by David Kitai
On every Father’s Day for years I tried to get my dad to eat a conventional “manly” meal. He keeps strict kosher, so a bacon-laden breakfast was out of the question. He doesn’t drink, so I certainly couldn’t pour us some scotch. And his disdain for red meat meant that steak was completely out of the question.
So what’s an uninspired child to do? Shouldn’t all dads want a T-bone and a bottle of Napa Cab? Shouldn’t we sit down with our dads and force conversation about a sport neither of us actually understands? Shouldn’t Father’s Day be a strained, stilted experience as father and child squeeze into familial conventions they never inhabit the other 364 days in a year?
No! Please, just—no. Absolutely not.
Let me share three principles to follow for an unconventional Father’s Day dinner. And maybe by foregoing conventions you’ll end up repairing that oh-so-broken relationship.
Consider dad’s tastes
It’s not as simple a suggestion as it sounds. You’ve been away at college or university, focusing on yourself for much of your adult life. And before that you were a teenager, focusing even more on yourself. So if you’re making the effort to prepare a meal on Father’s Day, ask the guy about his favourite food and restaurant. You may uncover a dish he loves, but hasn’t eaten in years. Who knew you share a love of curried eggplant and respectively frequented the same cheap Sri Lankan spot as students?
Cook dinner WITH—not for—dad
Surprisingly, many a dad can cook. In fact he might know a few things he can teach you—as might you for him. However, if he hates cooking, show him something easy you like to make. If he’s already an avid cook, combine your skill sets for a legendary dinner. You’ve probably had a tough time describing your major in intersectional equity studies to him, so why not show dad that you’ve learned something practical during university.
Don’t make steak—unless dad requests it
Steak on Father’s Day is boring and clichéd. If he’s a big time meat-eater, why not mix it up with carne asada or smoked pork shoulder? If like many fathers of university-aged children he’s watching his red meat intake then skillet-bake chicken thighs or grill a whole fish. Better yet, make the whole meal vegetarian. Damn the heteronormative Father’s Day meal. Be progressive—and don’t forget about mom.