More than anything I want my daughters to appreciate food. I want them to look at every aspect of what they are putting into their mouths. I want the process to be as important to them as the end result. I am lucky enough that my daughters are not stuck in the over processed world. My wife and I make sure that we take the time to look at what we are feeding them and take care to go the extra step for something we view as healthier and safer. I don’t know the science behind GMO’s. I should, but I don’t know what the hell they do or don’t do to us. I just know that I don’t want it for them or myself. Sure there are the occasional busy days when we have cut corners and even given them fast food. But I feel like shit afterward. No, I’m not getting preachy and I don’t mean that I feel like shit on a moral level, although now I am starting to think about it. I physically feel like shit. I can only imagine what that crap does in and to there bodies.
I had lived out west for about 8 years, and had one stretch of 2 years without fast food. I wish it were longer. I wish I didn’t arrive late to the airport. I wish I didn’t think that 20 questionable chicken bits would be a great and quick idea. I wish I didn’t wash it all down with caramel colored sugar water. That had to be the worst flight with a layover I have ever had and that’s including the flight from Idaho to Detroit by way of Seattle with a 5-hour layover. At least on that flight my stomach wasn’t doing a violent pagan dance. At least on that layover I felt well enough to have a cocktail.
I want to bring my daughters up in a world where they care about how their food is raised and have the opportunity to raise as much of it as they can. I’m not a complete hippy. I eat meat. If I had the chance I would eat it like it was going out of style. I have just started learning more about food. If I could I would hunt, forage, and farm for all of my own food. I would also need to either win the lotto or find a rich older lady or gentleman and be their cabana boy so I could do this.
I am a hunter. I won’t apologize for that. I would much rather know that I personally took an animal’s life humanely than bought another factory-tortured product. I can proudly say that when I am successful my meat is free-range and relatively organic. I am currently waiting for the delivery of my deer in a freezer when my dad visits next. I hope that my daughters grow up as hunters or fisherwomen or can at least respect their merits. Even if they focus more on the flavor, I believe that humanely living and killed tastes better. I might be crazy…… Check that, I know I am crazy but I also know what I know.
I hope that my daughters grow up with an appreciation and knowledge of the industry. I hope that they can look at restaurants, farms, and processing plants and know what goes into the work. I hope they can also find it to appreciate quality over convenience. I don’t care if they want to eat a hot dog or a bologna sandwich, just eat a good one. And, believe me there are some pretty damn good ones out there.
When my girls are both over 21, I want to be able to sit around the table together and enjoy a shot and a beer. I would love for them to appreciate the skill and care that goes into a good craft beer and to know a little bit about the history of the fine sipping whiskey. I know these may be odd desires for a father, but I also know that these are the moments that you remember. I will always remember my first beer in a bar with my grandfather at 19 in that little backwater oyster bar in Florida. I will always remember the shot of Crown at about 10:30am after my first buck was hanging from the buck-pole. I will always remember sipping bourbon with my wife on our first unofficial date. I’m just glad that she remembers the rest of the night and didn’t sip as much as me and could drive.
I hope that my daughters get as excited about food as my wife and I. Although we don’t currently work together like the old days, not a day goes by where we don’t get another idea for when we open “our place.” Right now we do see it in Olive when she gets all excited when we are eating mac-a-mac-a. Just to clarify, mac-a-mac-a is anything that is pasta, dumpling, or sometimes-even rice related. Every once in awhile it is mac and cheese. I see intense interest in Zophie every time we give here anything that she can eat. I want to see how that excitement develops and matures over time.
I want to teach my girls to cook. I don’t want to do it so that they can impress a man. I just want them to know what it takes to cook food. I want to teach them that the only “helpers” anyone needs in the kitchen are friends and a family and not in a box. I want to share an interest if not a love of food with them. I already get the pleasure of seeing my daughter’s eyes light up when it’s time to mix-a-mix-a.
My wife had the pleasure of planting most of our garden with Olive this year. She watched her gently push each individual seed into the ground exactly where mom directed. I wasn’t there for that. I had “more important” things to do. Well, that stops now.
Sure I want to still make my mark in the culinary world. I want to be a player in the game here in Fort Wayne. But, not at my family’s expense. That’s not going to happen anymore. I want to enjoy the ride with them, not instead of them.
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