The Right Recipe for Fatherhood

My Dad was a terrific man.  Not stereotypical for girls of my generation. He worked hard all right and long hours, but he wasn’t one of those there-but-absent fathers that most of my friends talked about. He bathed us kids, changed diapers, fed us and went to PTA meetings where he was the only man in the room, including the teachers. He hugged and said “I love you.” I know this sounds like “so-what” today, when fathers are expected to be …. well …. fathers. But it was a rare thing then.

He was also a really bad cook with absolutely no instinct for ingredients, timing or method. Best example: oversized meatballs made with meat only, no seasonings, topped with tomato paste and broiled to a crisp. That may have been the worst dinner ever.

I mean no disrespect. It’s just that cooking was not his forte.

When Father’s Day comes around I find I miss my Dad terribly. Miss the hugs. Miss the “I love you”s. Miss his presence. He didn’t have to be a good cook. He had the right recipe for fatherhood.

He did love a thick steak. Finnan Haddie. Shredded wheat. Wheatena.

One of his favorite foods was Roasted chicken wings. He really loved the wings but he knew his kids (me especially) loved the wings too so he always gave them to us. He once said he liked the breast and wings but learned to eat thighs and drumsticks after he had kids.

None of us ever said “here Dad, you can have the wing this time.”

Kids don’t do that.

But if he were around today I would make a roast chicken and gladly give him both wings.

Roast Chicken with Fresh Herbs 

1 roasting chicken, 4-7 pounds

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

2 teaspoon chopped fresh chives

2 teaspoons fresh rosemary leaves, coarsely chopped

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

2 tablespoons white wine or chicken stock

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Remove any pinfeathers and excess fat from the chicken. Remove the package of giblets inside the cavity (roast with the chicken or use for stock (except the liver)). Rinse and dry the chicken. Combine the olive oil, parsley, chives, rosemary, thyme, wine and Dijon mustard in a bowl. Mix ingredients thoroughly. Place the chicken breast side down on a rack inside a roasting pan. Brush half the mixture over the chicken back. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Place the chicken in the oven and reduce the oven heat to 350 degrees. Roast for 50-60 minutes, basting once after the first 30 minutes. Turn chicken over so it is breast side up. Brush with the remaining herb mixture and sprinkle to taste with salt and pepper. Roast for another 45-60 minutes, basting 2 or 3 times, or until the juices run clear and a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast reads 160 degrees (or, inserted into the thigh, reads 165 degrees). Remove the chicken to a carving board and let rest for 15 minutes before carving. Makes 6 servings