Father’s Day arrives at the perfect time. It’s June, the daylight hours are at their longest, school is out, and summer is well on its way.
This day set aside for fathers and other male figures who have played important roles in our lives, came about a few decades after Mother’s Day, by a woman who admired everything her own father had done for his family.
Sonora Smart Dodd and her five siblings were raised by her father, William Smart, after the death of their mother, in Washington State during the early years of the 20th century.
Sonora wanted Father’s Day to be observed on her father’s birthday, June 5, but the folks in Spokane objected because there wouldn’t be enough time to prepare for the celebration, so June 19, the third Sunday in June of 1908, became the first Father’s Day, and has remained on the third Sunday ever since.
Although many early 20th century presidents observed Father’s Day, it wasn’t until President Lyndon Johnson in 1966 issued an executive order declaring the third Sunday in June as a holiday to celebrate fathers, and not until 1972 did an Congressional Act set it permanently on that date.
When I was growing up, and that was well before the Congressional Act officially making Father’s Day special, we always honored our dad and grandfather with small gifts, paid from our 50-cent allowance, and hand-made cards. My mom cooked by dad’s favorite foods, and Dad got to do nothing all day.
With my dad and grandfather now gone, I still think of that special day. I look at the cards in the shops and think how much Dad would like one, maybe not another, but certainly this one.
I still think of his favorite foods, and sometimes I will cook one for my husband.
Before Dad contracted diabetes, chocolate cake with thick, chocolate frosting was one of his favorites. He loved seafood, steaks and practically anything. He was wonderful to cook for, just as my grandfather was, because both would eat whatever I tried to make when I was young. And sometimes, my young experiments were less than delicious.
But I thank both men for giving me the confidence to continue to try, until now, I’m a pretty good cook.
With my dad in mid, here are a couple of ideas to serve next Sunday.
Seafood Lasagna (10-12 servings)
8 lasagna noodles
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 ounce cream cheese
1 cup cottage cheese
1 beaten egg
1 cup chopped onion
2 teaspoons dried basil
2 cans condensed mushroom soup
one-third cup milk
one-third cup dry white wine (or chicken stock)
16 peeled, cooked and halved shrimp
1 and one-half cups cooked crab meat
one-quarter cup grated Parmesan cheese
one-half cup grated sharp cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Cook lasagna noodles, drain. Arrange half the noodles on the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking pan. Saute onion in butter until tender. Blend in cream cheese, cottage cheese, egg, basil and salt and pepper. Spread half on top of noodles. Combine soup, milk, and wine, then stir in shrimp and crab meat. Spread half over the cottage cheese layer.
Repeat. Sprinkle on Parmesan cheese. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. Remove from oven. Top with sharp cheese, and bake for 5 more minutes. Let stand 15 minutes before cutting and serving.
Top this delectable chocolate cake with ice cream.
My Favorite Chocolate Cake (2 layers or 1 9x13-inch pan)
One-quarter cup butter
One-quarter cup shortening
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
three-quarters teaspoon baking soda
three-quarters cup baking cocoa
1 and three-quarters cups flour
three-quarters teaspoon baking powder
one-eighth teaspoon salt
1 and three-quarter cups milk
Cream butter, shortening, sugar and vanilla, then beat in eggs.
In a separate bowl, combine baking soda, cocoa, flour, baking powder and salt. Add alternately with milk to batter. Blend well. Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake tins. Pour batter into each. Bake at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes. Cool 10 minutes, then remove from pans. Once cool, frost with your favorite icing.