July 29, 2021

Dishin’ with Dody – Memories of Dad, Dan and Elvis

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Dody-Denman-1webMy Dad could not sing.  Not once in my life did I hear anything that resembled music escape from his mouth.  As a matter of fact I only heard his attempt at singing three times in my life.  The first time was Christmas.  I was probably around ten or eleven and had received a record player along with some Elvis records.

One beautifully sunny morning, Mom and I were cleaning house to the sounds of music.  Suddenly, Dad was yelling about how he didn’t see what was so great about “HIS” singing.   Insisting, with each song, he could sing better!  So I finally challenged him.  “If you think you can sing better than Elvis, let’s hear it.”  Dad refused, but I was relentless.

Finally, after much cajoling, flattery and sweet-talking (as only a daughter can do!) he was beginning to break.  Then he said, “If I do sing, you cannot laugh.”  I promised my now vulnerable father that I would not laugh at his singing…I just wanted to hear him.  Finally, he conceded.

Dad, sitting in his recliner, sat a little straighter, moved toward the edge of the seat, took a deep breath and belted out “Old Dan Tucker was a mean old man, washed his face with a frying pan.  Combed his hair with a wagon wheel, died with a toothache in his heel.  So get out the way of Old Dan Tucker.  He’s too late to git his supper. Supper’s over and breakfast cookin’.  Old Dan Tucker just stands there lookin’.”

And oh how I laughed!  I laughed and laughed until I could not breathe.  I was literally rolling on the floor gasping for air.  It was the most horrific sound I had ever experienced!  Nothing you can imagine could prepare you for such an onslaught of dreadfulness.  This moment continues to be precious to me as one of my most beloved “Dad” memories.

For the rest of our approximately fifty years together, I could convince him to sing only twice more, and it was always “Old Dan Tucker”.  The last time was for the sake of my children.  How I wish this had been recorded to share with my grandchildren.

The reason this particular memory is so prevalent right now is while watching “The Andy Griffith Show” last week, Opie sang this song.  I looked on you tube and found many versions.  I think I listened to them all. “Old Dan” was a folk song popularized in 1843.  Dad’s words may not be exactly what you remember, but it is my favourite version.

I recently created this “Roasted Corn and Potato Chowder”.   Dad never tasted it, but I know he would have loved it and you will too.

Roasted Corn and Potato ChowderSAMSUNG

2 T. olive oil

2 T. flour

2 slices bacon (finely diced)

1/3 cup celery (finely diced)

1/2 red pepper (finely diced)

1/2 onion (finely diced)

3 sprigs thyme

2 ears corn (roasted and removed from cob, see cook’s note)

2 large potatoes (peeled, 1/2 inch dice)

4 cups chicken broth

1 can evaporated milk (can substitute 2 cups cream)

Salt and pepper

Place oil in Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add bacon sauté about 2 minutes. Add celery, red pepper, onion, thyme, salt and pepper. Sauté vegetables until softened. Add flour and stir about a minute.  Slowly add broth. Bring to boil. Add potatoes and corn.  Simmer until potatoes are done.  Add milk. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Cook’s Note:  There are several ways to roast corn.  I make my choice depending on what else I am cooking.  If something is grilling, throw on corn.  A cast iron griddle is perfect for on top of the stove.  If you are using the oven, place husked corn directly on the oven rack.  Turn to roast all sides.  Always remember charring adds flavour!




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