Father’s Day and Anniversary in Brela

Post originally written June 21.

There are days when things just seem to break your way.  Days when all of those, “Am I where I should be?” type of questions seem to get answered.  Sure, there are the still those days in between to contend with but today was one of those days that you really live for.

I woke up this morning, not knowing that yesterday was Father’s day.  I had sent my dad a Father’s day gift before I left and wished him a happy one in absentia, but nobody wished me a happy Father’s day yesterday and I completely spaced it off.  (Hello, free pass on forgotten anniversary in the future!)  I’m not mad, just setting up the story…  But this morning I got up and there were a bunch of missed calls on my mobile phone, all forwarded from Skype.  Father’s day wishes, I presume.  It’s my 4th Father’s day and I still cant’ get used to the fact that it’s a holiday for me.  Funny, seems Mrs. NH can’t either.

But I digress.  Today, everything clicked into place.  It was a rainy morning, but just after a late lunch, the sun broke out of the clouds and the sea shone like a plate of glass.  We were all ready to hit it with gusto.  We strapped Little NH into her swim vest (a 21st Century version of floaties) and set off into the surf.  She walked around in the shallows for a minute and then, all by herself, said she wanted to float on her own.

An hour and a half later, we got out of the water.  She went from the shallows to the deep with the grace of a walrus and courage of a lion.  Waves and splashes proved no deterrent and she just kept swimming.  I had to remind myself to keep my agape mouth closed so it didn’t fill with water.  Proud?  You bet.

Yeah, my wife and daughter totally forgot Father’s Day.  But I don’t mind.  Late deliveries are always welcome.  Did I mention that today is Mrs. NH and my 13th wedding anniversary?

Things just keep breaking my way.

Churros con Chocolate… in Prague?

Churro Press
Churro Press

Sunday was Father’s Day in the NH household (but not in the Czech Republic) and I woke up to a good little celebration. My daughter had colored a picture of Ernie holding a piece of cake and presented it to me proudly. A stack of small boxes was on the table in the living room and minutes after getting out of bed (I was the last one up) the three of us proceeded to the balcony for a Father’s Day celebration. My wife had managed to buy me a churro press from LaTienda.com and some traditional Spanish “chocolate” for dipping purposes. I was wowed and a little scared.

You see, I don’t have a Fry Daddy. I grew up in a household where “grease” was a very, very bad word. I have also been witness (usually an accomplice with my dad) to various grease-based [fried] dishes that came out soggy and relative culinary disasters. It wasn’t for a lack of trying. We always agreed that, “the grease was just not hot enough.” Yes, we had some wins (beer batter fish comes to mind) but every fried stroke of brilliance was countered by a soggy defeat.

That being said, I had some good success about a year ago with tempura fried vegetables using a cast-iron skillet on the grill. The mess was kept to a minimum and by closing the grill lid and the grease was hot enough to fry in small portions. Yesterday, I employed the same system to the churro dough. I’m happy to report that after only one false start, the experiment was a success. I had to switch gears about 1/4 of the way through the dough when I decided that the recommended nozzle on the press was too large my under powered rig couldn’t muster the heat to fry them all the way though. Sure enough, the switch to the smaller nozzle produced some delicious (if not slightly oddly shaped) churros in about 4 minutes. After they were coated in powdered sugar and dipped in the pudding-like chocolate, we were transported to the sidewalk of Madrid and the Cafeteria Ricote Churreria.

Like many recipes, this one was tough on the first try but not intrinsically difficult and should be easy to master on subsequent outings. As a matter of fact, it’s the perfect recipe for overnight guests who drink too much of our wine the night before. What says good morning more than a strong cup of joe, a plate of crispy churros and a steaming cup of thick, rich Spanish chocolate. ¡Buenos días y feliz Día del Padre!

Kids Say the Funniest Things

Yesterday was Father’s Day at the NH household and we had a great celebration.  My little girl is getting older by the minute and the amount of conversation we have with her is increasing incrementally.  To illustrate, my wife sent me a Skype message the other week detailing a trip to the park in which my daughter owned most of the conversation.  Here’s a snippet:

Oh look, I see my shadow in the sand. I see my hair shadow. I see my neck shadow. Mommy, do you see your neck shadow. Mommy, do you have a neck? I have a neck. That boy on the swing has a neck. His mommy has a neck too! I’m wearing shoes. Ha, ha, I said shoes. Sorry mommy, I meant to say I am wearing tennis shoes. Are you wearing tennis shoes? That boy is wearing tennis shoes. His mommy is wearing tennis shoes. We are ALL wearing tennis shoes. Where are [her friends] Johnny and Mark? Look how far away my stroller is.”

…and on and on and on.  Oh, yeah.  And my favorite. “Weeee, this is fun. I am having fun in the park. I am happy. I’m not grumpy.”

We’re all thankful for that.  Fatherhood – the wordiest job you’ll ever love.