Father's Day

bagels.jpg We never really celebrated Father’s Day, perhaps, because, as the saying goes, every day was something akin to Father’s Day.  My Dad was both a simple and extraordinary man who enjoyed a good meal, a great ball game, and being with his family.  He was happiest when we were all home in our small upper west side apartment, doing whatever together. There wasn’t a Sunday morning that passed when I didn’t wake up to the warm fresh smells of H&H bagels and fresh Zabar’s stacked up on the kitchen table. Although it was barely 9 am, my dad had already been to the City Athletic Club for a workout, a steam, and then back uptown to purchase the raw materials for breakfast.

My dad passed away 16 years ago, before either of my brothers or I was married, before grandchildren, before professional success, and way too soon all around.

When I think about food and my dad, three distinct memories come immediately to mind: peanut butter and jelly on challah bread, Carvel, and Lichtman’s Bakery.

shermanfamily.jpg One: I was 7 and my brother Alec was 6 when my mother went in to Beth Israel Hospital in New York City to give birth to my brother Sam.  Left to his own devices, my dad prepared a lunch of peanut butter and great gobs of jelly on challah bread for us to take to day camp.  Although delicious, we were mortified by the unconventional, sloppy sandwiches.  Nonetheless, to this day, one of my favorite treats remains “a pbj on cb.”

Two: When I was a teenager, my dad and I decided to drive to Carvel from our home in Bridgehampton without the car lights on. The danger (or at least the perception of such for me) brought on hysterical laughter, and we had the best ice cream cone I have ever enjoyed.

 Three: Each Sunday in the fall and winter back in the city, my dad and I would walk and talk together to Lichtman’s Bakery, located on the southwest corner of 86th and Amsterdam, to buy the most delicious babka breads and butter cookies. I would eat – make that savor – my free cookie on the way home. Handing out a cookie to a child is a dying gift, I’m afraid, the province of neighborhood shops, increasingly crushed under the wheels of giant, corporate bakeries, make that Starbucks and Banks!