I believe one of the many ways we can all celebrate male parenting - a.k.a. Father’s Day - is by acknowledging fathers who cook; especially those who cook for their children, admittedly because it’s considered good form to feed your kids. No matter the gender, by example, we teach our children one of the fundamentals of nurturing – learn how to fend for and feed yourself!
I‘ve been fortunate enough to witness Philippe cooking (he is always cooking😊) and concocting special dishes for our children, Marika and Arik – especially when either needed some extra cheering up. Each kid obviously brought his/her own peccadillos concerning their likes and dislikes to the dining table and to this day, there is still no greater “PCA” (Personalized Culinary Accommodation) champion than their father.
If Little Miss (Marika) was out of sorts and needed a pick-me-up, Papa always managed to find the time to roast, then grind pumpkin seeds for Sikil Pak, a Yucatecan dish that calls for a little or a lot of habanero chilies – depending on the depths of Little Miss’ despair. If Fiston (Arik) was dealing with the fallout from his latest “dictée” (dictation) results, Saké infused foie gras was guaranteed to lift his spirits. Don’t be too impressed, these examples of kiddie-comfort-food-de Vienne-style competed vigorously with hot dogs, make-your-own-tacos and sushi nights.
Dishes are still prepared with a twist, and/or omission/addition of a particular ingredient because Philippe has no qualms when it comes to catering to gastronomic whims, especially those of his children. Recipes are “adapted” and he is always willing to turn the kitchen upside down or a recipe inside out for the sake of relishing the satisfaction his efforts generate in his offspring.”
Parenting is among the weightiest of responsibilities and male parenting has suffered from bouts of dismissal and even pushback when it comes to Dads assuming their roles as full-fledged caregivers. I’m encouraged by the “hands-on” approach to child rearing that is prevalent among today’s young fathers. It is a pleasure to see the stroller-pushing, hair-grooming, diaper-changing, backpack and lunch box- toting aptitude of so many men nowadays.
Not every Dad is, or necessarily wishes to be, a Saké infused foie gras, Sikil Pak, hot dog or sushi night generating chef. However, exploring other worthy and easily demonstrable culinary skills through research and experimentation is a worthy lesson best taught by example.
Teaching kids to care about what they eat is reinforced by practice. Teaching them how to ride a bike is a great lesson. Going on a bike ride with them – as we all know – is much more fun and without a doubt, more memorable.
Happy Father’s Day!!
Ethné de Vienne was born in Trinidad, so spices and cooking have always been a part of her life. She worked in fashion for many years before finally building the renowned Montreal catering service with her husband Philippe. Today, as a full-time spice hunter, she takes great care in maintaining Épices de Cru’s relationships in its vast network of suppliers around the globe. She’ll never deny that any dish can be improved by a little cumin or zaatar, and probably a nice glass of rum!