My father is an amazing cook. Besides being able to create delicious concoctions and make all my old favorites perfectly every time, he has two very special additional talents in the kitchen:
1.) He can make delicious meals when there is no food in the house. Really. You'll think there is nothing in your refrigerator worth eating and he will disappear into the kitchen and come out with entire meals that start your mouth watering with just the sight of them. ("Because, if it doesn't look good, it doesn't taste good!"= his famous saying.)
2.) He has this uncanny ability to nourish you emotionally while feeding you physically. I have vibrant memories of the times, particularly when I was a teenager, when I would come home, world-weary and depressed, and mope around the house, not feeling like eating because "nothing sounds good." He would disappear into the kitchen and then place before me food—a french dip sandwich, maybe, or terriyaki stir fry—something that somehow absolutely hit the spot. After eating, I always felt the world looked a lot better and much more worth living in.
Wish I had inherited his talent. Far, far from it, I'm afraid. But now that we're on the subject of food, let's share a few favorites.
Olive Garden, with breadsticks.
Anita's Chinese chicken salad.
Jennilyn's Cafe Rio salad.
Allison's frito salad.
Bacon-spinach salad with poppy seed dressing and fresh parmesan.
Water is always my favorite. But here are a few others I love:
Mark Newman's homemade egg nog.
Marjorie's firecracker punch.
Steamed milk with a shot of hazlenut flavoring (I miss you, Berkeley).
Olive Garden's chocolate-almond ice cream drink (Chocolate Amore).
Olive Garden's breadsticks, but only when they're VERY fresh.
Dipping bread at Johnny Carrino's.
Honey-wheat from Great Harvest or Winder Dairy.
My mother's homemade french bread.
Rhode's white rolls.
I could never list them all, but I have to mention Sharlee's chocolate cake, which I discovered this year. Heaven!
5. Cafe Rio:
(Of course it deserves its own category!)
Pinto bean and rice burrito, smothered enchilada-style with their green sauce.
I think I'd better stop there. It's lunch time and I'm starving.
What are some of your favorites?