Dad’s “Magic”- A Guest Post by Linda (My Mom)

Hi Everyone! I’m still busy NaNo-ing. So far I’m doing well and I’m on track to finish. “Embracing the suck,” as they say.  In the meantime, WOAW keeps chugging along with a guest post by my mother, Linda.  You may recall that I wrote this post about my grandfather, my Gido.  That’s my mom’s dad.  My mom shares some memories below about her dad, my Gido.  Enjoy!

Some of my earliest and fondest memories of my Dad relate to food. I remember him standing at the stove stirring and flipping and I remember how much I wanted to do that too! (Remember, I was very young). It was like magic. One thing would go into the pot and something totally different and absolutely amazing would emerge. I especially loved Dad’s magic. Grandma was a great cook, but Dad was MAGIC!

He would go to the stove and turn on the burner and ask if I was hungry. I would tell him no, but he would go into the fridge and route around and bring out all sorts of leftovers. I watched, fascinated as he melted butter in the pan. Then a slice of three-day-old bologna. Sizzle, sizzle, flip then salt, always salt (I know, I know), followed by leftover mashed potatoes. Finished it off with two pancakes from Sunday’s breakfast et voila! A Daddy Sandwich.

I’d look on, horrified! YIKES! Who’d eat that? He’d set a plate down and gingerly placed the “sandwich” upon it. Then he made elaborate work of cutting it into quarters. Satisfied with his presentation, he’d cut a wedge and put it to his lips.

At this juncture, I’d pipe up, “Hey Dad, maybe I could have a taste?”

“You sure?” he’d ask.

“Yes,” I’d reply.

So I’d take a taste (Lord help me).  Then another. That’s when I would sit down, eat the whole thing, and send Dad packing back to the stove to make another for himself.

Dramatic pause as I eat and he cooks…

Enter my Little Sister and the scene begins again. She, however, is not impressed with the offering, and being six years my junior (plus being spoiled rotten) demanded another snack all together. So Dad, in his infinite patience (how hard could it be for a guy with three jobs to raise two little girls as a single parent?) asked her what she wanted. She, being spoiled and all, wanted everything we didn’t have.

So Dad worked his “magic.”

He pulled out a large loaf of Pita bread and sliced it open all the way around until it laid flat like two circles. He took butter and slathered it over both sides. When my sister asked where the ham was, Dad said this was a “Magic Daddy Sandwich” and the ham was invisible. Being young (and, may I add, not too bright) she bought that and was silenced.

The magic continued.

He reached for the sugar bowl, and here’s where he set the hook — he sprinkled sugar all over the buttered pita!

What? Sugar? On purpose?

But then came the best idea ever. Cinnamon. All over the top. WOW! He then put the two sides together, cut it into quarters, and there it was. Another Magic Daddy Sandwich.

Suddenly I remembered my lovely mashed potato, bologna and pancake delight and wondered why I had not held out for the good stuff. He always liked her best (not really…well, maybe).

But then I reallized something. She had the sugar, I had the mashed potato and bologna, but Dad had NADA. He watched us eat, ate whatever scraps we left on our plates, cleaned up the kitchen and went to watch television. That was Dad. He got us to eat, showed us you could make something from anything, and went about his evening.

I enjoyed many a meal at Dad’s magic hand.

As time went on I got married, had kids and cooked my own meals. I made Lazy Housewife’s French Toast (just regular toast with butter, cinnamon and sugar). Sound familiar? I made grilled PB&J. I made elaborate lasagnas. I made ordinary, run-of-the-mill pork chops.

But when Dad came to dinner at my house, things were different. No cooked onions, only raw. Have you ever tried making ANYTHING without onion? He would find any trace and pick them out and put them at the edge of his plate for me to see.. OH, the guilt! No beef. Dad was not a fan. Thought it had too much fat. Only real butter. No margarine. That would be un-American! He had simple tastes, which resulted in his being a picky eater. So when Gido (that’s what my kids called him) came for dinner, it was pasta, a chicken cutlet pounded paper thin, or soup. For dessert there would be lemon meringue pie and coffee.

But as “Dad” aged and became pickier, “Gido” showed up at my house with “Gido food” and my kids loved the fare he brought. He would arrive with two dozen loaves of fresh Pita bread still warm from the bakery. My kids still call it “Gido bread.” Also, a large bag of JAX (cheese doodles by an assumed name) and two cases of small plastic bottles filled with various flavors of sugary drink (predecessors to the juice box). Mine were the only kids on the block to have not only a “Gido,” but all the snacks that came along with him. All very cool and very “Gido.” “Gido food” was very different from “Dad food,” I’d noticed. No pancakes and mashed potatoes for these kids!

But the “Gido food” that has stayed with this family of mine throughout generations is the watermelon. Most kids get a bang out of spitting the seeds and seeing how far they’ll go. Not my kids. As far as they are concerned watermelon has no seeds…never has…never will. Before the advent of the seedless watermelon ours had no seeds. Why? Because Gido sat down and removed every single, solitary one before we ever got a taste. He would sit for hours slicing and picking out seeds with the tip of his knife. He considered them a choking hazard. (I think I mentioned his patience before). He did it for my sister and me and he did it for my kids but guess what? He’d set the bar high.  Now I got to sit picking out seeds with the tip of my knife for hours at a time because my kids would only eat watermelon without seeds. Soon the phenomenon extended to my husband and close friends. Nobody who ate watermelon at my house expected, nor would they tolerate, seeds. They pointed them out with annoyance if one should slip by my scrutiny and my knife. Thank you Mr. Farm Person who invented seedless watermelon, but it didn’t work. They don’t like the little white ones either!

In addition to the many legacies left by my father, we have “Gido bread,” watermelon without seeds, and the ability to make a meal out of absolutely anything in a fridge.  Thanks Dad!

Thanks, Mom for your lovely contribution!  If anyone would like to post here, shoot me an email!  I’m trying to fill up November while I NaNo.  Thanks for reading and have a nice night!  (By the way, watermelon comes with seeds??  The horror! I still love a piece of pita with cinnamon, sugar, and butter, and those little plastic sugar water drinks were AWE-SOME.  Especially the purple ones.)

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