How to Cook Your Father in 10 Easy Steps
This week’s prompt was ‘a cooking disaster,’ but with me those hardly feel like fiction–as witness the ‘oops, I just preheated the oven without realizing I’d left a loaf of bread in there two days ago’ blackened pumpkin bread I pulled out yesterday. I’m not a bad cook, but I can be absentminded, and that often equals the same thing. So, I decided to challenge myself a bit, while also giving this flash piece a Friday the 13th twist. Enjoy!
How to Cook Your Father in 10 Easy Steps
1–Begin by fattening your father up as best you can, as this will both aid in a nice, round finished product, and also slow him down if he catches on to what you’re doing. This can be accomplished by nonchalantly coming to sit beside him whenever he’s watching tv, and casually leaving an open bag of chips or cookies within his reach. You can also pretend to need help with your homework, then offer him M&Ms or ice cream treats as thanks for his help. It’s best if you can begin this process several months in advance, but even a few days can have an impact if you concentrate your efforts.
2–Prepare your father by making sure he’s been recently washed. Convincing him to take a shower will be easiest, and for this we suggest you walk into the room where he’s sitting alone, then stop and sniff the air before asking no one in particular ‘what’s that funny smell?’ Afterwards, you should discretely check your own arm pits, then shrug and walk out. Try several variations on this until he takes the hint. If the shower prompts fail, go outside and hold the hose somewhere out of sight of the door. Then call to him, and when he comes out, squirt him down. He will undoubtedly express displeasure, so have an excuse ready to explain your behavior.
3–Now that he’s been properly prepared, it’s time to start the actual cooking process. If you plan to slow roast your father you should suggest some activity that involves spending time outside in the sunshine. When he gets settled, offer him ‘sunscreen’ of your own creation. The ‘sunscreen’ should consist of olive oil and whatever herbs and spices you prefer. We recommend a blend of black pepper and cumin, with perhaps some red pepper and garlic salt.
4–Once he’s rubbed in the spice mixture, make sure he settles himself comfortably. Then put on some soft music, to help him fall asleep. If he’s placed an umbrella where it will block the sun, move it just enough that it will no longer shade him once he’s fallen asleep.
5–Clear the area of any barking dogs, phones that could ring, or people that might wake him up. Watch out for delivery men bringing packages, as well, and nosy neighbors. This is the most delicate step, as it’s essential for the roasting process that your father not be interrupted.
6–Set a timer so you’ll know when to wake your father and end the cooking process. For a lightly sauteed look, we recommend two hours. If you’d prefer he be cooked all the way through you’ll need more like 3-5 hours, but be careful not to burn him. You’ll know you’ve let him in too long if you begin to see small raised blisters.
7–An optional step for the most exacting cooks is to turn your father in the middle of the cooking process. This will ensure the most evenly pink or tan color when he’s done, but the procedure is difficult as turning him can sometimes wake him up. To avoid this premature interruption of the cooking process, use of a feather or long piece of grass to tickle his nose and make him roll over can be effective.
8–If you’re into presentation, consider placing a few objects around your father while he’s still cooking. These props, such as a few life-sized potatoes and carrots, will enhance the impact of your dish, and showcase your cooking skills. *You might also consider draping him in a white and red checkered sheet, for a festive picnic look.
9–When your father is done you should invite your friends over before waking him. Make sure everyone has their phone out, and that the group is spread out enough that everyone will have a good shot of him just as he wakes.
10–For greatest impact and enjoyment, have someone make a loud noise, like a car horn honking. Your father will startle awake, and you’ll have your first photo opportunity. Your second will come when you say, loudly and clearly ‘Wow, Dad! You’re really burnt!’ His groans and moans as he notices the evenly roasted hue to his skin will create an excellent second photo opportunity. One note of caution, though. Make sure you and your friends are out of arm’s reach and prepared to dodge thrown objects. Father’s who’ve been roasted are usually found to have uneven temperament and best enjoyed from a safe distance.
*Bonus–if you and your friends would like to share this dish with all your community, hand each of them a fork and knife, and pretend that you’re all about to dig in. Your father will most likely run, and you can enjoy a good romp as you chase him through the streets with his red and white checkered sheet flapping behind him. Don’t be concerned if you’re joined by neighborhood dogs–they’re often drawn to the scent of a good roast.
That’s it! Feel free to repeat this process as often as you like!
Happy Father’s Day, and have a great Friday the 13th!