I sat down at the computer a couple of times before deadline, staring at a blank screen, wondering what I was going to write about my father for a Fathers Day column.
Truth be told, most of my memories growing up were not of my dad cooking in the kitchen or firing up the grill on a warm afternoon. Usually grandma commanded the kitchen and grandpa or my uncle would be the ones at the charcoal grill (Cecil tried to get the flame as high as possible on the grill without setting a pine tree on fire).
Thats not to say that my dad or grandpa never stepped foot in the kitchen.
Au contraire! Shari and I have the photos to prove it.
Grandpa usually made breakfast on the weekends... eggs, grits and bacon or sausage. When he went into semi-retirement and went fishing in the mornings, if he caught something, wed be sure to have some sort of fried fish.
Memories of my dad in the kitchen are a bit more recent.
About 20 years ago, my father began perfecting his recipe for pecan pies. He did this by baking pie after pie and adjusting the ratio of ingredients until he felt hed gotten it just right. Hes gotten SO good that now every year, from mid-October to Christmas, he bakes about 80 or so pies for family, friends and soon-to-be-friends. Heaven forbid he slips up and accidentally leaves someone off the list...Ive seen folks (jokingly, I hope) arguing over slivers of pie.
I consider those pies his everlasting gift to mankind.
Unfortunately, I will not be sharing THAT recipe...family secret, you know.
Since Fathers Day is this Sunday, Shari and I will once again be preparing Daddys favorite meal: fried cubed steak (beef and venison versions), rice and pan gravy, green beans, biscuits, green salad, deviled eggs and lemon pie with a graham cracker crust for dessert. Maybe Ill have just enough time to sneak in a nap before going in to work.
Thanks to the readers who shared their photos and memories of their fathers...
My father, John May, is a retired family practitioner who spent most of the last 50 years taking care of his rural patient population. He never had time for hobbies, but became interested in making cookies at Christmas. These thousands of cookies were given to hospital employees, nursing home patients, neighbors and friends.
He would start baking just after Thanksgiving and by Christmas our house would be full of tins of benne seed, pfeffernuesse, sugar cookies, wafers, molded chocolate, Moravian, spritz, gingerbread boys and girls, rosettes, hermits, Lebkuchen, madelines, spekulas, and Russian butter cookies.
We spent days together fixing plates of cookies, wrapping in plastic bags, adding tags and delivering all over the county. He continues this tradition in retirement and people love to see those cookies coming.
Penny May Nobles, Bennettsville
Attached is a photo of 9-year-old JC Militello, and his dad, John, who owns Lets Cook Culinary Studio in Columbia (1305 Assembly St.). JC enjoys cooking with his dad, and especially EATING everything they create! In the photo, they are making homemade pasta.
Kristina Militello, Columbia