Adieu to Dad

My dad digging potatoes at last year's pumpkin patch

I haven’t been writing, as unfortuately my father  passed away recently.  He was a unique man who loved to play with his grandchildren, and talk politics and religion with the grown-ups.  He loved old cars, houseboats, yellow button down shirts, going swimming in the ocean, watching sports (only the end of the game, when it got exciting) and listening to Rush Limbaugh (yes, really).

The last few months of his life, he lived with my family.  It was fun, frustrating, happy and sad – sometimes all in the same day.  Once of the things that was most interesting was my dad’s food interests.  My dad was always a great eater and loved all types of food.  He was very appreciative when he came to visit and I’d make his old favorites and introduce him to a few new things.  However the last 6 months of his life he couldn’t taste or smell very well and relied on his sense of food memories for some meals.  By this I mean he enjoyed things more if he had already liked them as his mind could imagine the taste and help fill in for the taste buds.  One of his favorites was In-N-Out Burger.  Of course not something my family eats often (or ever), it was sometimes difficult for me to get him his request (burger with extra lettuce and tomato, fries and vanilla shake).  Standing in the long line and hearing the loud numbers being called out, I wanted to be anywhere but there.  But my dad truly enjoyed it when I brought it to him.  

Luckily there were a few other things he could enjoy eating including cherries from our trees, ripe nectarines from the farmer’s market, and my roasted potatoes.  Here’s the recipe to share with your family and maybe your dad too.  Mine liked these with ketchup.

Roasted Potatoes

I make lots of veggies in the oven this way.  It’s quick and easy and doesn’t even require measuring.  Just a pour and sprinkle to your family’s taste.  Be sure not to crowd the potatoes or they can’t brown.  The rosemary salt gives it a little kick and extra flavor.

Makes 6 servings

2 pounds small organic white new or fingerling potatoes (about 24), scrubbed
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon rosemary salt

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Cut potatoes in half and place in a ceramic baking dish. Pour olive oil over potatoes and toss to coat. Sprinkle salt over potatoes and stir to mix. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until potatoes are brown on the outside and tender inside.

(If I need to speed up cooking, I precook the potatoes in the microwave for about 3 minutes before adding oil and salt.  Then put in the oven to finish and brown.  Cuts oven time in half).