Lagniappe: Happy Birthday, Dad.

Today is my Dad's birthday, and he is my best friend in the whole world.

See, I had this lightbulb moment the other night. I didn't really grow up in a "foodie" family, and no one is as crazy passionate about it like I am. My Dad does love photography though, and he likes detail, and he likes colours and patterns. So he often texts me pictures of food he eats or makes--largely because a couple of years ago I introduced him to the Food Network show Chopped and he became obsessed with the concept of plating. "PLATING! Look at this wonderful PLATING job I've done here Gracie!" is the caption that comes through with a snap of a salad he's constructed. It's basically the sweetest thing in the world.

This kind of enthusiasm isn't really new, though. One of my most precious memories was as a young teenager helping my Dad assemble a salad for dinner (we're big on salads where I come from, apparently) and whilst slicing a beautiful red juicy Roma tomato, he suddenly tossed down the knife and exclaimed, "My God, Gracie, just come and look at this. Look how beautiful this is! It's just gorgeous, so perfectly designed and deep red with the seeds all arranged just so in each slice...I tell you, this is proof to me that there is a God. GOD IS IN THE TOMATOES, MY SAUSAGE!"

Yes. "Sausage." That's what he calls me. 

My first instinct was to check him for a head injury of some kind, but failing that, I just laughed--because this is my Dad, and this is what I learned from my Dad: to see the beauty in simple, small things. To appreciate that a humble tomato can be a source of magnificence and design, and is worthy of a prayer of gratitude for its blessing, however small. Once you realise how many components actually go INTO a salad, it becomes pretty evident that in one white bowl lies the proof that we are SURROUNDED by amazing, inspiring, beautiful things and we have more to be thankful for than we know what to do with.

So when I'm standing in the farmer's market, shaking with excitement over finally finding the most perfect, melt-in-your-tongue goat cheese coated in mineral ash and exploding with creamy richness, or I'm getting near teary-eyed at the rows upon rows of beautiful, BRIGHT, fresh green lettuces and greens--I am not batshit crazy, as my poor friends looking on and watching this escapade would assume--I am, simply, my father's daughter.

Happy Birthday, Dad. I love you to the moon and back.
Posted on January 15, 2014 .