Fathers Day

porkbelly.jpgSo what to cook for Father’s Day? Pork belly sliders have been all the rage for the last few years. Made über popular by food dude David Chang of Momofuko fame, this dish has popped up on menus throughout the US. And we know the French and the Germans also love their various preparations of this cherished cut of swine. However, truth be told, this deliciously rich delectable treat has been cooked in China for eons.

But certain restaurants exploit the average human being’s addiction to fatty pork – you know which ones I’m talking about – these joints know their patrons can’t get enough of that heavenly mix of tangy sweet fatty meat all sauced up in basically a fancy hamburger roll, so they price these little ditties as if they were serving Kobe beef (even though belly is rarely more than 3 bucks a pound, if that.)

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to-dad-on-fathers-day-with-dog-in-convertible-print-c10327714.jpg My late grandfather, Daddy Bill, was tall and skinny and uniquely dedicated to his habits and interests. He was a very snappy dresser – I vividly remember a purple wool sport coat that he once wore to Grandparents’ Day at my school, impressing my female teachers enormously – and he loved cars and taking painting classes and going swimming at the beach, even (or especially) when the water was way too cold, even for polar bears. But what he really loved was food.

Daddy Bill’s birthday was March 25th, and he liked to celebrate at breakfast. My brother and I were frequently on spring vacation during the latter half of March, and we usually spent the break in Florida with our grandparents. Therefore, we often had the privilege of celebrating Daddy Bill’s birthday with him, which is how I acquired some rather expensive tastes at a very tender age.

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Here is this year's list of Things We Love for Dad...

APPLE TV - $99

appletv

Stream MLB games, Netflix, Hulu Plus, YouTube, and all your iTunes purchases. Plus they can turn their Mac or iPad screen into a big screen TV wirelessly.

Man Made Meals: The Essential Cookbook for Guys

ManMadeMeals

Steve Raichlen's new cookbook. We just can't get enough.

4G USB Cufflinks - $100

cufflinks

Stylish, yet useful. A little Bond tech for the nerd in your life. You never know when a data-retrieval emergency will hit.

Waterproof Ipod Shuffle - $140

nannowaterproof

Great for swimmers, beach-goers, and dudes who sweat a lot. Add a pair of the best goggles to complete the gift.

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happyfathersday.jpg My father, James Athanus, came with his Mother to America in 1914 from Albania, escaping from the torture and repression with just what they could carry and a whole lot of hope for a better future. They landed at Ellis Island and made their way to a small mill town in the center of Maine. My Grandfather followed them in the next few months and they set up a new life just like many in this factory town.

My grandfather was a baker so he baked bread, my grandmother pulled teeth so she was on call for those that couldn’t afford a dentist and there were many, and my father, as a 6-year-old, started shining shoes to help support his family. Life was hard, a new culture had to be learned, a new language, new food, new fears, new everything!  My Grandfather died a couple of years after arriving in America and my Dad was alone again with just his Mother. He shined shoes more hours a day to keep their life afloat. 

He soon hired other young men to help him out at his other “locations” outside factories and businesses. Shoes were a big investment and no one would have dreamed of wearing dirty, unpolished shoe so this young emigrant had a captive market and he could work! 

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alex.jpg Everyone knows that the first thing a father teaches his son is how to roast a goose for Christmas.  Especially in a secular Jewish family.  But on Father’s Day, there’s nothing more American than Dad, stir-fried duck and Boggle. 

I don't have a middle name, and at the age of 24, it seemed time to get one.  We decided on "Danger," and went out and bought a propane fryer.  We gave thanks for deep-fried turkey, and for our remaining digits. 

But even though turkey bubbling in 350°F oil is exciting, nothing beats checking Sunday night's roast chicken for the 18th time.  Mom taught me that a watched pot never boils, but Dad taught me that a whole chicken, regardless of preparation, size or start time, cannot be finished before 9PM.

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