Dad’s "Secret Weapon" Dishes

Rachel Tepper Paley
June 9, 2014

Some dads are self-professed gourmets, given to expert tinkering with balsamic vinegar reductions and béchamel sauces and whatnot. Some dads are pop-it-in-the-microwave kind of guys, or they have the local pizza delivery outfit on speed dial. Some dads keep their skills secret, letting Mom (or the kid!) shine instead.

But no matter the dad, chances are he has a signature dish—the best meal in his arsenal. The dish always satisfies, and Dad knows it. (You can tell from the beaming, beneficent smile on his face as he serves it up.) It’s his secret weapon, and the nights it’s trotted out are always momentous.

For Father’s Day, we asked readers, food writers, and our own editors to share their fathers’ “secret weapon” dishes via Facebook and Twitter, and they did not disappoint.

Some dads like to get fancy in the kitchen:

Beef Wellington. He’s an awesome cook—does the pastry and duxelles. It’s made for super special occasions.” –Lauren Bloomberg, Freelance Food Writer

Salmon tartare and it’s fantastic!” –Devra Ferst, Food Editor at The Jewish Daily Forward

Other dads really like to cook in bulk:

My dad is a master of pies! My friends even started a Facebook fan group for him when we were in college … Apple is his fave. We have apple trees in our backyard, and he doesn’t like to see ‘em go to waste. Last year, he made 10-plus.” –Maia Kotlus-Gates

"Once a year he would make BBQ sauce with loads of onions, ketchup, Heinz 57, brown sugar and vinegar. He would take every big pot in the house and fill it. It required constant stirring so I was enlisted to mix the martinis … He would get tipsier and tipsier so my mom would have to supervise the packing of it into freezer containers and, of course, the cleanup,” –Dean Gold, owner of Dino’s Grotto in Washington, D.C.

Rou geng tang! When I was little, my family used to go to Taiwan every summer and since my dad would fly home early for work, he would always have a huge pot of the soup ready for us after the grueling 24-hour plane ride. It’s the only thing he really knows how to make and his mom taught him how to make it!” –Christina Whang

But it’s really all about breakfast for a lot of dads—especially pancakes:

Chocolate chip pancakes. He made them every time we had friends sleep over when we were kids, and they still remember them. And now he makes them for the grandkids,” –Stacy Roth

Buttermilk pancakes that my grandmother used to make,” Brent Balika, Chef

Chocolate chip pancakes!" –Chris Byrne

"When we were growing up my Dad cooked one thing: blueberry muffins, using berries he picked from our blueberry bush. He did this like twice annually but you’d think he’d won the Nobel, he made such a big show of it. Hilarious,” –Alex Van Buren, Yahoo Features Editor