Tag Archives: Dad

Happy Birthday, Pappa!

June 18th was Father’s Day in 1933.

It was also the day my father was born, which made a certain amount of sense when I was little  –  why wouldn’t fathers be born on Father’s Day?  (My mother was christened that same day in Italy, which is the start of the connections between the two of them…..)

And he  LOVED Chinese food.

chinese-take-outLike blue eyes and curly hair (what was left of it) this was such a fundamental part of who he was and what he did,  that I never asked, nor do I remember anyone else ever once asking,

“Chinese food? What is about Chinese food, Bill? Why Chinese food? How does an Irish boy learn about Chinese food”

Good questions…wish I’d thought of them sooner. Not only was  Chinese food the treat of treats, it brought him into the kitchen after he retired.

He had a wok.

Serious Wok action. This was the attitude, if not the reality.

Serious Wok action. This was the attitude, if not the reality of the ancestral home cooktop.

For a very long time, perhaps as far back as the ’70’s, a paperback copy of  “The Pleasures of Chinese Cooking” by Madame Grace Zia Chu has been kicking around .Chinese Cooking larger

Several recipes have markers….but the basic of the basics is Fried Rice.

HAM FRIED RICE

2 Tablespoon soy sauce

½ teaspoon sugar

2 eggs

4 tablespoons peanut or corn oil, divided

¼ cup scallions cut into ¼ inch pieces

4 cups cold boiled rice

½ cup diced cooked ham

  1. Mix the soy sauce with the sugar. Set aside.
  2. Beat the eggs and scramble them slightly in 1 Tablespoon of the oil. Set aside.
  3. In a heavy frying pan or a wok heat 3 tablespoons of oil over high heat.
  4. Add scallions and stir a few times
  5. Add rice and stir quickly so that rice won’t stick to the pan and will be well coated with the oil
  6. Add the soy sauce/sugar mix, stir well.
  7. Add the ham and the slightly scrambled egg, mixing and breaking the eggs into little pieces in the rice.
  8. Serve hot.

NOTES: The rice needs to be THOROUGHLY cold or all you’ll get is a sticky mess. Madame Chu’s note and my experience. Brown rice may be used for a more hippie version, just be sure that the rice is cooked thoroughly.

Cooked chicken or beef may be substituted for the ham.

The original recipe does not call for a wok, but I think they’re a little more common now, so if you got one, go ahead and use it.

The original calls for ¼ teaspoon MSG, which I stopped using years, make that decades, ago. If that departure from the recipe makes it Irish/Chinese fusion, so be it. Call the Food Police. Guilty as charged.

Serves 4.

Grace Zia Chu. The Pleasures of Chinese Cooking. Pocket Books, March 1969. p.51.

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Filed under Birthday, Books, Irish, Perception ways, The 1970's

#FathersDay

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Guess what’s trending on Twitter today?

#FathersDay

That’s the Twitter world way of saying Father’s Day.

Who saw THAT coming?

One of the other trends is #dadswhocook.

I can not write that story. Mine was not a cooking Dad.

Mine was Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup straight from the can to the pan Dad.

Campbells ChicNoodle

That little golden seal mentions a Paris Exhibition – Campbell’s was gourmet? Soup IS good food – for thought.

The CONDENSED soup straight from the can to the pan without the water. Which he served to us without malice or understanding why we thought we were being poisoned.

And yet he knew from food.

He missed a calling as a critic.

Not critical, like,

“You call THESE mashed potatoes? Not lumps of library paste?”

But critical like Pete Wells of the New York Times critic of food

pete-wells-qsHe could analyze taste and texture and technique and make suggestions about how to change things around for next time, how to think with the end in mind, how to have opinions.

A trait that we his children all share. (Best Meal EVAH : October 19, 1986)

A trait that has been my bread and butter in more ways then one, and like blue eyes and curly hair, another way that this apple hasn’t fallen far from that tree.

Happy#FathersDay

apple tree with apples underneath

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Filed under Holiday, Influencers, Irish, Soup