“It’s COOL for a MAN to COOK!” A Father’s Day Story
We are honored to have one of our members, Jim, to share his story about his father, a Navy Chef. We love all the Navy recipes and story he has shared and we thought it would be nice to find out more about his relationship with his father and how he got started cooking. Jim is also a father, and shares with us some fatherly advice. We hope you’ll enjoy this special Father’s Day interview!
I’m 39 years old and grew up a Navy Brat. We lived in many places and went to 9 different schools even before reaching 7th grade. I’m very big and I grew up obese. Food has always been a friend, even though I caused myself harm by not practicing moderation. In 2006, at 411lbs, I decided to go for gastric bypass surgery and lost 181lbs so far. I still enjoy cooking, and I love it when I see my family enjoying my cooking. My 3 year old son loves to help me! Every time I’m in the kitchen, he would come running, “Can I help you Daddy?”, and of course I would always say yes. I’m glad to see my son has an interest in cooking.
Share with us your relationship with your father.
When I was 14, my parents divorced. It was very difficult time for my mom, my multi-handicapped brother and I. My mom had to quit her job to take care of my brother full time and we moved into my mom’s parents place. Not long after, my grandfather passed away.
My dad and I really didn’t have any form of relationship for many years. My mom passed away unexpectedly in 2000 and made me felt so alone. It was hard when you felt like you’ve lost both of the people who have brought you into this world. My son was born in 2006 and it took a lot of strength in me to reach out to my dad and let him see his only grandchild. My wife, son and I drove to visit him. He and my son hit it off immediately. They were both giddy and I’ve never seen that side of him. It was difficult as he would be gone on a ship for a very long time.
Since that day, my dad and I had a relationship. We visit him once or twice a year and he loves his grandson! We have had many conversations and he reminded me how to cook SOS (Creamed Ground Beef) and Tomato Gravy (two of my favorite things), gave me cooking tips and helped me out when it turned out wrong. One day while cleaning out the storage shed, my wife found hundreds of Navy Card recipes in a metal box. I scanned some and sent the box to my dad. He was so glad to get them and I know it brought back great memories for him as well.
If there’s one thing you would like to thank your father for, what would it be?
I think he instilled in me the idea of cooking, especially the idea of a MAN cooking. It hasn’t been too long ago that “men don’t cook” was the mantra on most men’s lips. It’s radically different today (just watch Food Network for 30 seconds)!. I learned from him early on that it’s not only OK for a man to cook, but it’s pretty cool too! I also remembered a statement he said to me one time when I asked him why he was a cook in the Navy and not flying jets! He said, “Son, the best position on a ship is the cook, because EVERYONE is nice to you. If they don’t, you can easily mess them up by messing with their food!”. I’ve always remembered that, especially when I go through a drive-thru and have a rude person on the speaker! Ha ha!
As a father now, how do you bond with your kids?
We LOVE to cook together. When I cook, he helps me by handing me ingredients and mixing them together. He’s always eager to do “my work”. He would get a bowl and mix anything that I allow him to, like sugar, coffee, salt, butter, pepper, rice, milk, water! We would then put the mix in either the oven (not turned on, of course) or freezer! Well, we had to remove his snowman from the last snow we had in February. He wouldn’t let it melt, or rather let it “die”. It’s fun to cook together with my son. We also do other things together too. He’s into sports, we play baseball, football, basketball and running too. He’s a young techie, loves playing with my iPhone and iPad! We just got him a puppy from the rescue this week. He LOVES it!
Any advice for other Dads?
Don’t be afraid to let your kids be in the kitchen with you. Yes, they’ll make a mess but they’ll have a great time. It really is a good bonding and teaching time. When we are cooking, we count, learn letters and measurements. Best of all, he always brags to mommy about how he cooked whatever we are eating. Thankfully, cooking is cool for men now. One thing I’ve learned is how quickly they grow. Man, enjoy them while you can, they will be out of the nest before you know it!
Once again, we thank Jim for sharing with us this heartfelt Father’s Day story. You can view all his recipes here. Need more advice or have any comments for him? Login in to Love With Food and leave a comment on his page or sign up now and join the chatter!