Inspired by Dad

Well-worn, tried-and-true recipes from my parents

A year ago today my dad passed away, which is sill unbelievable to me. My dad was an excellent cook and an awesome baker and he made homemade bread every week of my life that I can remember. He worked in a bakery when he was young, and never tired of telling everyone about the “junk” used to make sliced, processed white bread. I’ve always been inspired by dad.

When he cooked, he chose to use ingredients from the garden, if possible, prepared in a simple manner. His baking was a bit more elaborate and he is known far and wide in our circle of family and friends, first and foremost, for his bread, his delectable doughnuts, sticky buns and of course, traditional Italian zeppole (which we called ‘crespelle’ in our family, but crespelle is something a little different – not sure how this came to be. Dialects I suppose?).

My dad and mom and a typical “welcome home” treat

My love of food, cooking, and especially baking was surely inspired by my dad. He loved to gather with people over food to talk politics, economics, geography, which bugs and animals were chewing away at his garden, and to laugh, argue and tell bad jokes. Really bad jokes — though to him they were hysterical and that’s what really made everyone laugh!

I was visiting my mom recently and when I left to come back home I brought a few old recipes with me. I love how they look — yellowed, worn from repeated reference and splattered with ingredients. To see my dad’s handwriting on some of the recipes made it seem like he wasn’t gone. And I suppose with his recipes in hand, I’ll always have something to remember him by. That and all my good memories.