I’m always shocked when I think about how my life differs from the life my father led. He never cooked for us, but he was always home for dinner. After eating, he would often have to go out again, and at that hour he had a few expressions that I’ll never forget. He would say “I feel like a yo-yo,” or “I’m at the end of my string,” and I was always very amused, though even at that age I was certain that he wasn’t trying to be funny.
I’m rarely home for dinner. My job keeps me at my desk until 6 pm, and by the time I walk in the door, the kids’ dinnertime is long past. Last night, the trains were delayed, and my commute took longer than usual. I arrived home somewhat late, relieved our fantastic babysitter (Santa Maria was tied up with the same commuting problems as I was), and greeted the girls.
Nina told me she was hungry. Typically, at such an hour, there’s a good chance that this is a ruse to spend time with me and to delay her bedtime. She’s a smart child, and she knows that for me, the Stay at Stove Dad, I can’t bear to send her to bed with an empty stomach.
A sure-fire way for me to find out if she’s really hungry is to offer her a vegetable. She eats her greens well enough at dinnertime, but she’s never eager for seconds of them. Last night I said she could have some green beans. To my surprise she said that she would like some—the poor child really was hungry. I steamed a bunch very quickly, buttered them up, and gave them to her. I'm sure my father never did that for me.
Later, after I had experimented with an Asian sauce to dress up my go-to Salmon fillet for my own dinner with Santa Maria, I sat down with a glass of 2009 Natura 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, from Chile's Emiliana. It was in the house because it came with a recent four-pack from our former local wine store, Red, White, and Bubbly.
Their four-packs are always full of winners, but this wine made me nervous. It was made with organic grapes. I love organic produce, but wine is wine. As it turned out, there was no need for me to be concerned: Emiliana is Chile's leading organic wine producer, and for good reason. It was delicious, with a hearty bouquet, a substantial body, and delicious floral and fruit notes. As I sipped the wine, I thought again of my father. He stopped drinking in 1973, but even before then, I’m ceratin he never had a glass of organic wine.