Whether they buy a fridge, or someone turns 50, my dad believes a party is on order for just about any occasion. I was really lucky to grow up with a man that really knew how to celebrate. Not just special events, but just life, in general. Just life, Sundays, a new car, sunny days when you can grill out, or just a new recipe that he found and wanted to share with people.Because partying always means food. Plenty and plenty of homemade food.
This continuous partying (and cooking) drives mom crazy, as she has to do all the cleaning. You see, in dad’s house, you make everything from scratch, and he does, but he (‘the man of the house’) doesn’t do dishes. So, mom is in a 3-4 day marathon of washing and cleaning while he uses every pot and utensil in the house making his masterpieces. The man has his rules!
To her, food is work. To him, food is love, joy, happiness, relaxing, beauty, pure pleasure. It's Bacchanalia!
I love food, and I love cooking, and I love sharing food with my friends, over a good cup of gossip. But I don’t have the talent, the patience and the attention my dad has when it comes to putting a party together.
And for those of you who think I cook too much and that my food looks or is delicious … well, take a peek at my dad’s latest makings from this weekend and reevaluate, please. He threw a party for his sister’s birthday and these are just a few of the appetizers he served. Warm appetizers will follow, and then the main courses (yes, as in multiple courses), several desserts and a birthday cake, too.
As I have said: I grew up with this. But it boggles my mind how creative my dad is, and how he makes new dishes with every new occasion, and how his repertoire never runs dry. It also amazes me, still, how much work goes into every detail and fold of the lettuce. We whine about how difficult Thanksgiving dinner is to cook! My dad cooks this every month, at the very least. If not every other week.
My own parties, in turn, apart from being rare, are also boring gatherings of culinary dullness compared to this. A far cry from all this plentifulness and beauty. If only pictures could satisfy hunger or at least, smell.
I will never be able to make as much food as he does, as pretty as he makes it look, as delicious, and as detailed in presentation and flavor alike. I am fortunate to have had the example and to always want to strive, but it will never happen … In other words - I will never be my dad.
The "meat" tray, as my husband calls it: a wide variety of smoked meats and sausages that he makes himself. He cooks them, then smokes them in his own in-ground smoker, that he built from scratch.
From left to right: mushrooms and onion in aioli; slices of veggie and meat roulade; corn salad
From left to right: a tray of crudites and fruit; a brined fish tray, with lettuce, and fresh green onions (on the glass)
Seafood salad three ways: shrimp, calamari and mussels, with salmon and lettuce "decor"
The crudite plate, again, and 2 fish sashimi and raisins on orange slices
Seafood in aspic (on either sides) and meatloaf slices (middle)
100% homemade, Romanian sushi - of various fishes, topped with roe. Morimoto would be proud to be challenged to this!