An excerpt dedicated to my father. He is the first person in my life that taught me how to enjoy food and wine. In hindsight, I owe my beginning of my love affair with good cuisine and drink from him!
My father was a hard working blue collar man, an auto-body mechanic for as long as I remember him working. He came home to us everyday at the same time of the evening, emptied his pockets of small change or some shiny trinkets that he would “find” in the cars he worked on and whomever crossed his path first he would gift these items to. Soon after this exchange, he would head downstairs in our basement of the cozy row home in South Philadelphia, to shower in the makeshift box-like bathroom he built himself. He changed into a clean white pressed shirt fruit of the loom collar t-shirt with blue or gray cotton pants and soft velour slippers. You knew he was finished and dressed when the smell of talcum powder would find its way up the stairs.
My mother would always ask one of us children to call him up for dinner. I could never understand why she would not holler down for him to come up as we would. We then sat as a family and ate together, no matter whether my parents were on speaking terms or not and most of the time they were not.
As he sat at the head of the table and my mother at the other end and it was he who took the longest to finish his dinner. He cut his food slowly and precisely. I watched from the other side of the table as he savored every morsel that he brought up to his lips. Cautious not to let him see me staring, I took great pleasure in watching him carefully cut into his steak or twirl his spaghetti precisely around the spoon.
My father is a simple man, but when he would sit down to eat, he did not eat like a peasant, he ate like a king, no matter what was in his plate, it was his slow savoring concept of eating that made everything look so appetizing.