After my two older sisters were nearly grown and out of the house, my dad decided that his fathering days were far from over. Noelle and I were born, and the next twenty years were filled with dirty diapers, ballet recitals, tennis matches, and long walks around our block holding hands.
Now at 68 years old, my father finally has all of his girls out of his house.
We all find reasons to come home. There is no safer place than my parent's bedroom. I have spent many hours sitting on their armchair, sharing my dreams and anxieties, and listening to their solid and loving advice. Whenever I come home, I feel loved and cherished. There is no better place in the world.
But my parent's kitchen? Well...this is a different story. To put it simply, my father is both frugal and a health food fanatic. His frugality has allowed his business to flourish and has provided financial security for my family. But it also means he doesn't like throwing ANYTHING away. His health food fanaticism has allowed him to stay strong. But it also means that he eats some very interesting fare. But as my dad would say, he's in better shape "than when he was 25", and so I have to give him due credit.
But my father's commitment to health sometimes clouds his judgment. As my sisters and mother will attest, my father will eat his go-to-foods no matter how long they have been sitting in the refrigerator or in the coffee urn (yes, he reheats the same batch of coffee for an entire week). In his mind, health trumps taste. Health trumps sanity.
This belief often drives me crazy. Over Christmas break, my dad pulled out a jar of strawberry jam. The expiration date clearly read 2009. Ryan and I passed the jar back and forth and promptly agreed that it smelled very questionable. But not surprisingly, my dad proceeded to spread a thin layer of jam over his whole wheat bread. "I'll just take a little," he said, and we both smiled and shook our heads.
But just yesterday, I found my father's influence creeping into my own kitchen, my own plate of food. After a solid hour at the gym, I sat down to a a beautiful open faced sandwich. Two pieces of sprouted grain bread were slathered with roasted red pepper hummus and covered with caramelized onions and Jarlsberg cheese. After toasting in the oven for 5 minutes, my slices were warm and aromatic. I was hungry. I couldn't be more ready to eat.
But then I spotted it. On the corner of one piece of cheese there was the slightest sample of mold. The blue and fuzzy fur was undeniable. I was at a loss of what to do. If I threw out my sandwich, I would have to settle for a boring peanut butter and jelly. I had used the last two slices cheese, and I was far too hungry to go to the store. My stomach growled as I sat at the table. A decision had to be made.
My father's energetic and loving face popped into my mind. Yes, I thought, I know exactly what I should do. And so, following in my father's footsteps, I carefully cut out that piece of cheese and proceeded to eat my sandwich, bite after delicious bite.
I haven't confessed this to my husband, to my mother or to my sisters because I know that they will all shake their heads and laugh. I've harped on my dad for his eating habits for years, but just as everyone always says, you don't fall far from the tree.
These flaxseed breadsticks are in honor of my father. They are healthy and delicious. Even better, these wheat twists freeze beautifully, so I like to move the entire batch to the freezer as soon as they cool. You can take two to three out for dinner, and you won't ever have to worry about pesky mold.
4 cups whole wheat flour
1 3/4 cups warm water (around 110 degrees)
1 TBSP instant yeast (this is a very scant TBSP)
3 TBSP honey or agave nectar
2 TBSP olive oil
1/4 cup ground flaxseed (whole flax would work well too!)
1 tsp salt
1. In a large bowl, combine your ingredients. Using a large wooden spoon or the paddle attachment on your stand mixer, mix until ingredients are incorporated. Knead dough on a floured surface or use the dough hook on your stand mixer. Knead dough for 5-8 minutes or until smooth and elastic.
2. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for an hour or until doubled in size. Punch dough and divide. Place one half of dough on a lightly floured surface, roll into a rectangle, and cut into eight equal strips. Taking one strip at a time, roll between hands and then twist to form bread sticks. Repeat with remaining strips and second half of dough.
3. Place bread sticks on a greased cookie sheet, cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel and allow to rise for 40 minutes.
4. Bake twists in a preheated, 350 degree oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Anecdotes and Apple Cores
PS. I love you Daddy. To me, you hung the moon.