Dinner Guest: My dad makes the best…


By Annette Crowell

Annette Crowell

“My dad makes the best…”

That’s a difficult sentence to finish.

To understand, you must know that my dad is a great cook. Growing up, he was always the cook in our house. Mom stuck to cheesecakes after her split pea soup and Teflon-coated French toast missteps.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day they say. Well, my dad always whipped up something delicious, especially on the weekends. I have memories of buckwheat pancakes, CoCo Wheats, biscuits and gravy, fried mush and bacon — lots of bacon!

keith grillingDad’s best breakfast is definitely made while camping. My brother, Jon, and I refer to it simply as “the camping breakfast.” A scramble of eggs with sausage or bacon, potatoes and cheese, it always tasted just a little bit better at the lake.

Another one of my dad’s specialties is fish. Dad loves to fish. I remember going fishing with him at the pond behind our house all the time, Jon and I competing to see who could catch the most bluegill and bass. Dad was always there to help take the fish off the hook. At 26, I have to admit I still can’t do it.

Up at Pymatuning Lake, in Ashtabula County, Ohio, walleye is what he fishes for — and sometimes he even gets one! Freshly caught and filleted, it’s always tasty. He comes up with different batters and coatings all the time, but my favorite is probably his Cajun version, seasoned with a little Tony Chachere’s.keith fishing

Growing up, Dad would have me help him cook dinner, since he got off work before Mom. Spaghetti, beef stew, homemade potato soup, steak salads, I could go on and on. It always seemed like he could make anything and never needed a recipe! His mom, my grandma, was also a fabulous cook, so I’m sure he got his cooking talents honestly.

I might have complained a bit about the dishwashing part, but I loved my little cooking lessons and I love to cook today.

I’m still not sure if I ever completed the sentence that I started off with. So, let’s just say my dad makes the best everything.

Thanks Dad and Happy Father’s Day to all the grill masters out there.

If you want to cook like my dad, try whipping up a batch of these gingersnaps. They’re my favorite cookie that he makes from my Grandma Crowell’s recipe —  just try not to eat them all in one sitting!

* * *

(Annette Crowell is the daughter of Farm and Dairy editor Susan Crowell, and her husband Keith. An elementary school teacher in Columbus, she is currently completing work on her master’s degree in school counseling, and whipping up things in the kitchen.)


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  1. Um, can I say in my defense, that when you were growing up, your Dad always got home a lot earlier than I did. But, yeah, I’m a pretty horrible cook. And he is not. (Praise the Lord!)

  2. What a fabulous article!! Your dad is very special. He can come up and cook for me anytime in Nova Scotia, and come down to SC to fry the next Thanksgiving turkey as he did last year. Happy Father’s Day Keith!

  3. What a great article!! You have lots of great cooks in your family! I still remember my initiation to cinnamon-sugar toast, while visiting your Mom’s family for a mini summer vacation. Mmmmmmm. So sweet; soo crunchy! I loved coming there, as there was always so much going on. Your Grandma Miller (my Aunt Mim) baking cookies, Uncle Don milking cows, ice cream making….I could go on. And don’t forget Grandma (your Great Grandma) Stingel’s famous Date Nut Pudding at Christmas. I believe your Mom and her siblings chatted over that memory;-) Thank you for sharing your memories!


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