Dear Dad: Eat My Words

Robin Seeley Culinary Academy of Post Street students Roan, Abby and Leila display the edible Father’s Day cards they made for their lucky dads. They hope you’ll notice the cards have both a cover and an inside page and are laced together with strands of licorice. Abby has her card flapped open to show her signature in cookie letters.

 

We’ve all heard the expression that failure is an orphan, but success has many fathers. It turns out that Father’s Day has had many fathers as well. Since the early 1900s several putative parents in different locales have claimed credit for kicking it off. But despite official recognition of Mother’s Day in 1914, for many decades, dads were not getting their due. 

In 1957 Maine Senator Margaret Chase Smith publicly protested that Congress was favoring mothers over fathers, and that it was time to proclaim a day for dads. That was just one of many failed attempts to achieve national recognition for paternal parents. 

Finally, in 1966 President Lyndon Baines Johnson officially declared the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day. Homage for dads got belt and suspenders when President Richard Nixon signed a bill making Father’s Day a permanent national holiday in 1972, almost 60 years after President Woodrow Wilson had granted mothers the same honor. 

Why did it take so long? Commentators mention citizens’ concern about commercialization of Mother’s Day after it became a national holiday. Hallmark greeting cards feature prominently in these complaints. People questioned spending hard-earned dollars on doggerel to express feelings that should come from the heart, not a store. But that didn’t seem to put a dent in sales of generic greetings.

The Culinary Academy of Post Street decided to tackle this problem head-on! What better way to personalize Father’s Day than by making edible greeting cards?  This item is so personalized, it actually becomes part of a dad’s body. The kids used graham crackers instead of card stock to express their feelings for their beloved fathers. The limited writing space prompted creative use of frosting swirls, tiny alphabet cookie cutters and, of course, heart-shaped treats. 

These cards got the same special treatment as the Valentine’s Day treats we made for moms: strict enforcement of the “no nibbling” rule. We wanted the dads to appreciate the visual, emotional and edible aspects of handmade greetings without missing chunks or telltale smudges. 

Hallmark, step aside. The roaring success of these kids at conveying heartfelt sentiments may cost you some business after all. To top it off, they’ve clearly disproved that old adage about success having many fathers. Each successful young chef has only one, and he’s a lucky man. 

 

Robin Seeley is the director-in-residence at the Culinary Academy of Post Street.