i am my father’s daughter in every sense. the most wonderful of my qualities are that of my father but so are the ugliest most shameful qualities. i am my father’s daughter.
he’s hard to please, my dad. his expectations range from extraordinarily high to damn right unreasonable. he expects nothing more than better than the best. he can be unfathomably unforgiving and judgmental. my dad is the reason i cook.
when i was a little girl, my dad left for work way before the sun came up and (if he wasn’t away on a business trip) returned right before my bedtime… or after. i always saw my dad when he wasn’t out of town; we had a ritual. he would wake me up when he woke up. while he showered, i would make him breakfast, and then i would sit on the sink, watch him shave, and then watch him do his tie - yes, i do a fantastic half windsor knot. after all that was done, he would sit down and eat the breakfast that i made for him.
when i was a little girl, i was a very… creative cook. most of my breakfast creations involved yoghurt. sometimes, when my dad lucked out, i managed to keep the same flavour profile all the way through: yoghurt with honey and wheatgerm, maybe some fruit. on the not so lucky days, my dad would find himself eating all sorts of weird shit: yoghurt with tomatoes, carrots, and honey, anything that i thought looked pretty. my dad ate all of it. always. no matter what weird ass concoction i placed in front of him, he would always declare it the best breakfast ever and eat it.
once i boiled him an egg. i followed the instructions in the cookbook and boiled it for 7 minutes. unfortunately, i was too young to really know what boiling water looked like, so i basically put an egg in water that was trying to boil and then took it out. when i picked it up, i could tell that something was wrong, so i microwaved it for 30 seconds. i placed the egg in a cute little egg holder and placed it in front of my dad. the egg exploded. there were pieces of egg EVERYWHERE. i will never forget my dad, covered in specks of cooked egg, a piece of hot yolk stuck to the lens of his glasses, fogging up, picking up what was left of the egg, eating it, and declaring it the best egg. ever. my father: the most judgmental, tough as shit, unforgiving in debilitating ways man that i know, he is why i know that if i fail, i’ll be just fine. he is why i cook.
it was his birthday this past week, and we celebrated with a dinner last night. i’ve come a long way since the days of exploding eggs and pretty yoghurt dishes. my dad gave me the gift of cooking, and it was my pleasure to be able to cook for him this weekend.
he wanted a lox platter for his appetiser. a little strange, but the man can have whatever he wants. he wanted steak and a salad, so he got that as well. he let me decide the dessert. i chose japanese strawberry shortcake, his favourite. the thing about japanese strawberry shortcake is that it is delicious AND beautiful. my cake? it tasted good… looked nothing like it was supposed to. but, you know what? you know who ate it, declaring it the best japanese strawberry shortcake that he’s ever seen or had? my dad.