Dad’s Choice Pickins’

This submission for our Apron Strings contest comes from a Toronto legend. Kathleen Bryers is the dancing crossing guard who works at Dufferin and Dundas.  Wonder how she got to be so fun and zany? Read a little about her dad’s cooking and you’ll know where she found her love of life.  Be sure to check out the rest of the Apron Strings contest submissions and rate them. The lucky winners will receive gift certificates to shop at Fiesta Farms.


Our Dad, Stanley Mills was a fun, creative cook! Dad made soups, stews, pressure-cooked meats, chips, Christmas turkey and much more. When in his lab (the kitchen) Dad was in his element, and there he would concoct his special soup.

Experiment was his middle name, and Dad wasn’t shy when it came to that.  If you happened to walk by the kitchen while Dad was cooking, you’d be summoned in for a taste and asked for your opinion.

Dad knew we all liked his chips, myself in particular and his nickname for me became “Chips”, along with my other nickname “Katrinka”.  When he made his chips Dad used a long oval cast-iron pan, oil (not too much), and placed large, evenly cut slices of potato down into the hot oil.   This wasn’t deep frying because the chips were cooked golden-brown, very patiently over time. We weren’t allowed to have any until he made enough for all six of us kids. Dad counted them all and liked to announce how many he made, “Guess how many chips I made”, he’d say.  We would all take a guess, and then Dad couldn’t wait to tell us, “I made 125 chips!”

When Dad made pork chops he would use our pressure cooker.  First he would brown the chops real nice, as only Dad would say, and let the chops cook so well that the bones became soft and he could extract the marrow.  Dad would then say, “You can spread the marrow on toast!”

Dad loved the turkey preparation and over night roasting ritual Mom and he always did every Christmas.  After the turkey was done our Dad would come upstairs to our bedrooms, about 4am Christmas morning, and say, “Taste this, choice pickins’ eh?”

Sometimes, when Dad would call us in for supper he’d use his microphone and amplifier!  He’d place the amp in the window and say, “Mills kids it’s time for supper, we’re having pork chops, mashed potatoes, peas, and fruit cocktail for dessert! ”  That was so funny, because the whole street knew what we were going to eat for dinner!

Our Dad was a kid at heart and that’s what made our meals so good!

Stanley Mills served in WWII along with his two brothers Frank, and Bill.  They all returned home from the War in 1945, which was a miracle in itself.
Our Dad passed away in 1976.

These are memories of Dad that make me laugh and cry!I

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