|Graham smooches Dad, who hds been entrusted with his Elmos. That's|
Tim and me before the Wall 'O Fame (Parsippany, NJ, February 1993).
When I think of him, as I often do, the thing I remember most was his wide grin and big laugh, a great belly jiggler often punctuated by a toss of the head and tears of joy. He was easily amused, my dad, and he did so many things that still strike me as incredibly funny.
|The Big Kid, after building the Little Tykes play |
gym in the cold while his grandson napped
(Sanford, NC, December 1993)
One night at dinner, which probably consisted of grilled steak and frozen vegetables, he inadvertently combined two of his favorite things. While intending to pour root beer into his drinking glass, he misjudged and tipped it instead into a take-out deli container full of sliced raw onions.
"Irving!" shouted my mother. "What are you doing? Irving!" My brothers and I quickly advanced from nervous silence to howling laughter. Dad just folded his hands and leaned in to peer at the foaming mess with calm acceptance. Slices of sharp, eye-watering onion were taken out a few at a time, gently tapped on the rim to let excess soda dripped off, then arranged on his plate, where he dutifully ate every bite.
I still marvel to think that this unplanned side dish did not choke him with heartburn, but the simple fact is my dad loved onion with just about everything, and this was long before the advent of Vidalias or other sweets he would have contentedly munched like apples.
I don't often need an excuse to tell this story, but I share it today as part of the international #LetsLunch food blog posting which celebrates dads. With this recollection and the ever-popular Lipton Onion Soup Mix dip in mind - it was my mother's go-to for virtually any gathering - I decided to make a dip for dad incorporating these two memorable ingredients: onions and root beer.
The splash of root beer that deglazes a skilletful of caramelized onions - I used one of my mother's favorite pans for good measure - makes this a somewhat sweet dip that stands up well to dark pretzel sticks and salty potato chips. If you'd like to make it more savory, opt for a rich stout or splash of full bodied red wine vinegar.
Root Beer Glazed Onion Dip
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 tbsp. olive oil
3 large garlic cloves
2 large purple onions
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 4-inch sprigs rosemary
Cheesecloth and butcher's twine
1/2 cup root beer soda (I used Dad's, a vintage brand he enjoyed)
1/2 cup pecorino romano, freshly grated
8 oz. container of sour cream
Pretzel sticks, ruffled chips
|Sautee onions slowly to caramelize. Stop when you get |
a nice layer on brown on the pan (above) - but before
the onions burn. Deglazing with root beer (below)
incorporates tasty bits into the mix and cleans pan.
Melt butter with olive oil in skillet over medium-low heat. Add onion-garlic mix and sautee slowly. Wrap sprigs of rosemary in a small piece of cheesecloth; knot with twine then tuck into pan.
Pour in the root beer and, with a wooden spatula, scrape up all the lovely browned bits. Keep stirring until liquid evaporates and mixture thickens.
Remove pan from heat and allow to cool completely. Stir in sour cream, blending well, then add grated cheese and mix again. Transfer to container and refrigerate at least 2 hours to let flavors meld.
Transfer dip to serving dish with chips and pretzels - or whatever you dad would like.