Entenmann’s & Dad: Part 1, from memory to realistic fiction

Though sudden, it didn’t feel traumatic when my father died a few years back. He was in his 80’s and, well, it seemed about right. He went the way he wanted to go, puttering around in the yard. Then gone. I had the honor of giving the eulogy.

I find that I miss him more than I expected. Or, no, that’s not quite it. I find that I miss him more, now, and that’s not what I expected. I figured that the pain, or loss, would lesson over time. I’d get used to it. Dad’s gone. Okay.

And it is okay — but I keep thinking about him, remembering things, expressions he used, his odd habits. The memories have gotten sharper, more frequent. I do what I can to keep them coming. And I cling to them.

Growing up, my mother did not drive. Unusual, yes, but I simply saw her as a rare lady who did not drive a car. The roads were safer, I was sure. So my father always did the grocery shopping. And he did it with flair; he had a sweet tooth and made poor nutritional choices, week after week, year after year. Soda, peanut butter cups, sugary cereals!

Because of that, I can’t wheel past a supermarket display of Entenmann’s breakfast cakes without thinking of him. Dad was a sucker for Entenmann’s. I guess I inherited my father’s sweet tooth.

I submit to you: the raspberry danish . . .

. . . as constructed by the friendly folks at Entenmann’s.

These days, my wife Lisa is all about local produce, organic this, free range that, healthy choices, blah blah blah. I get it. She’s smart, she’s good to us, she’s doing the right thing.

Infrequently, I do the shopping. The way these things work, of course, is that I’ve become my father. I’m dad pushing the cart. I eye that Entenmann’s display and ask myself, WWDD? What Would Dad Do? So I toss that raspberry danish into the cart and roll on, pleased, full of good cheer. It drives Lisa a little crazy, how I undermine her best efforts. The kids don’t seem to mind. Mostly, it’s just a dance we do. When dad goes shopping, everybody knows he’s going to come home with a couple of things mom would never buy. It’s not really about Lisa, or me, or even the kids. It’s about my father, and keeping some things — even the silly stuff that seems to have no meaning at all — alive in our hearts and our kitchens and even our books.

And honestly, the danish is delicious.

CLICK HERE FOR PART 2, WHEN I SHARE HOW I USED THESE MEMORIES IN JIGSAW JONES #28: THE CASE OF THE FOOD FIGHT.

4 comments

  1. I love the connection between memory and food. Keeping your father around through the occasional Entenmann’s is a beautiful thing. But don’t tell Lisa I said so!
    My own grandmother used to make a mean peanut butter, honey and iceberg lettuce sandwich on the whitest bread around. It was served with soda pop (for me) and cold beer (for her.) I haven’t had one of those in years. Reading about your Dad and the danish makes me think it’s time to pass the peanut-butter-lettuce-soda tradition on to my own kids. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Christine Dunne Romano says:

    I have such fond memories of your Dad. He so often drove us to school in the dead of winter. I remember driving with the window covered in ice and him trying his hardest to see out of the smallest opening made by the defroster. It was a big station wagon and a bunch of us always piled in, most of the passengers being Prellers. He never was grumpy, told us corny jokes, and was happy to be with his kids(and some of their friends). A great man and how wonderful to remember him…thanks !!

  3. Jimmy says:

    Caroline, sounds bloggable! Or maybe there’s a way to update the recipe.

    Chris, that was kind of you to write. Thanks.

  4. You got a way with words, Mr. P. Very sweet homage.

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