Every night my daughter asks me to tell her a story from my childhood. Most of them either include me getting into some kind of trouble or my Dad doing something that he probably shouldn’t have done. The story I shared with her a few nights ago was about my Dad trying to do something really sweet and falling a little short. This was usually a theme with him when it came to my Mom, but rarely when it came to me. Growing up, in my eyes my Dad could do no wrong, This was one of the only times that I ever was able to see a flaw in the Old Man.
I got out of school at 1:15 on Wednesdays and my Dad would pick me up each week on his motorcycle when it was warm and in his army green Nova (the Green Ghost) when it was cold outside. We would head straight to our favorite restaurant for french onion soup. We never had anything but french onion soup – that was our tradition. One Wednesday in the spring of my fourth grade year our tradition was disrupted. It started out like any other Wednesday afternoon until we sat down at a table at The Wagon Wheel and ordered our soup. We were informed by the waitress that the restaurant was all out of french onion soup. I don’t how that even happens. Was there an onion shortage? Were all of the little soup crocks dirty? It’s like running out of ketchup.
Although I was upset, my Dad had figured out a solution. We would go across the street to the grocery store and buy the ingredients for the soup to prepare at home. Why not? My Mom had four of the little french onion soup bowls just waiting to be used. We went across the street and purchased the ingredients necessary to make the soup – a can of french onion soup, bread and cheese. We took our ingredients home and started cooking right away. By cooking I mean he put the ingredients in the bowls, popped them in the microwave and pressed “1” over and over again until the soup was heated through and the cheese was melted.
My Dad is a simple guy when it comes to food. He likes steak and potatoes, peanut butter and jelly and American cheese and white bread. Unfortunately, American cheese is not the ideal cheese for french onion soup and white bread could not be more wrong for the job. When the soup was finally warm enough to eat my Dad placed a bowl in front of me. The cheese had not really melted, but instead hardened and the bread had turned into a pile of mush in the center of the soup. I took one look at the concoction in front of me and asked if we could go to McDonald’s. I knew my Dad’s weak spot and it was a Filet-o-fish and chocolate shake.
As I finished telling my daughter this story, she laughed and said “Mom, it’s like your chicken noodle soup!” Indeed it was. Clearly my mad cooking skills come from my Dad!