Upon hearing that my job would be moving to Raleigh, NC, the first thing I did was Google “restaurants in Raleigh.” I blame my father for this behavior.
While I credit my mother for my love of raw oysters, my dad is the one who always had meals on his mind. Even when his health started to decline, whenever I called Daddy, he asked me the same three questions:
How’s Lola? (my pug dog)
How’s your other Lola? (my husband)
What y’all been eating good?
He loved to hear about different restaurants I tried or food my husband cooked for me.
It’s not that he was a “foodie.” Daddy wasn’t the kind of person who scoured back street neighborhoods looking for the best bowl of pho. (I’m sure if he ever tried pho he would’ve said “That was good soup. What’s for dinner?”) But Daddy loved food the way only a native New Orleanian born to Italian immigrants can.
He knew his way around meats and cheeses better than anyone. Sandwiches were his specialty. I didn’t realize how fortunate I was to have grown up with such a deli expert until a few years ago when I met a man who had never heard of Havarti cheese. This was a guy who had lived in New York, a city with world-famous delis, and he had somehow managed to completely miss out on Havarti. It confounds me to this day.
So while my coworkers were looking up Raleigh real estate prices, I was reading reviews of a Peruvian restaurant.
Did I mention my dad worked as a real estate appraiser? That career came after running a local grocery store. In a way, I think those were the two most perfect fields for Daddy to work.
Shortly after I bought my house in Florida, Daddy asked me questions about its size, construction and affordability. He was concerned about my comfort level both physically and financially. (This discussion came after we discussed my most recent meal, of course.)
A few years ago, when my parents visited for my 30th birthday party, I was worried that Daddy wouldn’t enjoy himself because he didn’t know many people. But my mother reminded me, “As long as he’s got good food and a comfortable seat, he’s happy.”
The older I get, the more I realize that I have the same priorities. I’ve verified there’s good food in Raleigh. I’m still working on the comfortable seat.