auckland and Dad had a mango fish dish, which seemed terribly exotic at the time!

So to mark the day I decided to cook a meal that reminded me of Dad. He loved seafood so our starter was that great retro favourite: Prawn Cocktail! To follow we had Egg Foo Young, something he used to make for us on the few times he cooked (he was no slouch in the kitchen, but my mother is such a good cook he left her to it!!!!) with stir fry vege, and to finish none other than his favourite lollies, Licorice Allsorts! He used to have packets of these stowed away in his bedroom drawer and make them last for weeks, which always completely amazed us kids, we were of the belief that if the packet is open, it must be finished, NOW!

It was an enjoyable meal, all the better for remembering Dad. Mum proclaimed that he would have been pretty pleased with the Egg Foo Young, it was close to as good as how he made it!

Here's the recipe for the Egg Foo Young.....

6 eggs
5 spring onions sliced thinly
1/2 onion, sliced
1/2c peas
1/4 tsp chinese five spice
2 tsp cornflour
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp peanut oil
1 tsp sesame oil
Beat eggs, and 5 spice together. Mix soy sauce with cornflour to form paste then add to egg mix. Heat oils in pan and fry onions til soft. Add peas then eggs, stir as if making an omelette. When set on the bottom flip over like a pancake. Cook briefly then turn out onto a plate and devour!


Kerry said...

What a fantastic way to remember your Dad. My father pasted away on new years eve a few years ago and I always light a candle and take a few moments. This seems like a great idea.

Anonymous said...

Oh Linda, you have done such a wonderful job on your site here and I know your Dad would be so proud. I do remember the adventurous nature of your Dad's palette. One memory I have was before he married your Mom, he had recently returned from a trip through Southeast Asia and had taken a liking to curry. His ability to eat that hot mix without flinching an eye, and watching me take my first bite then head for the water (not realizing bread would have worked better to douce the burning) was met with a sly laughter, and some advice on how to enjoy this wonderful feast. Of course, his advise was met with skepticism as we had also had conversations about Weta's and Huhu bugs and their nutritional value and taste as well. Fond memories indeed, in fact now every time I have a nice hot curry, I always think of your Dad.

Keep up the tremendous work Linda.

Love you
Uncle Grant
Langley, B.C. Canada

Thinking About Food said...

Thanks for that Grant, it is great to hear old stories like that!

Teresa said...

What a wonderful way to remember your dad.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great meal Linda - what a lovely idea.

Liquorice allsorts is my kind of dessert too! Couldn't make a packet last though.

Francesca x

Anna's kitchen table said...

What a lovely post Linda! ((()))

pistachio said...

Linda, what a lovely idea.

pi xxxz

hungryandfrozen said...

Linda, what a lovely post. I hope being the third person in a row to say this doesn't diminish its loveliness in your mind in any way :)

vonsachsen said...

What´s left for me to say? :D
I liked the idea and I might do something similar later this year...thanks for an inspiring post.

Anonymous said...

One of the last memories I had of Dad cooking was when we brought home paua from Akaroa when Chris just got out of the Army. We- being young & immortal-wanted them cooked in a cream sauce. Dad gently persuaded us that a fat free sauce would be just as delicious for them & what's more he'd cook them in it & we wouldn't know the difference blah blah.
By God- he was right-We've had Paua since then & none has matched up to the divine fat free concoction Dad mixed up!!

When we were in the Army Chris was obsessed wih catching Salmon out of the Rakaia River for my family- the Edhouses & we managed to bring a few up North every year. When Chris Resigned from the Army He & my Dad jacked up a smoker & wrong or right Dad & Chris gave us gorgeous home smoked salmon- Chris since then has learnt ways to perfect the smoking technique.
Seafood was huge in Dad's loves.

Curry was something Dad didnt get to indulge in much while I was growing up- All us kids were pretty vocal in our dislikes & curry was a strong NO- but remember, curry was very insipid in our day.
We've come a long long way with our taste buds aye?
When I first hooked up with Chris( after spending 2 years in Asia) & he mentioned a "curry dinner" I was abusingly (negatively) blunt.
I'm now converted, as are most people to the different spicy styles of cooking.
We have a Friday night tradition in our immediate family of "boil up" now thanks to Maori/ European/ Asian influences.
We substitute traditional fatty meats with chicken breast, Asian spices potato and onion & we bake our own bread & have a divine boil up meal on a friday night.
Friday also used to be the night when we'd travel for an hour to eat out at a mediocre restaurant.
Dad was always right in this regard-home cooked meals were always superior in every way.
Mum commented that in eating out at restaurants Dad would always say her cooking was far superior, but Mum's idea of bliss was getting out of the kitchen & the dishes routine! & as a family we learnt social graces and manners and the ability to get along with generations.
Love you Dad & Mum. Lots. For Everything!

Anonymous said...

Hi Linda,

Love this post - and your blog as you know.

Ian and I have one lasting memory of food and your Dad... when we were at Julie Brown's bach at Ohope one night and your Dad introduced Ian to his first taste of mussels, rock oysters and pipis. As someone who had always been vehemently against any type of seafood, this changed his world (and mine! cos I LOVE seafood)for the better.

love you!

Nicki and Ian

Ms O said...

Linda, you've written such a warm and loving post about your dad. I feel that I know him just a bit through your writing. Sounds like he was one terrific fellow!

Lea xxx

Anonymous said...

My first attempt to leave a comment didn't work. Probably something to do with my lack of skill in the electronic media!!

Rex would certainly have given the thumbs up for your "Dad Dinner" last week Linda. He was a delight to cook for and always willing to try something new and rarely made negative comments on my attempts. There were only two foods he would refuse to eat... capsicum and cucumber. That was because they did not agree with him, not because he didn't like them. My own father was a meat and three vege man so although Mum was a good cook she never got much of a chance to display her talents as they weren't always appreciated.
Always happy to sample your cooking Linda. Thank-you for the invites. Love you, Mum.