Happy Birthday Dad
"He needs a very big cake!" said Joshua when he asked how old grandpa was. Last week was my dads birthday. I made him an apple crumble cake and Joshua insisted on 'helping' to blow out the candles.
As far as dads go, mine is brilliant. He's Portuguese, and pretty laid back about most things. The only times I have seen him get really stressed is when rice is over cooked and when my sister and I were late filling out our student loan application forms. He sure has his priorities right.
When we were little, on the rare occasions my dad was solely in charge of us, something nearly always went wrong. Often, my sister would be injured. She once fell out of a shopping trolley and her tooth went thorough her lip, that kind of thing. Or we might flood a bathroom. I've since discovered that lots of dads are like this, including Mr Kay.
We always had additive-free healthy food growing up. My mum did the food shop but would ask my dad to pop to the supermarket if she forgot something. My sister and I would always be very keen to accompany him. This was because we could convince him to buy 'naughty' food. For example, if my mum had ice-cream on the list, she meant plain vanilla. However, we could easily wangle a tub neapolitan out of my dad, which was quite the thing in the 80's.
I love my dad to bits but there is one thing that really annoys me about him. His attitude towards embracing technology. It's not that he isn't capable, he just can't be bothered. He rarely has his mobile switched on, he doesn't do email and he probably thinks Facebook is a novel. I doubt he will read this unless it appears in a newspaper or on BBC news. He is very much into the news.
What he lacks as a techie he makes up for as a chef. My dad has really influenced the way I cook with his simple, fresh, make-it-up-a-bit Portuguese style. He makes the most incredible chicken and rice, pure comfort in a bowl and the best medicine for colds. He also makes cracking stews, with pork, chicken, vegetables, chorizo, potatoes... yum. I still don't know how he does it. I asked him for a recipe and he just laughed. I have tried making them how he does but they don't turn out the same. This pork, chorizo and bean stew is the nearest I have got. He's a real BBQ man as well, coals not gas, and in the summer he'll be turning chicken and sardines in the back garden wearing a very large straw hat.
My dad grows all sorts of things on his allotment which he has had for years. I love it when he gives me a bag of home grown produce to play with. His lettuces are the best, and when I have far to many I make lettuce soup. His allotment is quite, erm, lets say rustic, compared to his neat and tidy carrots-in-a-row neighbours.
Happy birthday dad! You're a hero.