Kim Dad

Kim O'Donnel's father, John O'Donnel, getting ready to grill in their backyard in Havertown, Pa., most likely the summer of 1969.

Father’s Day is fast approaching on Sunday, June 21, and we’re giving a shout-out to all the dads in LNP’s food section that day. But we’d like you and your families to be part of our tribute.

Tell us a story, one that stands out about your father or the father figure in your life. If the story includes a recipe, send that, too. If not, we still want to see what you’ve got. Share a photo of him, if you like, and don’t worry if that’s out of the cards.

I’ll go first.

In the short time I knew my dad (he died when I was 16), food was a thread in our fledgling relationship. John cooked infrequently, but when he did, it was with dramatic effect: Hand-cut potatoes twice fried for homemade French fries, garlic-perfumed shrimp scampi dancing in a skillet or the whir of chocolate milkshakes spun in our vintage triple-spindle Hamilton Beach machine.  I’ll never know if he was truly a good cook, but he certainly loved an edible adventure.

I frequently tagged along in his Ford Grenada sedan for these jaunts, from Koch’s Deli in West Philly, where we’d happily wait in line to order sandwiches, to Federal Pretzel Baking Company in the heart of the Italian Market, where we’d pick up soft pretzels just out of the oven. Wherever we went, it seemed to this little girl that he knew how to shoot the breeze with anyone, especially if food was involved, and I am confident that his love for being at the table rubbed off.  That’s him in the photo, at the ripe age of 24 or 25, during the summer of 1969, in our backyard in Havertown (Delaware County).

Now it’s your turn!

  • Email me: with subject line: “Father’s Day”
  • Include: Your first and last name, your city/township, and best phone number in case we have any questions. Please include your father's name, too.
  • Bonus: Recipe and photos; please send as an attachment.
  • Deadline: Monday, June 14, 5 p.m.

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