Only one recipe here. This is a tribute more than anything.
Perhaps the most valuable lesson I learned from John was not to give a damn what anyone thought and have a damn good time doing it. He had a knack for cooking some insane food, some simplistic and cheap that got us through some hard times yet ended up being great ("You can't get a better bowl of Glop for a Nickel", he would say), while some was complicated and just as great, and he had a talent for a good time no matter where he was or what he was doing. I hear that he had a Hell of a voice at one time and was a fine steel guitar player in his day but I know him as a hard working Dude that didn't feed you a stack of pancakes, he fed you one...and it was a big as the frying pan in which he made it.
Once, long ago and knowing his culinary prowess was keen, I thought I would throw him a curve and toss a recipe at him that I had just learned and see what he thought. I was living in Western N.C. and a guy I worked with introduced me to Kilt Lettuce. I told J.D. about it as I thought I was handing him something he had never heard of....
About 2 cups Iceberg Lettuce (this is about the only time I will suggest Iceberg. Mark it on your calendar)
1/4 Sweet Onion, Finely diced
2-3 strips bacon, fried and finely chopped
1/2-1 tsp sugar
6-8 Tablespoons seriously hot bacon fat (Mmm, fat)
Cut the lettuce into 1 inch squares (roughly) and set side. Saute onions in bacon fat on high for about 2-3 minutes on high heat. Turn off heat and stir in the sugar for just a moment and then pour over lettuce. Crumble bacon into bits, add, toss, and serve warm or cold.
I presented this recipe to J.D. and he tells me "Thats not right. You have to throw some radishes in there", which told me he had obviously done this before. By the way, he was right, so if you're using this recipe, don't forget them. I'm not sure what I was thinking when I assumed I would pull one over on him but I failed to remember that this was the guy that put an electric frying pan in the middle of the dining room table filled with hot oil next to a platter of raw beef cut into 1 in. cubes and a slew of bamboo skewers. There were condiments, herbs, and spices so that you might deep fry your own chunk of meat to your liking and dress it as you please. That was probably the first time I thought about creativity with food. Even though I had seen it a thousand times throughout my youth, I had never paid attention to what he did.
However, as I went on through life, discovered my passion for food and preparing food, I realized that J.D., My Dad, was the guy that shaped everything about what I do and why I do it. Oddly enough, we didn't get along for quite some time. But, as time wound on, I began to realize that there were two reasons for this. Either he was a bastard to get along with...or we both were. Turns out, it's the later and I realize that Hash-Slingin' Ol' Fart ain't half bad.
For every recipe I've posted here, for every meal I've served you, for every bit of advice I've given out, you need to thank John. He set me on this path and showed me how to do it right,
More than ever, hang with your Dad, and.....
Party Well, Eat Better. J.D. would, did, and does.