Sunday, June 28, 2015

Recipes for the best

Last week I made pasties for dinner. I know, the name makes everyone go, "huh?" It's a traditional Scandenavian dish, handed down from my dad's parents. It's simple, really, but quickly became the favorite food of almost everyone in my family, especially my dad. It was the most-oft requested dish for birthdays and other special meals.

It's not nice to post pictures of food without sharing the recipe, so here you go:


Inside each pie crust:
1/4 lb ground beef
1/2 cup diced carrots (quite small)
3/4 cup cubed potatoes (larger)
1/4 cup diced onion (optional)
salt and pepper

Put in half of the potatoes, salt, half of carrots, salt, half of meat, salt, pepper, then repeat. Finally sprinkle on onions. Close crust (1/2 of pie) Crimp. Prick. Bake at 350* for 1 hour.


We like to eat ours with a generous helping of ketchup. Some do without, but most end up using it. :) And the onions? While I was known to pick them out with a magnifying glass in my teen years if they happened to be put in my pasty (yes, you make one half pie for each person!), now I can't imagine them without the extra flavor they provide. Yes, your taste buds do grow up...

Pasties always make me think of my dad. While they're a favorite food of many of my siblings and me too, when we made them we were almost always doing it especially for dad. Nothing like meat and potatoes to make a man happy. :) And to my delight, from his first introduction to them, they became one of my husband's favorite foods too, so now when I make them I get to imagine his delight upon seeing/smelling them when he comes through the door.

It made me remember how, when I was single, I used to joke that if my husband was like my dad and brother, I'd be happy. I never realized how much God would grant that wish - from Ryan living with my brother Elijah for two years and reminding me of him in so many ways or in something he says that at times I've accidentally called Ryan "Elijah" - to the personalities and interests he shares with my dad. Now, of course there are plenty of differences, and Ryan is uniquely Ryan in the most wonderful ways - but for purposes of this post, I'll zoom in on the similarities between dad and him.

And yes, it goes far beyond the red beard, though I had not a few people tease me that I the guy I was falling in love with even looked like my dad, with his then full and red beard! It didn't hurt that he was tall like my dad too!

I can thank my dad for helping connect Ryan and I. For those of you who don't know our story, we met at my brother Elijah's wedding, Ryan, a groomsman paired with me, a bridesmaid. And my dad made sure he spent time talking to Ryan, innocently saying it was just because he'd never met him out of Elijah's housemates, but he also conveniently mentioned to the theology-buff Ryan that his daughter Anna had read Grudem's Systematic Theology through twice! Though we'd already caught each other's eyes, that piece of info definitely helped in the catalyst that made Ryan pursue me across the miles.

It's fun hearing my dad and Ryan eagerly discuss theology and various thick books. My dad came to the practice of buying multitudes of good, reformed theology books a little later than Ryan, so it made me smile when he eagerly told Ryan over skype about one he'd recently gotten, only to have Ryan already have knowledge of it. My dad told him "My goal is to one day find a theology book you haven't read!"

I admire that in both my dad and my husband: they desire to be grounded in the truth, and will put time and resources into building a good library and reading good books. They have both blessed me and helped me grow in the Lord through conversations and through reading some of the books with my husband.

They love the Lord first, and that shows. It guides their life, informs their decisions, and makes them good husbands, fathers, and employees, and friends. Knowing them encourages me to know Christ more.

I also admire the way they research and get things for a good value. From cameras to computers to cars, I've seen both of them spend hours and even days looking at the various models, comparing capabilities and prices, and finding the best deal for something that will last. They've definitely helped me make good buys since I'm usually tempted to go with whatever is the least expensive, and tire if I spend more than an hour comparing things.

Their researching strengths expand into other areas, too. From my dad's ability to look through multiple doctor-ese websites and send me helpful links to whatever medical question I have to Ryan's ability to sift through news articles and blogs to make an informed decision on current events, I reap the benefit of their research!

I am also blessed by their mild manners. I have never seen my dad or Ryan lose his temper. Never. Sure, I've seen them get irritated, but they are wise men and know how to keep themselves under control. Never have they shouted at me, never have I felt afraid around them, and never have I seen them intimidate others in that way.

They are good leaders, too. It has always been easy for me to trust their leadership, probably due in large part to how they lead gently and with understanding, not with force. Both of them always value my opinion too, and take time to listen to it, talk through things with me, and explain their reasoning too. I'm sure it's partly why I've never had an issue with the headship/submission model in Scripture, when my dad and my husband both lead and love as Christ loves the church.

They know how to laugh too. To this day I love watching certain movies with my dad because of how I love to hear his laugh, and Ryan's quick and genuine laugh was one of the first things I noticed about him. Life is so much easier when you live with someone who doesn't take things too seriously, and who makes you laugh and lighten up too.

They don't complain either. "Long-suffering" describes them both well, as I've seen them first-hand walk through trying and painful things. They inspire me.

And I can't forget the carrots. I can't remember a time my dad didn't eat a whole, large raw carrot a day. So when my new husband wanted snacks for work, I started packing him a whole carrot. Though he now prefers his sliced, he still eats the whole thing each day, and misses it on the days we're out of them. I'm sure it contributes to them both being quite healthy! :)

They're both always ready for a good time, too. From camping to strategy board games, they enjoy similar things. And they're both willing to dance with me, from dad good-naturedly dancing with me for ballet recital dad & daughter dances TWICE to Ryan taking ballroom dance lessons while we were courting because he knew the girl he was going after had dancing a big part of her life.

I was so blessed to have a dad who spent most of his free time with his family. He was involved in our lives, taking us on memory-making long car trips, semi-annual camping trips, always there for our sports games or recitals, and there pretty much every evening to play a game or watch a movie or go for a walk... He was available, not off pursuing his own hobbies. I see the same in Ryan, as he makes it a priority to be home for meals, to spend time as a family after supper, and to really know Hadassah, doing crazy, exhausting things to make her laugh.

I could keep thinking of things for paragraphs more, but those are the qualities that first come to mind. Although Father's day is past - and I meant to write this post way sooner - it's never not a good time to honor great dads.

So, there you have it. Recipes for the best: the best, hearty meal, and qualities of two of the best men I know.

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