Home > Baking, Comfort, Culture, Family, Humor, Lessons, Life, Love, Parenting > Summer Lessons From My Father (That’s Right – I Went There!)

Summer Lessons From My Father (That’s Right – I Went There!)

Lesson #1.

When it’s 100° outside, QUICK — get in the kitchen and start baking!

Despite this past week’s sweltering heat, I gave a nod to my Dad and decided to spend one of those triple-digit temperature days baking. As a kid I used to think my dad was crazy because he would bake on the hottest of days. As an adult, I realize it’s only crazy, if you don’t have air-conditioning; which we never did.

I try real hard not to snack after 8pm and quite frankly it’s becoming increasingly difficult. Actually, it’s almost impossible since my daughter and I are obsessed with watching multiple cooking and baking shows in the evening. Yes, we’re foodies and we watch just about every food related program that comes on DirecTv including but not limited too, Chopped, Diners Drive-Ins and Dives, Tough Cookie with Crazy Susan, Ace of  Cakes, Cake Boss and our favorite, Cupcake Wars. We’re also fans of The Little Couple, Say Yes to the Dress, Clean House and House Hunters. We’ve even watched Hoarding: Buried Alive twice but honestly, I just found it too disturbing.

We prefer the “sweeter” programs and nearly every night we torture ourselves watching them.

Believe it or not, I never heard of red velvet cake or its connection to the Waldorf-Astoria until recently and for some reason this summer it keeps coming up, especially on Cupcake Wars. Intrigued, I looked up several recipes on the internet, put together what I thought would work best, ramped up the A/C and decided to give it a go, this week, the hottest week of the summer, so far.

It reminded me of when I was a kid and how my Dad would bake on the hottest day of the year.

I’m not sure if it was me or my daughter who was the genius behind the thought but we decided to do a little red-velvet-ice-cream-cone-cupcake thing and at least give the illusion that we were eating something that would help cool us off!

Yowza…we were so excited!! They turned out AWESOME!!

When we were done, we figured if there was one person who’d appreciate our efforts on this sizzler of a summer day, it would be my Dad, so we decided to take some over to him to see what he thought.

We plated a few cones and were on our way……………………………………………………………….

Lesson #2.

When it’s 100° outside, be sure to shut every door and window in your home before turning on your biggest, loudest, most antiquated, metal-fan and when possible, place it backwards in your window. This way you are sure to suck any air that’s in the house, out of the house, making it just a hair more unbearable and uncomfortable than it ever should be.

Thankfully, because I have air-conditioning in my house, there’s no need for the gigantor window fan to make it worse.

At Dad’s house however, we couldn’t stay too long. It was literally 100° degrees outside and with no A/C and all the windows and doors shut, it was probably close to 112° inside. At least the attic fan was off for our visit. Mom says it’s so loud, she goes crazy when it’s on. Dad says, it’s “physics”; draw the hot air out and …. I don’t understand it but when my 10-year old daughter questioned the logic of it and started to argue the point with him, well, I knew it was time for us to go.

Dad really enjoyed our cupcakes though. We put a cherry on his!

Lesson #3. 

Freeze an orange and then slice it (or try to anyway). It’s better than sherbert! 

Not really but it’s an option. As an adult, I choose to buy the sherbert.

Oh, and there’s also these lessons I’ve learned from my Dad:

#4. Whether your a toilet-cleaner or the CEO of a big company, take pride in what you do and do it well.

#5. You can do anything, if you put your mind to it.

#6. “Book-smart” has nothing on “common-sense”. Use the resources that you have.

#7. There are some things in life, that are better left unsaid.

Thanks, Dad.

Photo Credits #1, #2, #3 #4: © Karen Szczuka Teich & http://www.TakingTheWorldOnWithASmile.com

  1. Anonymous
    July 24, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    Nice to cool down in front of the air for some great yummy lessons from Dad. Thanks for sharing your Dad with us all!


    • July 24, 2011 at 10:08 pm

      Thanks so much for reading D!


  2. anita
    July 24, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    Lovely…we have one of those attic exhaust fans at my house, and I swear by it.


    • July 24, 2011 at 10:09 pm

      Thanks for reading & commenting Anita.


  3. singleworkingmomswm
    July 25, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    What a fun post and for certain the last 4 lessons from you dad I completely agree with! I love the cupcakes, too. So, you can bake in icecream cones like that? Very cool (no pun intended). 🙂


    • July 25, 2011 at 4:41 pm

      Thanks for reading & commenting, Kasey!


  4. Anonymous
    July 27, 2011 at 7:44 am

    Karen, l loved your blog, also you have a great memory,the picture of Dad could tell how much he enjoyed your cupcakes, l also enjoyed them, you and Hannah really know what is yummy.


    • July 27, 2011 at 10:50 am

      Thanks, Anonymous! (aka Mama!)


  5. Veronica
    July 27, 2011 at 6:51 pm

    I had my first ice-cream-cone-cupcake this summer and fell in love! Red velvet cupcakes are all the rage in NYC, and I still for some reason can’t bring myself to try one.

    The lesson I learned from your father was when I was overwhelmed with working a 9-5 after only 2 years and wanted to quit and become a hair dresser or do something totally different with my life, he told me “I have to put my time in, I only just started.”


    • July 27, 2011 at 7:04 pm

      Veronica, do yourself a favor and try a red velvet cupcake ~ they’re really, really good!

      With regard to the lesson you learned from my Dad….ha, ha! Hmm. Sounds just like him. I would advise you to follow your heart especially while you’re young and do that which makes you happy. Life really is too short.


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