Sunday, January 10, 2010

Daddy Days



Use large bar glass

One tablespoon of sugar
One Wineglass of brandy
The juice of one-quarter of a lemon

Fill the tumbler with shaved ice, shake well, ornament with one or two slices of lemon, and flavor with a few drops of vanilla extract.

This is a delicious drink, and should be imbibed through a glass tube or straw.

*  *  *

Friday is Daddy Day, which means I've got my daughters until Karen comes home from work and we're back deploying a two-on-two formation.  I love Daddy Days because I get to be the focus.  I realize that when Karen's around, she's #1.  There's nothing easier to keep an ego in check than to have a two-year-old burst out crying when she sees that it's you entering her bedroom in the dark of morning and not the favored parent.

Or when you say, "Ok, kids, I've got to go to work," and they respond, quick and easy, "Close the door behind you."

It's like when, more than five years ago now - our oldest was still a newborn.  Karen asked me one of those questions.  You know the kind.  It's not like you're being tested, but you are, and it's not like anything hinges on the answer, but lots does.  So Karen's holding our daughter, and she looks up all kind of misty-eyed - new moms can do this look really well - and Karen asks, as she looks back down at our slumbering daughter, all wrapped in pink, "Do you love her more than you love me?"

I thought my answer was ok, especially since the question came out of the blue, or the pink, I guess - and I answered that my love for our daughter was a different kind of love than what I felt for her, and so it wasn't possible to really compare them.

Karen laughed and said "Really?  Because I love Elizabeth more than you."

And yes, yes, there was laughter in Karen's voice.  But truth, too.  My girls, all my girls, have something special going on.  I get that, and it's ok.  To hear my daughters chant "Mommy's home, Mommy's home," as Karen walks into the house after her workday, to hear the girls yell out "Mommy rocks" after Karen comes up with some delightful project to get our daughters happy and occupied - can you say biscuits cut out with our Christmas cookie-cutters? - makes playing second fiddle sound terrific.

After all, Karen has to deal with having three Tauruses in her house, all against her lonely Capricorn, so I've got that.

Anyway, Daddy Days are great, with Music Class and walks to count cats and detours to the bagel shop - but they can be tiring.  People who raise kids by themselves, without a partner?  I have no idea how they do that.  If a Daddy Day turns out to be long, and after almost six years, sure, we've had some long ones, but if that happens - just the knowledge that Karen is going to be coming through that door at some point, that's often all the support I need.

That and the fact that a good, stiff belt may follow soon after.

This last Daddy Day was a good one.  Our youngest got to watch the painters outside for long stretches.  "Pepito.  Pepito.  Over here," she'd call, trying to get the attention of one of the men outside.  And then big fun was had at the Nob Hill picking up sandwiches for the guys, the lady in the deli asking if she could have my daughter's pink, fluffy coat.

But then the other aspect of the day was trying to figure out how to use the lemons that Maria had given us, winter lemons fresh from her tree.  The Professor answered the question, with Recipe 16, above.  The only problem was that while I had the lemons waiting to be squeezed, I didn't have brandy.

Ah well, make do with what you have, yes?  And since I'm Greek, I had plenty of Metaxa.  Metaxa would be a little sweeter than brandy, but easy enough to cut down a bit on the sugar.  I also was feeling lazy, so I didn't shake it all with ice, I just served it over.

The Professor really has it going on.  This drink is indeed delicious.  I'm not very good at describing wine with the terms that come easy to oenophiles - oak and leather and chocolate and cherry - but when you add sugar to lemon to Metaxa and drop in some vanilla, hey, even I can identify what I'm tasting.

So I mixed that up, took a sip, marveled at the meld of flavors, and placed the drink on the coaster from the set that my good friend Jenn bought me years ago.  I have seven coasters to choose from - the Whiskey Sour one is broken or lost - but I always use the Side Car coaster.  And drinks taste better in crystal, they just do, ok?  So I placed my Vanilla Punch, cold in crystal, on Jenn's coaster, savored the flavors - the lemon chasing the Metaxa chasing the sugar, with vanilla slipping in and out.

Thanks, Professor.  A fine end to a Daddy Day.

ps.  Jenn's coasters come with the recipes:

3/4 oz. brandy
1/2 oz. lemon juice
3/4 oz. cointreau

shake with cracked ice
strain into glass rimmed with coarse granulated sugar


  1. I'm going to try that Vanilla Punch tonight. Is that the Jenn from Team New Jersey, btw?

  2. One and the same!

    If you try the Punch, a couple teaspoons of sugar should suffice, and one or two shots of brandy. Per.

  3. Okay, that's the. best. drink. EVAIR! I could see having that as an after-the-kids-are-in-bed drink a couple of times a week or more. The first sip is good; the third through the end are sublime.