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Cooking with Dad: Memories that Inspire Me to be Creative, Curious and Always Keep Good Company at t

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Stephanie Covello, the DC editor of Bitches Who Brunch

With Father's Day approaching, we asked Stephanie Covello, The D.C. editor of Bitches Who Brunch, a food and lifestyle website in D.C., Chicago, and New York City, to reflect on fond culinary memories of her late father, Jerry Covello. For recipes, entertaining tips, and brunch reviews, follow her (@stephcswan) and the Bitches (@bitcheswhobrunch) on twitter and instagram and at Bitcheswhobrunch.com.

Dad's Important Mozzarella Advice

"My father certainly wasn’t a stalwart in our family kitchen growing up, in fact my mom was always the top chef in our house, making a proper homemade meal for us every night. But, when my dad was in the kitchen we knew it was bound to be epic. My most vivid memory was of him teaching us how to make fresh mozzarella from scratch, an ambitious attempt to instill the importance of our Italian heritage in my brother, sister, and I. All under the age of 15, the three of us sat wide eyed at our kitchen island while he explained the importance of finding the “curd” — “never trust a store that claims they sell fresh mozzarella if they can’t sell you the curd”— in between grimacing faces from kneading the cheese in a bowl of scalding hot water. We humored him and rolled our eyes. Now, I never buy fresh mozzarella unless I see a sign for “curd.”

According to Stephanie's dad -never trust a store that claims they sell fresh mozzarella if they can't sell you the curd

It wasn’t just in those epic kitchen moments where my father helped instill confidence and creativity in me. Outside of the kitchen he would bring me along to fishing trips or opening trout day. I think one of the proudest I’ve ever made him was when I caught the first fish on opening trout day, and I was by far the youngest, not to mention only girl, on the trip. We took it home like a trophy to show to mom, before he taught us how to scale, season, and cook it properly.

Stephanie and her Dad

The Story Still has Our Family Laughing 20 Years Later

Despite the annual opening trout days, he was a pretty crappy fisherman. That could be a whole separate saga, but I always remember his love for lobsters. One summer we took a trip to Nantucket and on the ferry to the island my dad proclaimed to my family (my siblings and I were under the age of 10 years old) that he was going to eat lobster at every meal throughout the duration of the trip. He always had a way of making everything an adventure. We told him it couldn’t be done, which only fueled his fire to prove us wrong. From the lobster benedicts, to the lobster rolls, to the lobster ravioli, the man did it and had us giggling and cheering him on by the end. On the last day I remember all of us waiting in the packed car for dad. He finally gets into the driver's seat and goes to grip the steering wheel only to reveal that his hands had turned into lobster claws--”I ate so much lobster, I turned into one!” he yelled in a sort of “I’m melting, I’m melting” Wicked Witch of the West kind of way. We died laughing and came to find out that he had purchased two lobster claw christmas ornaments to trick us. That story still has us laughing 20 years later. Dad was an all or nothing kind of guy -- a trait I think my family would agree I’ve inherited.

Stephanie in Positano as an adult