At home, we love holidays. Really. Not just because they’re an excuse for parties, decorations or special sweet treats – though we don’t mind these. But, really, because at their essence holidays are an ancient way to help us appreciate the seasons, mark the passage of time, and honor the people and occasions of our lives, special and ordinary alike.
Spring has its share of holidays, including two that are not ancient, but that honor perhaps the most special yet ordinary people in any of our lives: mom and dad. Whether or not there is yet equality between the sexes, we do have equality in these parental celebrations, though in this case, the men had to wait for their due.
Anna Jarvis, as a non-commercial memorial to her mother, began Mother’s Day in 1908; it became a national holiday in 1914. (She came to lament its eventual, inevitable commercialization, and was arrested for protesting the holiday in 1948.) Father’s Day was launched in 1910 by Sonora Smart Dodd, one of six children raised in Spokane by a single dad (and Civil War vet); her holiday for dad didn’t become official until President Nixon deemed it so in 1972, a year before the summer of Watergate.
Beyond their different holiday histories, mothers and fathers also seem to get their days celebrated differently. Mom gets pampered; dad gets gadgets, gears and grills. That is, he gets things to do things with (fix the car, make a tree house, grill the meat), or at least to watch games on (big screen TVs).
Which is fine, but what if dad wants pampering too? In that spirit, maybe June 17 is the day dad gets a hemp back scrubber. Handmade and imported from Turkey by Indigo Traders, it looks like a sock with woven handhold rings at both ends, but works wonders to relax one’s back ($25).
Indigo Traders also has a nifty shaving kit with natural horsehair brush, aluminum tin and Syrian olive oil soap ($39). (Even in beard-crazy Portland, a man’s gotta shave occasionally, right?)
Shop Talk has some other good ideas for pampering products (see the slide show here), from grooming kits to anti-aging creams.
The pampering enabled by breakfast in bed isn’t gender specific either. Dad would probably appreciate sleeping late and being served a fresh made oven-baked pancake. Here’s a super simple but special and delicious recipe for Austrian pancake. (Appropriately, or ironically, it’s my dad’s recipe; he was the pancake maker in our household!)
Dad’s Austrian Pancake
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
1 cup unsifted flour
2 tablespoons sugar
¾ teaspoon salt
2 cups milk and 1 cup light cream (or 2 ½ cups milk)
2 tablespoons butter
Sift flour with sugar and salt.
Beat eggs, add milk, and combine.
Stir milk and egg mixture into flour mixture.
Pour into skillet in which the butter is melted and sizzling.
Bake in 375 degree oven for about ½ hour, till puffed up and just browned.
Then again, maybe dad really just wants a new grill.