Scene, at dinner, Dad scooping up his third helping of salad (a riff on the flavors in this one), starts engaging in the little game I call “Deconstruct Dinner.” He gets mad if I just tell him the ingredient list; he wants to guess, even though half the stuff I serve him sometimes gets the “What the hell is this?” fisheye.
Dad: This is good. This is what? Beets? Chicken. Quinoa (pronounced Kin-oh-Ah, because he likes the way I twitch when he does that).
Me: (Nodding. Trying not to twitch.)
Dad: The dressing’s what, dill? Mustard? Some other green herby thing?
Me: Parsley, sherry vinegar, olive oil, salt.
Dad: And that schmancy Rhode Island feta, Narraganset bay, psah.
Me: (Words to the effect of step off of my cheese, this shit is first quality feta, bitches, I got 99 problems, but sourcing a local hormone-free feta ain’t one.)
Dad: (rolling his eyes at my vehement defense of the ass-pensive cheese) Scallions?
Me: (Nodding, chewing my delicious organic salad, making generally assenting noises.)
Dad: Did you cook the quinoa in chicken broth? It’s tasty.
Me: I did. (Twitch.)
Dad: And this is what, spinach? It’s not baby spinach.
Me: It’s baby kale. (Victoriously spears a leaf with a beet and some dressing, munches at the minerally goodness.)
Dad gives the whole plate the fisheye. Takes another bite. Chews. Takes another bite, then picks a leaf up with his finger.
Dad: Hallelujah, and praise the baby kale! Pass the beta carotene!
Me: Crucifers. Vitamin C, K, calcium, lots of carotenoids.
Dad: Bless these crucifers, lord, and praise the vitamins! Thanks be for the baby kale in-store discount! (Stabs the last piece of kale with his fork. A beat passes.) Can you make crispy salt & vinegar kale with this, too?