My dad sends emails with the subject lines "FW: Buzzle finger monkeys"; and "The white stuff is seaweed meringue"; and "Dad featured in People magazine" (not exactly accurate); and "Thought I might grill some toad for dinner." That last message included this image...
...and the body text: "Think food 52 would be interested?"
But he was just as surprised to see my email to him (I know I should have called but it's 2016): "Can you share your cooking advice with me?"
"You want my advice on cooking??"—two question marks!—was the response. My dad sees upwards of 30 patients a day and competes in crazy-person Ironman events; he operates on infants' eyeballs and organizes 200-mile running relays. But he is not an elaborate or ambitious cook. (He knows this.)
But yes, yes, I did want his advice—as someone who makes 30-minute dinners for my mom and himself almost every night. (That's more than I can say.)
So I called him up and asked him what he'd learned about cooking over the years. Over the course of our conversation, in which we were both tearing up from laughing so hard (and I could hear my mom chiming in in the background), here's what he said to say.
If the milk tastes really bad, don’t use it—regardless of the last sale date, and I don’t want you to single out Whole Foods for this, but I think it’s a problem.
Don’t make Yorkshire pudding too often because the novelty is good once or twice, but then people start asking what it is—so you don’t want to make it too often.
If you are preparing a late-night snack, particularly if you are under the influence, do not use a stove—microwave is probably okay; I haven’t had an experience, but I’ve had family members who will go unmentioned who’ve had very bad experiences; there's nothing like coming down at 1:30 A.M. and finding the stove just on.
If you’re making refrigerator cookies from a commercial roll, don’t overcook them—better to undercook than overcook. That goes for pasta too, of course.
What's the best—or best-worst—piece of cooking advice your dad has given you? Share it with us in the comments below!