As a child I told my friends that my father was a chef. Not a superhero or that he was stronger than their dads, but a chef. Seeing the love my dad has always had for food and cooking, him being a chef was the highest form of praise I could give him.
Once I told my teacher the same story. She asked where he cooked. My very childlike and honest reply was, “Oh, only at home.” And that was enough.
When people say that the secret ingredient is love in a special dish, I believe them. I’m convinced I can taste the mood my dad was in when he cooked a particular meal. Once I tasted my dinner and it was bland and stiff, nothing like my dad’s regular tasty dishes. I asked him how he was feeling and his reply was, “I’m a bit sad to be honest. I’m just not feeling like myself.” He puts a little of himself into his cooking and it’s fantastic.
My dad will often say about himself that he’s not very clever and he can’t do very much, but something he can do and where he can make a difference in someone’s life is to cook for them. It’s how he shows love and appreciation and joy. Plus he’s been cooking for almost 50 years so he has learned a thing or two. It’s inspiring.
Passing down the soup ladle
My father’s greatest wish is that one of his kids would inherit this passion for cooking from him. Unfortunately, with a mom who retired from cooking when my dad retired from work, there was a tug-of-war on the matter.
My older brother, Shane, cooks by dialling up Mr Delivery. He does make a delicious Tiramisu though…
My older sister, Kim, is a pretty good cook actually. She loves to make pasta but she doesn’t have a love for cooking.
So it’s up to me and it’s seems Dad may be in luck. From a young age he’s encouraged me to taste a sauce he’s cooking or stir the soup bubbling on the stove. As I got older, he started teaching me to distinguish different flavours and ingredients just by tasting a pot of stew. And I’ll admit, he’s taught me well. The best part of all is seeing his face light up when I guess correctly.
I may be good at flavours and ingredients but I’ve never really tried my hand at cooking. He’s taught me so much about how to cook pasta and what to do to potatoes to make them awesome, but I’ve only barely dabbled at the practical side of things.
Rookie Cook in the making
I’ll be tying the knot and marrying my best friend in November. Due to this big event, Dad has decided that now is the time for me to get my butt into gear. He’s handed over the proverbial (and literal) soup ladle and I will be trying my hand at feeding the family once a week. No judgement, no helping (unless I ask) and minimal interfering. And to be honest, I’m so excited. I definitely think I have a rather large lashing of Dad’s love for cooking in my DNA. Score!
I’ll be sharing with you guys how it goes and what I try out. Maybe you can give me some tips on what to change or where to go for the best and cheapest ingredients in Cape Town or which easy starter-chef recipes I could try. Thankfully I work with the awesome Food24 ladies, so I should be okay.
Here’s to hoping I’ll make Dad proud!
Tonight I’ll be making Mushroom Mac and Cheese (with bacon). Sounds yummo right?
Rookie Chef Robi