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Father often knew best in the kitchen

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Moms aren't the only ones who influence kids' cooking skills. Here are some fatherly food memories from local cooks:

"When my dad was a young man, he worked as a fry cook at a diner and learned to make amazing omelets. The ingredients are simple: eggs (either two or three, depending on the appetite), a tablespoon of water and six drops of Tabasco sauce. They are poured thin on a griddle, scrambled gently only until set, then covered with cheese. When the egg mixture is just done, they are rolled up jelly-roll style and served long. There is just something magical about the way he makes his omelets that just can't be duplicated.

"Serving these omelets on Christmas morning is a tradition that has existed as long as I can recall, even now that my dad is 83. They are the most-requested last meal by my nephews before entering the Missionary Training Center to serve an LDS mission, or heading off to boot camp for the Marines.

"My father loves good food, and I learned that when you make food that everyone likes, the family will gather and memories will be made." — Kim Warren, author of "Family Comfort Favorites" (KW Press), and host of KJZZ-TV's "The Home Team"

"Going on my first backpacking trip as a Boy Scout, my dad was our Scoutmaster and wanted to instill a sense of independence. We were responsible for planning our own menus, obtaining the food and cooking it with the equipment we provided for ourselves. As a patrol, we decided we would do pigs in a blanket over an open fire, because we didn't want to carry a backpacking stove.

"After about an hour we finally got the fire to where we wanted it (way too big). Impaling a hot dog on a stick, we wrapped the dough around it and held it over the flames. It ignited immediately, charring the outside and leaving the wiener cold. We ate it anyway. The second attempts were about as successful.

"Then we noticed my dad and the other leader eating a feast: homemade beef stew, French bread baked in a cast-iron frying pan and peach cobbler. I don't know if it was then or after we had eaten their leftovers and were washing their dishes for payment that I decided I was going to learn how to cook and cook well.

"The next trip was a well-thought out and executed meal. Within a year my troop was feeding our leftovers to other boys and getting our dishes done as payment.

"My dad's voice is still in my head: 'Don't sleep where the worms sleep and never, never eat what the worms eat.' His passion for good food and a perfect French omelet definitely headed me in to a culinary career. Cooking for him was one of my greatest joys." — Joseph Davis, executive chef, Baxter's American Restaurant

"My father never cooked for himself until my mother died. I'm sure you will shudder to think that his favorite meal at age 97 is still Steak and Cow Heel Pie. You buy the cow heel processed (I'm not sure how) covered in jelly (not Jell-O) and you put it into the casserole dish with the steak to braise in the oven. All the marrow comes out of the bone and leaves your lips sticking together with the glue." — Carol Medworth, cooking coordinator and producer of "Good Things Utah"

"My dad would make these fancy cakes for our birthdays, sometimes with three layers. Sometimes we didn't eat all of it, so to get us to eat it all, he would hide nickels and quarters in it." — Londa Davis, caterer

"My dad was a bit quirky. He was a health nut before it was cool. He really appreciated all kinds of good food and instilled that in me, too. He loved to find the freshest ingredients possible. I never saw him use anything from a can, unless it was something he could not get any other way. Literally it could be bee knees to caviar.

"My father was raised in San Francisco, and as I was growing up he kept an apartment there. I remember my sister and I being dragged through Chinatown with the chickens hanging in the windows. He would take us through an alley and into a back door of a restaurant where no one spoke English, and everyone was using chop sticks and slurping out of bowls.

