When I was a kid, I hated Wednesday nights. My mother had choir practice, which meant my sister and I had to depend on our father to make our dinner. The man could not even properly heat up a can of soup. Sometimes, if we begged and got lucky, he would take us out to McDonald's or something on the way to one of his meetings. Otherwise, we had to fulfill our Montessori upbringing and scrounge for ourselves.
As time went on, Dad somehow started to learn how to cook. I think it goes back to when he quit smoking. He had given up cigarettes and alcohol and his compulsive nature required a new sort of addiction. It became food. He read through cookbooks and printed of reams of recipes from the Internet. He watched all kinds of cooking shows. And then he started to experiment in his own kitchen.
My adult years of eating my father's cooking ended up being a great pleasure. He ended up being a better cook than my mother. He was always willing to experiment with new flavors and techniques. I remember a particularly awful phase, though, where he used so much garlic that the odor just oozed from his pores.
Family dinners suddenly turned into grand affairs. Sunday evenings ended up being mini dinner parties of us and some church friends. My boyfriend at the time and I loved going over to my parents' house to help cook a meal. We would all work on a different aspect of the meal. Then we would sit around the table for a couple of hours, eating and laughing. And then we would retire to the living room to watch stupid TV, laugh some more, and try some decadent desserts. Those were some very happy times for us.
I still find myself trying out new recipes and thinking, "Boy, Dad would sure like this one!" Or, I keep finding free cookbooks for diabetics on Amazon for my Kindle apps and think that I need to get them for him. I pause. I think of him laughing at the dinner table. And then I move on, planning something new for me to try with my friends and family in his honor.