When I did the Mother’s Day round-up, just last month, John posted a comment, asking if I’d do one for Father’s Day. I was really happy to; I enjoyed putting it together so much last time. There is such a strong nostalgic association with food that thinking of a loved one naturally connects to memories of what foods they like, what foods you share a passion for, and what foods you ate during special occasions.

As I did last time, I’m going to recognize that I don’t know what YOUR dad’s favorites are so I’m sharing my dad’s must-haves. Each of these dishes mean something to me in terms of “dad” but it’s personal and you’ll have your own. Maybe we’ll have some similar ones? The funny thing is, my mom and dad are like eating opposites, actually opposites in almost every way, so I wasn’t worried about repeats of the same recipes showing up. This one is totally different than my mother’s day recipes.

Photo by Steve Wu

Unlike my mom, my dad is not a very adventurous eater. (That’s my dad at our wedding.) He knows what he likes and he sticks to it. He has his favorite restaurants and he’ll go and order his regular dishes. With only a few exceptions, my dad sticks mostly to Chinese food. He doesn’t like vegetables, avoids cold food, and he’s a germ freak. Don’t let him catch you sticking your chopsticks in a dish instead of using the serving spoon.

Garlic Knots


I know where I got my obsession with fresh bread from, my dad. The two of us are always the ones to get full before dinner by devouring whole bread baskets. There’s something about the texture and aroma or really fresh, right out of the oven, bread. It’s addictive and intoxicating. You try so hard not to eat so much, but there’s just no way. I have three bread recipes that are killer and I couldn’t even decide which one. I know my dad would love them equally and the best idea would be to make all three!

Garlic Knots
Mixer Made Soft Pretzels
Whole Wheat No Knead Bread

crab dipped in sauce 2

Dungenous Crab with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

In the battle of crab vs lobster, the crab always wins for my dad. He loves steamed crabs, crab cakes (less filler), stir-fried crabs, deep fried soft shelled crabs, and the two most favorite of favorites are the King crab legs and Dungenous Crab. I immediately thought of the beautifully steamed Dungenous Crab Lon made, with a Roasted Red Pepper Sauce.

Chinese Scrambled Eggs 3

ABC Scrambled Eggs

My dad eats breakfast at his office cafeteria every weekday and he eats the same thing every day, eggs. Don’t worry, he has a great low cholesterol, just naturally. It’s a good thing since he’s not a very healthy eater. His cafeteria makes the eggs in a few standard American styles: boiled, fried, scrambled, and omelets. He loves eggs but I think he’d be really tickled about this Chinese twist I added to scrambled eggs when my cousins came over. With Chinese sausage, fried shallots, and scallions, I call them ABC Scrambled Eggs.

Chicken Orzo Soup

Chicken Soup

My dad told us stories about when he first came to this country. He had no money and had no idea how to cook. He lived on canned chicken soup for years. I can’t imagine how he can still like chicken soup after that, but he loves it. While he will no longer accept canned soups,  his chicken soup consumption is still pretty frequent. This past winter, I decided to try several different chicken soups from many different cultures. Even though it’s not what you’d think of as a celebratory dish, my dad would love to have it on Father’s Day.

Perfect Bowl of Clam Chowder

New England Clam Chowder

I think I already mentioned how much my dad likes soup. Did I mention it has to be really hot? Steaming hot and he’d like to see the smoke. I hate having to be redundant with another soup, but to be true to my dad, I have to say New England Clam Chowder is one of his favorites. This is a little weird because he’s generally not big on dairy but he sure does love ordering this soup.

Blueberry Coconut Layer Cake 6

Blueberry Coconut Cream Cake

My dad has a sweet tooth, though he’ll never admit it. When we were kids, my brother and I knew that he had a secret stash of cookies and chocolates in the bottom drawer of his desk. We would go and steal from his tins and he couldn’t say anything or we would tell my mom. Now, I often make my dad cakes for birthdays or bring him pieces of my banana breads. It’s hard to pick an ideal dessert for him since he likes so many. He does love coconut and tends to like fruit-filled cakes so naturally, this Blueberry Coconut Cream Cake came to mind.

Dad, you need to eat more vegetables! The little bit in the soup doesn’t count.

posted by jessica at 10:42 PM Filed under Holidays, Recipes. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.