Almost Naming Harry's Andy's
I couldn't think of a better customer to have than my father. His zest (lust) for eating is legendary. Three squares a day, Cocktails before Dinner, Wine with Dinner, "what's for dessert?" profile both my Dad and the ideal customer. A pioneer of ethnic food, Harry lived in Japan for several years after WWII, during the occupation exploring sushi, sake, and other Japanese specialties in the mid 1940's. As I opened Tiffany's on Block Island (another story) he tirelessly shopped during his lunch hour in Boston gathering the ethnic foods in Boston's Chinatown and pasta at Trio's in the North End, salt cured anchovies, olive oils etc. He assumed a modicum of fame in Chinatown at Thai Binh Grocery on Beach Street. Somehow, the dots didn't connect, this white male in an all Thai and Chinese setting, purchasing vast amounts of fish sauce, curries, coconut milk, Nam Prik Pao, and rice sticks. His ingredient gathering, in and of itself, made it a foregone conclusion for me to name the place Harry's Café. Harry's enthusiasm for his next meal was boundless. His shopping forays were but a tease for the meal that would await him.
But suffice to say, I didn't cook for my dad always. My mom, Andy did. Her nickname was cloned from her maiden name of Andersen. And what a cook! She graduated in Home Economics from Simmons College. She worked for the Gas Council showing ladies how to use gas stoves converting from coal stoves! When I was about five, I was being dragged around to various YWCA's as she demonstrated how to make Dilly Bread for the American Dairy Council, so as to promote dairy use throughout the dishes being prepared for supper in those days.
My father and I would go nuts the night before as she prepared this totally phenomenal yeast bread with cottage cheese and dill seeds. The whole house was a mouth watering dream of melting butter on a fat slab of warm Dilly Bread. But alas, it was only a dream. The next day she packed me up with her finished loaves to the evening demonstration. Eventually, the following evening she finished her proofed demonstration dough and finally at that point, the butter hit the warm slab.
This is but the tip of the iceberg as far as the treats and great meals we shared. Her lard crust for apple pie is still a benchmark I can't seem to make to this day. And so, as has been pointed out to me by many people, why shouldn't the Café be called Andy's?