There are a number of things about my dad I remember, and certainly hundreds I have probably forgotten.
My dad fancied himself a great cook. No he never owned a restaurant, but he had this ability to taste something and pick out the ingredients in it. He and our neighbor Chuck Hogan chose a weekend to create the best spaghetti sauce ever. They spent the entire weekend in our kitchen browning, simmering, stirring and tasting. Every pot or pan was dirtied, at least once. It seems for all of their cooking abilities, neither of them had a clue about clean up! I will admit, though they made a great spaghetti sauce, one that my mother had to reproduce with each spaghetti meal, a recipe that was handed down year after year. In more recent years the recipe has given way to store bought sauce, with your own personal additions, this nnow passes for the “new” family recipe.
My dad was a product of the late depression years being raised in southern Illinois. I think his food choices were rather limited then. After World War 2 and his marriage, he wanted his taste buds to experience new flavors once a little more money came our way. The day came when fried baloney and fried potatoes gave way to more palatable items. My dad had discovered the State Line Tavern, which in the 50’s included family dining. I never knew what was on the menu, but I had heard talk of chicken. Nothing better comes to mind than fried chicken for supper. Dad ordered for us, family style. Supper came in a big pan, with chicken legs, and wings sitting in this thick yellow soup! Hey, what is this? Yuck! Dad gushed over how great this was. We may have made a similar dish at home a time or two, but luckily fried chicken won out.
Yep, dad like trying to reproduce something he had tasted sometime or somewhere. A few years after the curried chicken affair, he started traveling and was introduced to cheese cake. We went for months either buying various cheese cakes or having mom try a different recipe. Dad would always take a bite and begin analyzing the ingredients. We settled on a baked cheese cake having the best taste. I will say that between the two, cheese scores a whole lot higher in my book than does curried chicken. I don’t even want to be in the same room with a curried chicken!
Dad had a great set of taste buds. He loved to analyze the foods he ate. It was too bad that in his later years, whether do to age or allergies, the taste buds became less affective. I remember him saying how he could smell bacon cooking but couldn’t taste it.
Hey, that reminds me, I’m a bacon lover, or used to be. I’m also at a point in my life where I can smell the bacon frying, but can no longer taste it. Man, is that sad…..I could probably tolerate curried chicken now….. 😦