|photo by L. Gatto-White|
A peculiar phenomenon of the mid 50’s-60’s was the ‘Single Father’ sitcom (yes kids, we had t.v. back then; where do you think the Gilligan’s
Island reruns come from?).
The earliest show featured a granite-jawed hunk, Chuck Connors as The Rifleman, a young widower trying to raise his tow-headed tot, Mark, while fighting-off evil-doers and man-hungry spinsters, every week! Chuck may have had the rifle, but every single woman this side ‘o the
was gunnin’ fer ‘im. I think the young widower/father angle was supposed to lend the character a certain gravitas and vulnerability which certainly set my 10 year-old heart aflutter. Rio Grande
Then, there was veteran C.B.C. radio broadcaster, Lorne Green, as Pa Cartwright in Ponderosa/Bonanza, depending on whether you saw it in rerun or not. Pa Cartwright was the apogee of widowers, with three deceased wives and a son from each. In any other place but Sitcomville would a man see so many wives off in rapid succession without being held for questioning while forensics dug-up the ranch. No wonder he never managed to remarry; even the most desperate spinster would give pause. He wasn’t called ‘the voice of doom’ for nothing you know.
Meanwhile, back in Presentville we have a new phenomenon of our own called Start Over Dads, or S.O.D.s , as some call themselves. S.O.Ds are gentlemen of a later vintage who become fathers, some as late as 77, and often for the third or fourth time, like Mick Jagger , who apparently takes his lyrics, “start me up and never stop” literally. Mick, please stop.
Whether you are a New Dad, a Start Over Dad, a Single Dad or an Old Hand, I hope your family makes and enjoys this meal together in celebration of you. Happy Father’s Day!
I chose ribs to honour Adam, from whose rib Eve was born, making him at once the first husband and single parent, until the dysfunctional Cain and ‘momma’s boy’ Abel were born, and of course, before Eve had that embarrassing entanglement with the snake which lost the family all their real estate holdings, taking them from riches to fig leaves. Hey! I think there’s a sitcom in this.
· 3 lbs. pork back ribs
· ¼ cup whole grain prepared mustard
· 2 tbs. Worcestershire sauce
· 1 ½ tbs. Montréal steak spice
· 3 cloves crushed garlic
· 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
· 1tbs. P.C. Timid Jerk Sauce
· remove tough skin from back of ribs (with a sharp knife, scrape-up a corner, then pull )
· whisk rest of ingredients together in a bowl, place ribs in a baking dish and smear all-over with half the mixture, cover and marinate in refrigerator for at least 30 mins.
· preheat oven to 400, if barbecuing- warm grill on high
· bring ribs to room temperature
· to roast: place ribs on a rack in a roasting pan, add 1 cup warm water to pan, place on upper rack , roast for approx. 45 mins., turn twice, basting with reserved marinade at 20 min. intervals, remove from oven to a warmed serving platter, cover to rest for 10 mins. before serving
· to barbeque: brown both sides of ribs on lower rack, transfer ribs to higher rack to one side, turn grill off beneath that side, leaving opposite side grill on. Reduce heat to medium.
· Proceed as for roasting.
Sweet Potato Frits
· ¾ tsp coarse salt
· 1 tsp. cumin seeds
· ½ tsp. coarse-ground black pepper
· 1 cup grated parmesan
· ½ cup all-purpose flour
· 2 egg whites lightly beaten
· 3 sweet potatoes, scrubbed & each cut into 8 wedges lengthwise
· preheat oven to 425, line a baking sheet with parchment or foil
· combine first 4 ingredients in a bowl
· put flour in a large baggie
· place a few potatoes at a time in the bag, shake to coat evenly
· dip into lightly beaten egg whites, drain-off extra
· place skin side down on prepared sheet and sprinkle with cheese mixture
· bake on upper rack for approx. 20 mins., until tender, crisp & lightly browned