It’s Father’s Day this weekend and no dessert makes me think more of my dad than Key Lime Pie.
The association isn’t based on any particular memory; it’s based on a series of memories of dinners at steakhouses or seafood restaurants where my mom would be taking too long tearing apart her lobster, my dad would look impatiently at his watch, until finally he could order his decaf coffee and a slice of Key Lime Pie.
The road to dinner may be paved with good intentions (something healthy), bad intentions (something naughty), but most frequently it’s paved with whatever you have lying around. And in my case, a few days ago, that happened to be kimchi and rice. The rice I keep with the pasta and polenta as an always-on-hand base for dinner–at the very least I can always make rice and beans, pasta with nutmeg and butter, and polenta with cheese if all else fails. Sometimes, though, I have an ingredient that pairs perfectly with a base–like broccoli rabe last week, which paired perfectly with penne–and, this week, kimchi which goes very well with rice.
My dad and I often have a debate about food. It usually begins when my dad says, “This restaurant sucks.” You see, my dad likes food that is familiar and when it comes to food that’s familiar he loves Italian food. But a very specific kind of Italian food: he loves American Italian food.
Certainly any celebration of “The Amateur Gourmet” has to include an acknowledgment of my parents. Many of you, in your kind congratulatory e-mails to me, said the posts with my parents were your favorite posts of them all; and, in many ways, my love of dining out and my eagerness to try new places comes directly from them. In fact, a day doesn’t pass when my mom doesn’t e-mail something about a new restaurant with the question, “Have you heard of this?”
More importantly, the fact that you’re reading this at all right now is partially due to my mom. When I got into NYU’s Dramatic Writing program, after finishing law school and just a few months into starting this blog, I told my mom I was going to stop blogging. “I want to concentrate fully on playwriting,” I told her. “I wouldn’t stop blogging,” my mom advised. “You never know, it might get even bigger than it is now.” And, most definitely, that was some pretty good advice.
I’m going to call my parents right now to conduct a little Q&A with them about their history with “The Amateur Gourmet,” where it’s been and where it’s going.
A few weeks ago I dined with my family at The Gramercy Tavern. Amanda Dell, the Maître d’, recognized me from my blog and when we sat down the server told us that the chef would like to cook a special meal for us. At the end of it, my dad, unprovoked, said that it was the best meal of his life. Here’s a comic book reenactment. [Note: This was actually more than a month ago, so I can’t remember many of the dishes–especially since we didn’t have menus! My apologies.]