Traits From Dad

06 . 21 . 11

Although we would like to believe that many of our better qualities have been independently developed through time, growth, and experience; I think that our parent’s unconscious role-modeling profoundly influences (for better or worse) how we decide to live out our own lives. From the day we enter the world we are watching, observing, and absorbing information from our surroundings and constructing our own sense of self and character. The in-between moments, the day-to-day transactions and behaviors of our closest human contacts, our parents, were (and for many of us, still are) making a mark on our own disposition and decision making.

This can be a scary thought for parents and adult children alike. No, you are not your mother or father. But his and/or her tremendous qualities and frustrating blind-spots have forced a response to change or emulate. The older I get, the more realizations I have about how my behaviors have been shaped by family. In lieu of Sunday’s passed celebration of Dads, here is my public thank you to my own, whose traits I am happy to share.

Dad, I’m so glad you’ve rubbed off on me over the past twenty-one plus years. Your love, encouragement, and support have meant more than words can truly express. Thank you for consistently modeling patience, leadership, and how to ride the waves of change as they come in and out of life. You’ve helped shape me to be a fearless opportunity seeker,  showed me how (and how not) to work with challenging colleagues, and at the end of the day laugh it all off over a game of Liars Dice and an oatmeal rasin cookie. When my handwriting gets wonky I practice the curly-cue technique, and I always lean forward and try to “chi it” while running downhill. And like you, I also receive great satisfaction from fixing things, getting my hands dirty, and being the first one up in the morning.

But seriously, Dad. You’ve been a role model through your intentions and actions, but also by just being yourself. Without trying, your fearless and adventurous nature has helped fuel my own fire for travel and exploration in the world. As a child, watching you pack on a dime and jet around Asia, Europe, and South America for work encouraged me to not fear the diversity and grandiosity of the planet, but to take it by the reigns. You planted a seed, without knowing it perhaps, that would later grow into a confidence* that I was meant to travel and explore without fear. Thank you for sharing this quality with me. In every sense of the phrase, it has given me the world.

* … so, looks like really it was your fault that I trekked Vietnam by myself (wink wink)

Happy Father’s Day, Dad. I’m proud to be your girl.

My dad loves pea soup. I can’t say I’ve ever been a fan, but then again I’ve only encountered it in shades of grey thanks to my grandma’s copious post-Easter ham bone batches. Time for a remodel. I used a homemade mineral and marrow broth as the base, and added fresh spring peas from the market, a squeeze of lemon, garlic, and a little salt and pepper to make this a bright and nutritious alternative. Don’t hesitate to use quality, grass-fed animal bones in your broth, take note from Rebecca Katz: “Beef bones are filled with collagen and minerals the body uses to build connective tissues, such as calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus,” making them ideal substances to expedite the natural healing process from a range of abuses from exercise to chemotherapy.  This recipe can be easily made vegetarian, omit the bones, but increase healthy fats with more olive oil when sautéing the peas or adding avocado while blending.

Pea Soup, featuring Mineral and Marrow Broth adapted from Rebecca Katz

Ingredients

  • 1 large beef shank with bone and marrow
  • 1 large stalk of celery,
  • 6 large carrots
  • 2-3 sweet onions
  • 3-4 red potatoes
  • 1 large head of fennel
  • 1 bunch of Italian parsley
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 1 strip of kombu seaweed
  • 2 Tbs juniper berries
  • 1 Tbs peppercorns
  • 1-2 bay leaves

Roughly chop all ingredients, leaving on the peels and skins. In a large stockpot, combine all ingredients. Fill the pot to two inches below the rim with water, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, remove lid, and let simmer for 2-3 hours. The longer the simmer, the more flavor and minerals the broth will develop. As water evaporates, add about two cups, and allow to simmer for another hour.

Strain stock into a large bowl or glass storage container using a large colander – it would be helpful to have an extra set of hands, as the transitions are heavy and quite hot!

As the broth rests, prepare:

  • 3-4 cups of fresh peas, shelled from the pod (frozen is okay too)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt/pepper
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 lemon

In a small saucepan simmer garlic and olive oil for a minute over medium heat before adding the peas. Stir until just tender and still bright green. Add a Tsp of salt (or Herbamere) and pepper at the last moment. In a blender, combine half of the peas and 3 cups of the hot broth. Blend for 2-3 minutes until pureed. Pour into a large serving bowl straight from the blender, or through a fine mesh sieve to ditch the pulp (I’m a pulp person, but to each her own). Repeat process with the second half of the peas. Add a cup of plain broth to the mixture, then squeeze in the juice of one lemon. Take a taste test. What does it need? More salt? A little red pepper? A quick hit of apple cider vinegar? Use your gut, and serve as you like. Mark Bittman says a few crusty garlic croutons wouldn’t hurt, just sayin’.

  • What a beautiful post!! As a parent, I can’t tell you how much it means when a child looks up and smiles. Happy Father’s Day to your dad who appears to have done a wonderful job “rubbing off” on you!
    And the soup! I’m a big fan of pea soup and this one is right up my alley. Nicely done!

  • Great post! We are starting to have peas in season here and a warming soup is perfect for our cooler months!

  • Wow. sitting here with my little man strapped asleep to my front, I’m reading your loving words to your dad and hoping that my son will love and appreciate me that much in 20 years… how selfish of me! but still, I do hope…

  • Dave Brown

    For many glorious years your mom and I tried to do our part in introducing the world to you, Kels. The good, the bad… perspective… You have always been a sponge and have been amazing in how you have observed, experienced, and integrated into your life things learned along the way. You have been a gift – one that I am thankful for every day. I am indeed a rich man.

    And as it should be, we now revel in watching as the world gets introduced to you. Not that it is needed… but let me say a few things to those who now are becoming part of your extended family.

    World, meet Kelsey. Isn’t she amazing?! Rejoice that you have come upon this person of character, wit, and compassion. Already she has crossed oceans, forged trails, wandered in your gardens, and left loving footprints in her journey to come to you. She is my role model for balancing body, mind, and spirit – not just talking or reading about it as a concept, but wrestling as if it were an alligator. And the best part? She knows this process is never over.

    Embrace her curiosity; delight in the quest. As you know already, she’s an amazing writer and creative chef. Something you’ll learn is that she knows that you are better than you think you are, that ripples do grow and make a difference, that life is worth living. Celebrate the moments you have with her as I have and I do. Enjoy the brilliance and humility, the truth and beauty, the laughter, the love.

    Hold fast to this dear soul and nurture it as it does you. Take care with my grown up baby girl. Please.

    All my love, Punkin.
    Thanks for your wonderful gift.
    I’ll be by for some soup.

    Your dad

  • Your dad’s comment just brought tears to my eyes. You’re both wonderfully expressive. I’m blessed with a great father, too. I don’t know where I’d be without him.

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