My Father’s Secrets

‘Come on! Smash it again! Do it harder!’

This is what my father heard when he arrived at his new fraternity house, where he was going to live while studying for his bachelor’s degree. 

He went to the backyard to find four blokes trying to get the pasta out of the pressure cooker after leaving it cooking for a long time.

To be the eternal hero of the house and to be protected above everyone else, it took him only one phrase:

‘I can cook.’

And he truly does like a master! I love the story of how he was inspired into learning.

It was one of his first fishing trips without his mom, with all the mates camping next to a river. He arrived to find his cousin holding a pot of boiling water, over the camping fire, while his uncle holding the 5k bag of rice pouring the grains directly into the water. Even being only a teen he knew one thing:

‘This is not how my mom cooks rice!’

They made an agreement with the troupe in the tent next door to clean fish and all they needed and be their slaves for the rest of the trip if they cooked for them, and that’s how they ate that week.

That was when he decided to learn how to cook and survive anywhere. During Uni he cooked everything, his only rule was that any strange meat had to be dead and clean! 

He never questioned the origin of the meat or the talking about missing cats, chickens and ducks in the neighbourhood. 

The downside was sometimes to be awaken at three am by a bunch of hungry guys whose sobriety was highly questionable. 

From my dad I learned most of my secrets. My sister and I cook as he does: no recipes, using all the leftovers in the fridge, creating food out of thin air in fifteen minutes. 

That is the result of countless Friday nights seated while he pampered us with delicious food as well as from family meetings and weekend’s lunches and dinners.

We learned from him a lot of other things like the power of common sense, how to enjoy life, how to be calm and rational in difficult situations. 

He passed to us the best Guardian Angels on Earth and Heaven. Dad is the kind that gets his Angel to send a mechanic, in the middle of nowhere when the car breaks down. 

I also learnt with him how to live happily every day. What I didn’t really learn was a secret he keeps from his time at the Uni. Once he started telling me some story but finished mid sentence:

‘Youngsters are naughty, some of the things that I’ve done…’

I’ve been trying to get the full story out of him for years but all I get is him to blush, start laughing and playing “mute”. He doesn’t say a word. I think I will never get this secret out of him!

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