My father was raised in Honolulu with a family who had a Housekeeper, a Nanny, and a Japanese Cook named Ruth. Dad used to spend time in the kitchen with Ruth, where she would teach him how to cook, something that came in handy when he found himself a single father of an 8 yr old.
He seemed to mostly remember the lessons that involved the making of teriyaki sauce and stuffed pork loin.
We ate a lot of teriyaki.
It was very good teriyaki.
In fact our dinners were usually either: Steak/Lamb Chop/ or Pork Chop broiled until the smoke detector went off (what my dad called "the dinner bell") the meat was always covered in garlic salt and there would be teriyaki to put on the meat. With this there would be "salad"- always sliced tomatoes or cucumber or both. I liked to cover everything with the teriyaki...and would sometimes eat it by the spoonful from the pan. When my dad caught me he would yell "Dammit Alana!!"
Rarely, there would be the stuffed pork loin...with tomatoes and cucumbers..
Other times there were On-Cor dinners full of mystery meat and God knows what. Or Hungry Man dinners...or Swanson dinners. I'm pretty sure we had these more often that the broiled garlic salted meat.He really liked things that could be microwaved.
The teriyaki sauce is what sticks out the most and I cannot help but associate it with my dad and Ruth. I like to picture my father as a boy sitting in a sunny kitchen while this faceless woman in a white apron and flowered dress teaches him how to make the most amazing teriyaki ever.
Sadly, the recipe died with my father. So I use subpar teriyaki in dinners that call for it. Tonight I made Teriyaki Tofu Stir-fry with the only brand of bottled teriyaki I can find that has recognizable ingredients. It isn't horrible, I have had worse, but it is nowhere near to Ruth's recipe....