...Everyone has one, and they all stink. That's a bit of wisdom from the Gastronomical Dad, via the Marine Corps. It's funny, a bit crass, and quite true. It's my dad's birthday, and he himself is quite the food fiend. He introduced me to the wonders that are Coney Island hotdogs, which are not from Coney Island, as one might think, but from Detroit. Go to Athen's Coney in Southfield for a decadent treat: a wiener with all beef chili, spicy mustard and onion served in a hot dog bun. Eat with a fork. It's as awesome as it sounds and recently an editor at Saveur, my favorite magazine, caught onto this too.
My dad is the person who made me wait for blueberry pies after swim practice(so I could enjoy them properly). He has his own personal stash of artisan bread, has been known to bring home a box of cup cakes only to eat off all the tops before anyone else gets to them, and has an epic knowledge of place to get the best anti-pasta and other gourmet goodies. When he made us lunch, PB & J's were anathema--we all got salami sandwiches, sliced extra thick. If we were lucky, we also got a Ho-Ho tossed in alongside our apple.
My mom has waged a 25+ year war against him to eat more fruits and veggies--battle of the Asian diet versus American midwest, and while she's succeeded in part (he now craves edamame), his preferences still run towards kielbasa's and pastrami sandwiches given the opportunity. He's snuck away from business dinners while in NYC for work to go to the Astro diner so he could get a real sandwich and a proper Greek salad. He once gave our dogs rye bread for treats because he thought they might like the taste (he was right....they are now completely obsessed with it and go nuts the minute they here the distinct crinkle of the bag opening).
And despite his affinity for food of the Germanic-Polish-WASP persuasion going back to his childhood, we were eating sushi long before it became trendy in the 90's, he snarfs down Chinese food and was the one who discovered Pho soup, something that has been a staple of our family diet since I was in middle school. Afraid to try new things he is not, and there is another thing I share with my dad when it comes to food: a distrust and dislike of anything even resembling mayonnaise.
While his usual mantra has been cribbed from Garrison Keillor (Be well, do good work, and stay in touch) and other pithy Marine sayings aside, when I first moved to New York, he told me that there was simply no excuse not to eat well in the city. And he is right. There really isn't.