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On this day last year, I took my dad out to lunch for his birthday. He had steak, as usual. I didn’t know then that would be the last time I would have the chance to take my daddy to lunch.
I’ve spent the last year flooded with memoires of my father and tears from missing him.
Some weeks writing the Kitchen Adventures column is bittersweet because he often came to my house to try recipes I used for the column. So many memories are of cooking for my dad.
One year my mom and I went on vacation with family to the beach but it was during harvest season so Dad stayed home on the farm. I had to leave the trip early to come back for work, but on the way home I bought some fresh fish. I cooked supper for him the remainder of the week until Mom got home. The first night I cooked the fish. Dad loved fish.
We had fried grouper, pan-seared red snapper, blue cheese coleslaw, baked new potatoes, homemade hushpuppies and some cheesecake I brought back from my trip. I might have overdone it a little but dad really enjoyed it.
That night, as he finished up his plate, he told me I didn’t have to wait for Mom to be out of town to cook for him. When I close my eyes, I still can see him sitting in the chair in my living room saying it.
My daddy liked my cooking and that is a happy thought. It’s funny how food and memories can be so tightly linked.
But there’s one dish he discovered a few years ago that he seemed to like above any other.
Our family and friends usually found any excuse to get together and eat yummy food. It could be a birthday, game night, holiday, sporting event or anything really.
At one gathering our friend Christine Ordway brought her famous Vidalia Onion Dip. After a few bites Dad was hooked. From then on he told her she had to bring it with her to any gathering of which he was a part. And she did, just for him.
Sometimes he’d even greet her at the door just to make sure she brought it. I think she even learned that she could get him to help out with something if she bribed him with onion dip. He was the helpful sort anyway but the onion dip probably made him more excited about it.
One time she even made him a double batch. It took him a few days to eat it but he savored every bite.
This dip can be eaten with chips or on anything. Christine said she has tried it on hamburgers, baked potatoes, smothered fries, chicken, pork chops, barbecue and just about anything else.
Because it was one of my dad’s favorites she has now renamed the dip Pat Owsley’s Favorite Vidalia Onion Dip.
Happy birthday daddy, we all miss cooking for you.
Pat Owsley’s Favorite Vidalia Onion Dip
2 large Vidalia onions, halved and sliced
3 cups Swiss cheese, shredded
2 cups Hellmann’s mayonnaise
Olive oil and butter for sautéing
Sauté or sweat onions in olive oil and butter until translucent; try not to brown them. Mix in cheese and mayo. Put the mixture in a 9-by-9-inch or 9-by-11-inch baking dish or crock. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden brown on top. Blot off the oils from cooking. Serve with tortilla chips or crackers.
SOURCE: Christine Ordway.
Becca Owsley can be reached at 270-505-1741 or firstname.lastname@example.org.