Father’s Day 2017
Croissants and Love
While my dad was not the daily cook in the family, occasionally he would take on a big project, like fried wontons during a snow storm, or more often, a huge pot of spaghetti sauce. The wontons covered both the dining room and kitchen tables, and induced a family sized ( I think there were only 3 of us kids then) food coma. I have a very distinct memory of falling in love with butter when in an Adirondack cabin on vacation, he produced a big pot of elbow macaroni with butter and salt. It was a revelation, as margarine was the spread used at home. Dad’s experience of living in Paris as a teen inspired a love of croissants, and his love inspired me to make them. When I was 11, I pulled out my mom’s Fannie Farmer cookbook, and made my first attempt. It was an all day effort. They turned out as one might expect – small, greasy, compact – but Dad praised them, and ate them. I then moved on to cheese cake, another of his favorites, that required much less time and labor, and much better results. The whole family ate that.
I’ve had much better success with croissants as an adult. They sell out every day here at Pagosa Baking Company. During a 2006 visit from my parents, I roped my mom and dad into helping out with a batch. It was an act of memory, acknowledgement, connection, gratitude. My dad didn’t support my early yearnings for a career in food, but he sure supported my love of creation and development of skills. I still have and use the rolling pin he gave me. His gift of the Reader’s Digest Creative Cooking cookbook – it’s contributors and editors are a list of who’s who food writers of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s – stimulated my curiosity about world cuisines and seasonality. I tribute my knife honing skills to Dad. We butted heads about what I would study in college. I wanted to go to Johnson and Whales, a cooking school in Providence RI. Becoming a dietitian was Dad’s idea. I got my degree in nutrition and food science, and after a decade working in clinical nutrition, I got my food career. My food science background has been an invaluable resource. Thanks, Dad.