Father's Day food memories

Sloppy joes

Today is Father's Day in the U.S. and for many families that means outdoor cooking, meat on the grill, and picnic fare. No doubt millions of burgers and steaks will find their way onto plates this afternoon and evening. The traditional Father's Day meal is often the main food memory people have with their dads (although that is changing with the times).

The food memories I have of my father are not associated with Father's Day, however. In our household, as was typical in most homes in the 70s and 80s, my mother did the vast majority of cooking. My dad was grill master, also a stereotypical role, although he had a few other specialties that were his province. All of them involved ground beef.

The one we most looked forward to was the sloppy joe dinner. My father never used a recipe, preferring to ad lib each time. There were some basic ingredients, but he often riffed on the seasonings, trying out new combinations and proportions. A few key spices like chili powder and ground black pepper formed the backbone of the flavor, but there were always pinches of other spices and splashes of sauces like Tabasco and Worcestershire as well. 

My dad tasted as he added, stopping when he reached the flavor profile he was after. Even though the taste was never exactly the same the sloppy joes were always delicious, and we kids lavished praise on the meal (probably to my mother's chagrin). While I've had a complicated relationship with my father over the years, the pleasant memories of the sloppy joe dinners always bring a smile to my face. 

What is your favorite food memory with your father? 


  • Jenny  on  6/18/2017 at 9:43 PM

    When my mother would be hospitalized for her bipolar depression -- he would take us to the tavern and we'd have cold 7-up in a bottle and potato chips for breakfast - at the bar.

  • Jane  on  6/19/2017 at 9:05 AM

    I don't remember my father ever cooking during my childhood, apart from Scottish porridge for breakfast. He now isn't a bad cook as my mother had a stroke 6 years ago and he does all the shopping and cooking. More ready-meals than she would ever have done but he cooks some stuff too.

  • lgroom  on  6/25/2017 at 1:43 PM

    I have a battalion of young siblings and as the oldest was always expected to take care of the younger ones. When my mom was hospitalized after giving birth to one of my sisters, I was seven. My dad thought I should be able to do meals but discovered I really wasn't ready. We ate a lot of eggs and potatoes for a couple of days but I remember still how good his eggs tasted cuz he didn't overcook them like my mom did.

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