"He would order, and when it came, we knew there would be no 'I don't like it,' because you never knew when you would eat again. At the same time he would take us to some of the nicest restaurants in San Francisco. This made me appreciate all kinds of food, from the simplest to the most complex." — Cathie Mooers, culinary director, Kimball Distributing

"It was always a treat on Saturday mornings to wake up to the smell of my father's whole-wheat pancakes. We didn't have a lot of money growing up, and my parents had a very large family. I am the youngest of 17 children, all from the same mother and father. So things were a little tight around the house at times, but my Dad always could afford to make his special homemade pancakes. We would always have fresh blueberries from my aunt's farm in Oregon, and that fresh blueberry syrup with those fantastic homemade whole-wheat pancakes was the best! — John Hair, owner, John & Jennie's Bosch Kitchen Center

"The food that always comes to mind when I think of my father is butterflied leg of lamb. He lived in the foothills of the Ruby Mountains in the beautiful town of Lamoille, Nev. Most of his neighbors were Basques, whose families moved from Spain to this valley to ranch sheep over hundred years prior.

"My husband and I would travel to Lamoille from Salt Lake City almost every weekend to hike or ski. My father would begin marinating his lamb on Saturday morning, and we would feast on Sunday. Exhausted after overeating, we would go to bed early and wake around 4 a.m. for the 3 1/2-hour drive home. While crossing the Salt Flats, our minds would wander back to the backyard with Thorpe Creek babbling by the looming Ruby peaks and that wonderful aroma of roasted garlic, herbs and lamb seeping out from under the top of the Weber Grill.

"Garlic, being a Basque staple, was the most important ingredient. He would rub the butterfied leg with olive oil (fat side down), slice up cloves of garlic and spike the leg about every square inch. Next, he would rub (or spread) the leg with a chopped garlic,. fresh rosemary, olive oil and salt mixture. Then he'd sprinkle it with a little ground cumin. He would add 2 cups of red wine, preferably a Rioja, to the marinating pan and gently baste it for almost two days. After years of testing, I have added two other secret ingredients: a light sprinkle of real maple syrup and aged balsamic vinegar. (Due to this, the red wine can be omitted if preferred. Just cover with plastic wrap and don't worry about marinating with a liquid.)

"My father always cooked on a Weber grill with a medium/hot coal fire until medium rare. (about 40-45 minutes). He'd let it rest for 10 minutes, slice, and the feast would begin. My husband and I have a Weber gas grill, and it's just as wonderful cooked over gas. — Julie Wilson, Deer Valley food and beverage director

"My love for cooking has to do with growing up around good food. My father would cook stroganoff from scratch, with beef strips cut from steaks not hamburger. Very good! When company came over, we often would have avocado milkshakes. It's a traditional Brazilian dessert, my father having spent two years on a LDS mission there. Most people, afraid, would ask for a small amount and would always end up asking for more. The avocado adds a creaminess, if you can believe it." — Kent Teichert, manager, For Your Kitchen store, Newgate Mall

"Since we spent our early married years in the Pacific Northwest, we loved to return there often and enjoy a big bowl of salmon chowder. I invented a recipe just like our favorite, and my husband, Roy, requested it at least once a week. He grew up in Bear Lake, and his mother was not a real creative cook, so they lived mostly on fried meat and fried potatoes. When he married this German cook, he soon learned to love sauerkraut, red cabbage and apple dumplings. But I could never convince him to like pickled herring. He said I couldn't kiss him for a week after I ate it. I appreciated him so much for being so willing to try all the recipes I enjoyed experimenting with." — Beverly Nye, author of "Year 'Round Sunshine"


Lemon slice

8 ounce salmon filet

4 diced little red new potatoes, unpeeled

3/4 cup diced onion

1 1/2 cups chopped celery

1 stick butter

1/2 cup flour

2 cups milk

2 cups half and half

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

3/4 cup frozen peas

2 tablespoons fresh dill weed

2 teaspoons (or more) Old Bay seasoning

2 teaspoons vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

In a saucepan of water and 1 lemon slice, poach salmon filet for 10 minutes. Set salmon aside. In a large pan, combine potatoes, onion and celery. Barely cover with water and simmer until tender.

Meanwhile, in a small sauce pan, melt butter. Stir in flour. Then add milk, half and half, salt and sugar. Cook until thickened and add to cooked vegetables and liquid in pan. Flake salmon and add to pan, along with peas, dill weed, Old Bay seasoning, vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste.