Post # 253 Father-In-Law-isms

May 16, 2014 at 12:21 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Post # 253 Father-In-Law-isms

For a long time, before I finally faced up to what I truly am, I was married to the sweetest woman in the world.  We were together for 16 years.  Married for 14 and exclusive for two years prior to that.  We’re still best friends, and Partner/Spouse loves her as much as I do.  She’s an amazing person.  Her family is the usual hodge podge of diverse individuals.  Her dad, my father-in-law, was as diverse as they come.

We actually shared quite a few interests.  We both like trivia.  We both like word origins.  We both liked history.  We both liked MacGyver. We both liked restaurants.  And we both liked to eat.  Sometimes, my cooking intimidates people, but never him.  He’d match recipe for recipe, dish for dish.  His food was seldom as complex as mine, but it was food he liked and he never apologized for it.

The first Christmas that my ex-wife and I spent together as a couple, I wanted to impress her family so they’d like me.  I thought long and hard about the presents I had for each person, but the one I was proudest of was what I did for her father.  I made home made, hand-dipped chocolate truffles.  I made a thick, bittersweet chocolate ganache and a milk chocolate glaze.  I made two dozen balls of ganache and chilled them.  Then using new dipping tools I’d just bought, I dipped the balls of chocolate into the tempered milk chocolate.  Then I rolled some in cocoa, some in powdered sugar, and some in crushed nuts.  I bought a decorative box and placed them into it and kept it chilled until Christmas Eve.  He was thrilled with them, especially after my ex-wife told him that I’d made them by hand.  A few days later, I asked him how he liked them.  He was eating one per day and mixing them up.  He decided the powdered sugar ones tasted the best.  I tried to explain they were all the same, but he insisted.  He could have been right.  Extra sugar never hurt chocolate, to my knowledge.

Another time, Ex-Wife and I joined her parents at a theme park nearby, about a six hour drive.  We started very early in the morning and met them at their hotel room.  We entered the park at the first opening and stayed till last call.  It was a nice park, and we all had a good time.  For dinner, we went to an area of the park that had an Italian theme and had something to eat.  I don’t remember what our entrees were, but we all had a prepared salad with it and we all went wild for those salads.  They were chilled perfectly; they were crisp; they had the perfect blend of lettuce to tomato to other vegetables; they had the tastiest dressing I’ve ever had in my life!  They were so good, he and I abandoned our entrees and got another salad each.  It was delicious.  He told me years later that they’d gone back to the same place and the salads were just as good.  I told him he should have brought me one.

My Ex and I had moved to Reno for very personal reasons for a short time and during our time there, her parents and sister came to visit for a week.  She was going to be able to take time off, but I wasn’t.  In the weeks leading up to the visit, we were planning the things we were going to do with them.  We wanted to show them so much of the city and the area.  When my Ex showed me her schedule, it listed all the restaurants we were going to go to and the nights that I’d be cooking so they could enjoy my home cooking again.  I mentioned that maybe we should let them know what we’d be doing during the days, the places we’d be showing them.  She replied, “They don’t care.  They want to know where they’re eating.  That’s all.”  It reminded me of a Dave Barry article where he said, “Four Fun Things To Do On Vacation:  1) Go Out To A Restaurant To Eat; 2) Go Out To A Different Restaurant To Eat; 3) Go To A Different City And Eat At A Restaurant; 4) Go To A Different City And See If They Have Restaurants To Eat At.

One year, he and I were planning the menu for a Labor Day Weekend cookout.  He was going to grill hot dogs and the rest of us were going to provide all the sides.  “No pasta!” he declared to me. “I hate pasta!”  I was startled.  “You don’t like spaghetti?  Or Lasagna?”  Well, he owned up that he like those.  After discussing it for a few minutes, it was really just macaroni that he didn’t like.  He didn’t like pasta salad, or mac and cheese, or tuna noodle bake, or beefaroni, or anything else that had elbow macaroni.  Something to do with his childhood.  So I nixed the whole pasta salad ideas.  Then we got to the hot dogs.  I asked him what he was going to get.  “Does it matter?” he asked.  Oh, yes.  It matters.  High quality dogs taste much better than low quality.  I recommended a high quality brand that he’d never heard of.  “It’s the best,” I said.  He was skeptical so I called out to my sister in law on the other side of the common area and totally out of ear shot.  “Hey!  What’s the best hot dog?”  She replied with the brand that I’d been talking about.  I lifted an eyebrow to my father in law and he grinned.  “Okay, I’ll get two packages.”  The day was a major success.  I brought a gallon of homemade Sangria.  I started it the day before with all the fruit and wines and juices and sugars steeping overnight.  I told everyone that I’d made Sangria and filled a pitcher with ice and drink.  I watched my father in law fill a tall glass and empty it pretty quickly.  Through the course of the afternoon, I saw him polish off four tall glasses of Sangria.  Finally, I turned to my Ex and asked, “Is he aware there’s a ton of alcohol in that?”  Someone had to drive him home.  But he did tell me that was the best fruit punch he’d ever had!

Probably the funniest food event with my father in law was when he decided to order his first pizza for home delivery.  He’d always picked up his pizza on the way home from work.  It was easy and convenient.  And he didn’t completely trust giving his credit card number over the phone.  But he finally decided it was time and he was going to join the twentieth century and order a pizza for home delivery.  It was an event and he invited the entire family to join him in this milestone.  We all showed up and there were eight adults gathered in the living room talking, laughing, and waiting for pizza.  We were hungry.  Finally, the father in law walks out of the den and says the pizza is on its way.  Spirits rose, with jokes and laughter rising.  Music in the background, and camaraderie in the foreground, it was the perfect recipe for success.  Then the pizza arrived.  One pizza.  A medium sized pepperoni pizza.  Cut into eight pieces.  For eight hungry adults.  Just the one.  We were all surprised and taken aback.  There is no way in Hell I was going to say anything.  The Ex and I both took the smallest pieces so there would be more for everyone else, but it was still just one piece of pizza for each person.  Finally the Ex’s brother asked, “Dad, what were you thinking?”  He was obviously embarrassed, but didn’t let it get him down.  As we were leaving, the Ex and I turned to her older sister and husband.  “McDonalds?” I asked.  “Right behind you,” he replied.  We stuffed ourselves with cheeseburgers and fries.


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