April 22, 2024


Than a Food Fitter

What kids can cook for Dad this Father’s Day

3 min read

OK, kiddos, Sunday, June 20, is Father’s Day. Time for you to cook for Pops, the Old Man, Daddy, Papí, Father, Papa.

For Dad.

Maybe you’ll need some helping hands from Mom (or Mother, Mamí, Mommy …) or an older sib, but turning the chairs at the table so he’s sitting down for your food is your cooking gift to him.

I polled some dad friends for dinner ideas and beef stroganoff came up a few times because it’s fancy and delicious but still but kid-doable. The recipe here is from Betty Crocker, so it couldn’t be more basic.

When I was a kid myself, my father cooked breakfast for us kids nearly every Saturday morning. It was a big deal for him. So was his Saturday golf, which he squeezed in with his chums by teeing off at 4:30 a.m. at either the City Park or Park Hill Golf Course. They’d play their 18 holes and Dad would be back by 8 or 9  to flip his to-die-for buttermilk pancakes.

With the batter, he would spell out our names in capital letters: Billy, Mary, Betty, Kay and so on. There were nine of us and we all had short names, but still, that’s a lot of pancakes. He was smart not to have named any of us Montgomery or Persephone. He wouldn’t have had a skillet large enough.

My father died early, as dad deaths go, at age 76, of cancer. A few weeks before he died, he asked me to cook him his favorite dinner from when he was growing up in Fort Lupton, north of Denver, the way his mother had cooked it. I did, of course. Cast iron skillet, lard, a cut-up chicken dredged in egg, buttermilk and flour, mashed russet potatoes, skillet gravy, steamed green beans.

It wasn’t the last food that he ate, but it was the last from my hands, and I’m glad that I did it.

Kiddos, cook for your dad this Father’s Day. You’ll remember it, and so will he.

Beef Stroganoff

From bettycrocker.com


  • 1 1/2 pounds beef sirloin steak, 1/2-inch thick
  • 8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced (2 1/2 cups)
  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups beef broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
  • 3 cups hot cooked egg noodles


  1. Cut beef across the grain into strips about 1 1/2 by 1/2 inches. Cook mushrooms, onions and garlic in butter in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until onions are tender. Remove from skillet.
  2. Cook beef in same skillet until brown. Stir in 1 cup of the broth, the salt and Worcestershire sauce. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer 15 minutes.
  3. Stir remaining 1/2 cup broth into flour; stir into beef mixture. Add onion mixture; heat to boiling, stirring occasionally. Boil and stir 1 minute. Stir in sour cream; heat until hot (do not boil). Serve over noodles.

My Dad’s Pancakes

Serves 1-9; see cooking notes.


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 quart cultured buttermilk
  • 2 eggs, beaten with a whisk
  • 1/2 cube unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  1. Mix together well the dry ingredients: the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix well the remaining ingredients. Gradually and gently add the dry ingredients to the liquid mixture with a wire whisk. Blend, but do not remove all the lumps.
  3. Bake the pancakes in any form that you wish on a lightly greased, hot griddle (set to 375-400 degrees, if electric) or a lightly greased non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.

Cook’s notes: The measurements of ingredients are as written, including the large amount of buttermilk. The batter is less heavy than traditional buttermilk pancakes, more crepe-like and light. It’s also easier to use to write letters.

Use a small pitcher or (even better) a squeeze bottle to write capital letters. Practice helps, too, so whip up a good amount of batter, which will keep for a couple more days in the refrigerator if you like.

If you write a name with the batter, it helps to write letters such as “C,” “L,” “D,” or “N” backward because they cook more uniformly on the first side and hence will look better on the plate.

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