Loving my dad, the layers of an onion

This Apron Strings contest entry comes from Marsha Ann Jukes who reminds us that sometimes our parents’ teach us lessons that take time to truly appreciate. Thanks Marsha! 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.


Although I never lived with my Dad full time as a child, but for the first 3 months of my life, I have some wonderful memories of weekends I did share with this man who was my father.

The cottage was a world where I saw my Dad at his best. Relaxed, smiling broadly and endlessly chatting with the neighbours. I always enjoyed that moment, on entering the cottage, of breathing in the piquant smell of the honey coloured pine that was the cottage’s interior. The aroma of the pine and its soft warm colour invoked a primative feeling of comfort. This is where we lounged, limbs draped over sofas, played cribbage or parcheesee and shared stories. There were rooms, created by walls and doors, and they did not reach past 7 feet in height, leaving the entire ceiling an open concept throughout the cottage.

Morning smells of bacon and eggs, a beconing alarm clock, seeped over the walls and into our nostrils. Dad loved to cook breakfast. He was eagerly the first one up when we were at the cottage. Home fries and luscious tomatoe would usually accompany this simple scrumptious breakfast. A stack of crusty homemade toast, fresh perked, yes perked coffee, steeped tea and an assortment of mouthwatering local preserves. Yes breakfast at the cottage was a meal to be enjoyed and a wonderful memory, simple and treasured.

There is one other simple recipe my dad favored which I would like to include in this culinary story. At age 15 I turned my nose up and cringed when I witnessed my dad making lunch and when I saw him adding a thick slab of an onion slice to a sizeable chunk of old cheddar cheese atop a widely sliced wheel of fleshy tomatoe and fresh crusty french bread. The thought of a mouthful of the onion overwhelmed my tastebud’s senses and stopped me cold. It took me a couple of years before I came to appreicate and enjoy this stimulating combination of flavours.

I look forward to each year when tomatoes are ripe and heavy on the vines. My memory is gently nudged to re-create the ritual of gathering together all the necessary ingredients in fond memory of my dad and the first time we shared this pungent sandwich together at the cottage.

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