So my father, who is not and will never be, politically correct – has been at a wedding in Canada.
He has hearing problems, perhaps due to a genetic condition, perhaps due to shooting guns at one point in his life when he was a spy in training. A period in his life he refuses to talk about.
I always asked him about it when I was a kid just so I could hear him say… “If I tell you I’ll have to kill you.”
I asked my father why he wanted to get out of the spy business. He said, “I missed my mother’s cooking.”
“But dad, you hated your mother’s cooking.”
He laughed. ”I was the only person in the armed services who preferred army food to my mother’s cooking.”
So back to Canada. I guess the bride’s family (in Canada) is very orthodox, as in orthodox Jewish. My father said after the wedding ceremony, before they sat down to the big celebratory dinner, the cantor sang a prayer that lasted 45 minutes. My dad, who was plotzing, (look it up), couldn’t hear a word of it. When the cantor finished, my father stood up and called out, “I didn’t hear any of that. Would you mind repeating it, from the beginning?”
That’s my dad. A very spiritual man who takes organized religion with a grain of salt. (That one’s for you, Tom.)
We weren’t allowed white bread, ever, growing up. My father said this about white bread – “White bread is for Catholics. If a cannibal ever came to this country and ate a Catholic, he’d say… hmmm, tastes like white bread. If he ate a regular Christian, he’d say… hmmm, tastes like whole wheat. If he ate a Jew, he’d say… Rye bread. Must be a Jew.”
The only time we were allowed store-bought white bread – and this had nothing to do with Catholics but rather my father’s insistence upon whole grains and homemade – was when we went fishing. Then we could use leftover stale bread from my grandfather’s store. The fish loved those little dough balls.
I’ve lived all over the county – spent time in Paris – now I’m in California, which as you know, thinks of itself as the unofficial Country of Bread. However, in my humble opinion the best bread in the entire world is made by the one of the most obscure bakeries in the world, The Lithuanian Bakery in Omaha, Nebraska. No joke. This bakery makes the best bread in the world.
Look here – Lithuanian Bakery
Check out the Sourdough Rye and the Pumpernickel.
There are mornings I wake up and crave that Sourdough Rye like a junkie craves her fix. When we lived there my dad brought a loaf home almost every day. That and Dorothy Lynch Dressing – you gotta be from the Midwest to appreciate the addictive nature of Dorothy Lynch Dressing. It’s impossible to find in California. I keep a secret stash in my garage.
All right, gotta get the dog – he’s working today – and I have to get hold of my parents to discuss travel plans. Laters!
P.S. I was 20 years old before I tasted my first Oreo cookie. Hard to believe, I know. Around my house, if you wanted a cookie you had to make it from scratch. My dad has always been ahead of his time when it comes to food. And he made us drink water. We were only allowed ‘pop’ or soda if we were near death.