You know your dad -- he could only cook, like, two things… but damn if they weren’t tasty. To celebrate and honor these glorious fatherly vittles cobbled together by dads around the nation, we compiled the ultimate list of dad foods and, because that guy definitely deserves a drink for pretending to be proud of that .208 little league batting average, recruited Napa Valley wine maker Joseph Carr to pair a perfect vintage of Josh Cellars with ‘em. Drink in the dadstaglia.
1. Hot dogs
Whether they’re on the grill, boiled, toasted in a toaster oven, pressed under a clothes iron, or eaten cold straight out of the package, hot dogs are every desperate dads go-to. Even the least culinary capable dad is shameless enough to Ask Jeeves “How to cook hot dogs?”
Pair it with: “Josh Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon. A hot dog is not ‘just a hot dog.’ It is noble and deserves the very best. Bring on all the toppings! The spiciness of this big Cabernet, with ripe plum and cassis flavors, it all makes sense.”
Breakfast? Lunch? Dinner? Doesn’t matter. The dad question “You hungry? Whattya want?” is invariably answered by a bucket of pancake batter on the griddle regardless of the actual answer.
Pair it with: “Josh Cellars Chardonnay. And do not spare the butter [Editor’s note: he means on the pancakes]. I might have upgraded my dad's pancake to a crepe filled with lemony shrimp and thyme, which matches our fruit forward Chardonnay with hints of citrus and soft vanilla.”
3. Taco night
Oh your dad fancy, huh? Nothing looks more impressive while requiring a surprising lack of work (dads love not working) then taco night. Brown a bunch of beef, throw in the seasoning mix, then fill a bunch of little bowls with the fixings -- dad don’t care because you’re doing the dishes.
Pair it with: “Taco night! Josh Cellars Merlot. That spice needs great fruit and firm tannins, like our Merlot. The heat of peppers and spicy seasoning will even soften the tannins, leaving refreshing cassis and ripe berry flavors to be savored.”
4. Hamburgers on the grill
Ever dad naturally congregates around open fire, and every dad has a very specific burger recipe he will take to his grave insisting is better than every mass-market burger ever made, even if his version for some reason contains clam juice.
Pair it with: Josh Cellars Legacy Red Wine Blend. Burgers are what my dad was really good at. Go big or go home, I say. Our Legacy Red Wine, a blend of Zinfandel, Merlot, and Petite Sirah, will match the big bold flavors and juicy burger.”
5. Spaghetti & meat sauce
Pasta and a jar of store sauce is as simple as dinner gets. And simple is important when you’ve got sports to watch and important dad stuff to do like sitting in various large chairs. But this easy combo is missing an important dad necessity: meat. Anybody can throw spaghetti and marinara together – it takes a dad to put a ludicrous amount of greasy beef in it.
Pair it with: “Josh Cellars Pinot Noir. Italian. Bravo! Here you see ripe strawberry aromas and berry fruit that just cuts through all that great flavor.”
When dads get serious about cooking, it’s time for chili. It probably started with a recipe out of a cookbook, but he’s tinkered with it. Eventually he writes his own recipe on a coffee stained piece of paper hidden in a drawer. Over the years, his list of ingredients and spices has grown, and the recipe has changed, and the list -- like the American constitution -- is a living, breathing document of history, just with way more crossouts and swears.
Pair it with: “Pass a bottle of Josh Cabernet there, amigo. Firm tannins need spice to reveal those luscious fruit flavors, dark raspberry, and plum.”
These dripping slabs of ground deliciousness embody a definite dad ethos: if you throw enough stuff together, something good must happen. It’s like the food equivalent of a never-ending DIY project. Maybe it will be a disaster, maybe it will be great – but the last thing a dad is going to look at is the instructions.
Pair it with: “Josh Cellars Merlot. Mom made it… we ate it. It’s as good now as it was then. We hide Vermont Cheddar in our meatloaf and that just calls for a wine that is rich and ready to drink, with hints of boysenberry as well as yes, cocoa.”
8. Baked potato
Potato: the meat of vegetables. Mashing and (god forbid) fancier executions like scalloped require all kinds of steps and measuring and labor. Baking? Just wrap that sucker in tinfoil and throw in the oven. Even better? Now you get to slather it with cheese and sour cream, two major dad food groups.
Pair it with: “Josh Chardonnay. Nothing goes better with buttery spuds. Call me crazy but we add poached lobster on top with lemon, and shallots. This remarkable Chardonnay, kicks into gear with lemon and stone fruit flavors creating a ridiculous symphony of flavor.”
Similar in theory to the meatloaf. Omelets are the canvases on which dad’s can paint their often meaty imaginations.
Pair it with: “Go crazy [on the omelet] with some nice goat cheese and maybe a touch of cilantro, then some Josh Cellars Sauvignon Blanc. This citrus wine with great acidity shows balance and bright flavors that match all of this.”
When dad has a full Sunday or Saturday, ribs are the perfect choice. There are a lot of steps involved, but they all look way harder than they are. Plus, dad gets to sit for hours in a lawn chair next to a grill set to a slow-cooking 200 degrees as the meat smokes, which really means he can shirk any and all family duties because, “Sorry, gotta watch the ribs.”
Pair it with: “Josh Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon. I’d eat these every freaking day. The smoke from the grill enhances the gentle smokiness of this Cabernet aged in new French oak. And that great BBQ sauce just brings out the sweetness of dark chocolate and spice flavors captured in our Cabernet.”
11. Grad School Special
Truly unique to every dad. Even if he never went to grad school, dad definitely went through a period of educationally induced poverty, which meant improvisation. Dad is the Miles Davis of putting together random objects into a semi-functional meal. One special that stands out -- English muffin pizza. Just slap sauce and cheese on an English muffin and throw it in the toaster oven.
Pair it with: “Josh Cellars Zinfandel. I’ve studied and perfected this dish many times. I should include it in my new cookbook. Zin has some roots in Italy and here you see big fruit, balance and just the right amount of tannin to see structure. But open it up and you will see big aromas and flavors from the word go.”