The Bienko's: Part One

When my father comes to visit me in Ithaca, he always calls me before hand and we discuss our plans for the visit. It usually consists of scheduling a tee time, nailing down a hotel or sleeping arrangements, and talking about food. We both are more comfortable traveling when we have an idea of where we'll be staying, how we'll be spending our time, and what we'll be eating.

So a typical phone conversation will go something like this:
Dad: Did you get a tee time yet?
Cap'n: Yup, ten o'clock.
Dad: I called the Hotel today. Everything is all set. I figure we'll just barbeque on the grill or something once we get there.

Now, here I have to add that my wife spent two years at the number one Culinary School in the nation earning her Associates degree in Culinary Arts. She also has a Bachelors degree in Business. But my Dad doesn't want MaryJo to feel like she has to make some crazy dish when he comes. In fact, he'd rather she just relax and enjoy herself.

Dad: Tell MaryJo not to worry. We'll just keep it light. She doesn't have to go crazy making stuff. I'll do the cooking and cleaning. Maybe do some sausage and Hot Dogs. Maybe burgers or we could do steaks on the grill, but whatever. It doesn't really matter. I do want to get some clams from that place down town. Those were excellent last time. Just nice and easy...or pork loins, what about maybe pork loins. I have this way of cooking them Josh, oh man, I made them the other night, I killed 'em. Ah they were great.
Cap'n: Yeah cool. Sounds good.
Dad: Corn too. We've got to have some corn. We could do it in the mic or on the grill doesn't really matter. We can pick up some potato salad, just out door stuff. I could do an antipasta [sic] before dinner just to snack on...

I'm sure you get the idea. And I'll say this. He follows through with what he says. He does all the cooking when he gets here, cleans all of the dishes, comes completely prepared with the things he needs or runs to the store if he needs to and buys everything. He does not allow me to ever pull out my wallet. The part I want to draw attention to is the selection of foods. He lists like ten or fifteen different things he might want, or things that might be fun to have. He's not out of shape or anything. He plays basketball and works out and golfs consistently. We usually try to get to the store before hand to get some things but it's tough to narrow down the plethora of foods he rattles off. MaryJo and I end up just thinning it down to Pork loins and asparagus.

Well this weekend my Father threw MaryJo and I a Baby Shower/Congratulations on UGA/Farewell party in Fredonia, NY. He had tee times for 7:00am at his local course, we were sleeping in his bedroom and he did not want to hear any "no you don't have to do that's." And the food. The food...

Apparently when my Dad rattles off those foods he's not just talking out loud. There were (and I'm sure I'll forget a bunch of things) three different kinds of sausage labeled Hot, Italian, or Polish, all stewing in either peppers and onions, hot peppers or whatever the polish stew their sausage in, there were Four huge Pork loins, there were hot dogs, hamburgers, cheese burgers, antipasta [sic] with ham, salami, artichoke hearts, peppers, lettuce, pasta salad, tuna salad, salt potatoes, homemade pepper dip for chips, deviled eggs, cookies, two different cakes, one spelled "Harper, Harper" and the other, "Congratulations on UGA," Cookies, another seven layered cake, four dozen clams, a Labatt's Blue keg in a frig, Smirnoff Ice blast coolers or whatever they're called, Gatorade, Pop, Water bottles, a full bottle of Grey Goose Vodka etc. There's more stuff but it's getting redundant. I just couldn't believe it. It was a feast. I mean there were more than ten of each kind sausage. There were fourteen people there. We got to laughing with my Dad before we left at the quantity of food. He said, "Oh man, there’s a lot of food here...And we were worried we wouldn't have enough."

Well MaryJo and I wondered if we could say thank you enough.

Dad, if you read this, I just want you to know that the party was excellent. MaryJo and I could not believe all that you and Deb did in preparation. When we left, we talked about not knowing how to show our appreciation. How can we show you that we have genuinely thought about and thoroughly appreciate all that you have done for us these last couple of years? I just want to thank you again. The party and your visits mean so much to me, to MaryJo and especially to Harper. We all love you!
The Pork loins were incredible!

You deserve a High Five!