Julie Anne, Tatjana, and Nick Rhodes

Twenty-four years ago I lay across my bed like a beached whale (about to pop Tatjana out) reading Bill Cosby’s book on Fatherhood. I had tears streaming down my face from laughing so hard, because it really hit home. Now that I’m recumbent yet again as my ankle heals, the book provides an equally funny read. There is a particular chapter entitled “No Hope on a Rope” that made me roar about Father’s Day gifts. I remember giving my father soap-on-a-rope, a gift described in the book as ” not the dumbest present you can get, but it is certainly second to thousands of yards of dental floss. Have you ever tried to wash your feet with soap-on-a-rope? You could end up with a sudsy hanging”

One of the funniest books ever
In fact I was guilty of most sins described in that chapter. My other favorite excerpt being how his wife made him give $20.00 to each kid (he had five), so “the kids then go to the store and get two packages of underwear, each of which costs five dollars and contains three shorts. They tear them open and each kid wraps a pair of shorts for me. (The sixth pair is saved for the Salvation Army drive.) Therefore, on this Father’s Day, I will be walking around in new underwear and my kids will be walking around with ninety dollars change.”

Culprits: my sister Patty and I with Dad
Other less than desirable gifts listed in the book included a bottle of Old Spice, the ninety-seventh tie, a sweater (in June), or yard tools which Mr. Cosby is quick to point out “It is time the families of America realized that a father on Father’s Day does not want to be pointed in the direction of manual labor.”

The repentant daughter today
All I can say is I stand guilty as charged, and I’m sorry Dad! I will be giving my father this treasured book for Father’s Day this year. I know he will enjoy reading it, maybe not as much as a Mercedes or Corvette, but it’s within my price range (I don’t ask dad to cough up money for his own gift anymore.) What lame pressies have you given your father over the years, and what will you be surprising him with this year?

Fusion Flank Steak

Since Dad is master of the grill in our family… here is a marinade for Father’s Day that he will love too!

Servings: 4


  • 3/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup dry Sherry
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 3 Serrano chiles, membranes and seeds removed, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Chinese five spice
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom
  • 3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 1/4 pound flank steak
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Directions: 1). In a large mixing bowl, mix together rice vinegar, Sherry, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, Serrano chiles, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, Chinese five spice, paprika, coriander, and cardamom. Whisk in the sesame oil. Add steak, turning a few times to coat well. Marinate the meat, refrigerated, for up to 12 hours, turning occasionally to allow it to marinate evenly.2). Preheat a hot grill.3). Remove meat from marinade 30 minutes before grilling to allow it to come to room temperature. Reserve the marinade for basting while you grill. Pour it into a small saucepan and bring to boil over medium heat, simmer for 5 minutes.4). Season meat and grill 4-5 minutes per side for medium rare, basting with marinade before turning, or as desired. Let meat rest, tented with foil, for 10-15 minutes before cutting.

5). Slice meat across the grain, into 1/4 inch thick slices.

Serving Suggestions: Serve with Five Spice Sweet Potato Oven Fries, and Asian Carrot Slaw.
PS. Only two days left to vote for the Ladies That Lunch Menu winner.
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  • June 4, 2010
    8:38 am

    Although my dear Daddy is gone to that Drum Shop in the sky I hope all Dads out there have a great Fathers Day and remember – if that shirt is not quite what you expected…. there's always the gift receipt! 🙂

  • June 4, 2010
    5:14 pm

    Very nice family portrait!!Justine Owls

  • June 4, 2010
    5:17 pm

    JT- I'm sure your Daddy is smiling down from that Drum Shop in the sky!Thanks Justine, hard to believe it was almost 24 years ago now.

  • June 4, 2010
    5:19 pm

    Nice the cookbook!!Oh you can't imagine…I would give my life to my dad.I'm so sorry I can't make a gift to him at the moment but I promise he will be rewarded for everything he did for meMartina D' Epifanio

  • June 4, 2010
    5:20 pm

    From all you have told us about your father Martina, I'm sure he already knows how special he is to you, and that is all the gift he needs.

  • June 4, 2010
    5:33 pm

    That was GREAT! I laughed out loud reading it. Yes, I am guilty as well. Now my dad just likes a nice card and phone call. Easy peasy!Alison Sherman

  • June 4, 2010
    5:45 pm

    I LOVE Bill Cosby, and wish we saw, read, and heard more from him these days. He is the father we all want and share… fun, firm, wise, and hilarious.

  • June 4, 2010
    5:45 pm

    PS. My Dad may not be quite as funny, but he certainly fills the Daddy shoes well.

  • June 4, 2010
    6:58 pm

    My old-timer grandpa used to chew tabacco. When I was little, maybe 6, I decided to make him a customized spit can. Totally disgusting, I know…Anyway, turns out the can I chose from the trash had a small hole in it, but I didn't notice. I decorated the heck out of a piece of paper and carefully glued it around the can, then proudly gave it to him on Fathers Day. It's still a running joke in the family that it leaked ALL over him! But I think this unfortunate gift actually helped him quit that revolting habit! Haha :)Kim Phillips Cuccia

  • June 4, 2010
    9:29 pm

    I loved Bill Cosby's book! Bill Cosby is the dad we all wished we had. I am guilty too. Dads are so hard to buy for. We'll probably take daddy to the Mongolian BBQ this year. Last year my kids bought daddy a motion sensitive tribble (a la Star Trek) for Father's Day, and left it in his car so that it started making noises and moving as soon as he got in the car first thing in the morning. Not really practical but he loved it.

  • June 5, 2010
    1:15 pm

    I enjoyed this post so much.

  • June 5, 2010
    2:03 pm

    My sister and I always went for the Old Spice or soap-on-a-rope. For some unknown reason, my brothers always gave Daddy a can of motor oil. Practical, I suppose…

  • June 5, 2010
    2:50 pm

    I tortured my father repeatedly with bottles of Aqua Velva aftershave (although I admit I still like the smell cause it reminds me of Dad!–he wore it dutifully, bless him.) I'm stumped this year for an idea for my husband, a new dad. I can't afford an Aston Martin or a Swedish nanny 🙂 Any suggestions?

  • June 5, 2010
    5:21 pm

    it's so much fun to hear the funny things we gave our dad's, and how we all did pretty much the same thing. Kim's spit can was definitely the most original (and hilarious).Cynthia… I think your hubby got his Father's Day gift already this year! Nick and I bought each other gold watches back in the day, but that would certainly be out of my budget today. How about making him a really special meal or a Father's Day gift certificate for a massage from Mommy?

  • June 6, 2010
    5:08 am

    Once, I accidentally gave my dad a birthday card on Father's Day. I guess I wasn't paying much attention at the card shop!

  • June 7, 2010
    6:37 am

    this is one of my most favourite blogs of yours… adore you jewels :-)Laura Savidge

  • June 20, 2010
    3:16 pm

    Wish you happy Father's day 2010 and also for all my friends.