Does it occur to you that Father’s Day, which is today, gets short shrift compared to Mother’s Day? Surveys say 83 percent of U.S. adults celebrate Mom, but only 76 percent do it up for Dad. We spend $140 on mami but just $106 on papi, scolds the National Federation of Retailers.
If this fills you with unbearable guilt, if you agonize over the age-old question, “What do men really want?” you might find relief in the tired-but-true axiom: “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.”
If you love your daddy, shoo him away from the backyard grill, plop him in an Adirondack chair and cook him a meal. Tell him he can watch, but can’t offer any unneeded male advice. Here are some things he might like:
• Surprise him with your cutting-edge drinks hipness and hand him a bottle of Angry Orchard Elderflower Hard Cider – crisp and dry, with vivid floral, almost lavender aromas and flavors, for about $9 a six-pack.
• Grill him a monster, well-marbled ribeye steak and serve a 2009 Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile, redolent with cassis and mocha flavors and big, ripe tannins for $125.
• Or just char $5 worth of supermarket hamburger and serve it with a 2011 Casillero del Diablo Malbec, also from Chile, with flavors of black cherries and milk chocolate, for $12.
• Google “beer can chicken” by Miami barbecue author Steven Raichlen. Place an open can of beer on the grill and sit a whole chicken down on it vertically, using the beer can and the chicken’s two drumsticks to form a supporting triangle. The beer steams the chicken to perfection. With it, serve Samuel Adams’s new Little White Rye beer, light and crisp, with unexpected fennel flavors, at about $15 per 12-pack.
• Keep things simple by making him my “Short-Cut Short Ribs.” Simmer a pound or so of short ribs for an hour in red wine and broth, slather them with your favorite bottled barbecue sauce and char them on the grill. Serve with the 2010 Clos LaChance Zinfandel, North Coast, hearty and rich and spicy, with red raspberry flavors, for $15.
• Simmer a dozen bratwursts (find jalapeno brats if you can) in beer and onions for 10 minutes, then put some mean-looking grill marks on them and serve them on buns with Dijon mustard and sauerkraut. Boil down the leftover beer and onions and serve it on the side. Serve with Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, with its lemon-scented hops and nice dry finish, at about $9 per six-pack.
• Show your exotic side and serve him grilled baby octopus (no kidding; many supermarkets carry them for $3 or $4 a pound in the fish section). Marinate in olive oil, lemon, garlic and lime, skewer and char briefly on both sides. Serve the 2011 Francis Coppola “Diamond Collection” Sauvignon Blanc, Calif., with tart flavors of white grapefruit and grass, at $16.
• For dessert, stay at your deckside cooking post and stay exotic, peel and slice a whole pineapple into half-inch slices and grill until heated through and lightly charred. Serve hot, topped with expensive vanilla bean ice cream and serve with an exotic Thai drink called Siam Dew. Mix a jigger of smooth and potent Phraya Deep Matured Gold Rum from Thailand (about $39), which has tropical flavors from coconut to pineapple, plain yogurt, sugar and cumin and shake over ice.
Your Daddy will be very pleased if you do this. The next day he’ll go around bragging, “My (daughter, wife, girlfriend, mother, etc.) is so cool. She grills, you know.”