Freshman year of college, early on the morning of my birthday, I heard whistling coming up through my dorm room window. It sounded familiar, but I wrote it off - my family lived two hours away.
I looked out the window anyway, and was momentarily stunned by what I saw: my dad was strolling happily down the walkway outside my building, whistling, and carrying a stainless steel pot.
"Dad!?" I said.
"Happy birthday, kiddo!" he said. "Can you let me in?"
He'd brought me a pot of lobster bisque, the soup he was famous for, the meal that caused my first real experience with food transcendence. My friends came in from down the hall. He made us all laugh, and ten minutes after he arrived, he gave me a hug and said goodbye.
"You drove all the way here just to bring me soup?"
"I did! I love you. Happy birthday, kid."
I have the book from which his recipe came. His notes are inside, and we've decided to make it for the first time as part of our Thanksgiving meal this year. When I opened it this morning to write down a list of ingredients, the tiny miracles appeared: the recipe is on page 142; and the last note he made was written on this very day, one month and five days before he died.
In one quick moment this morning, my dad was here. A few tears came. The kids felt it. They looked into my wet eyes and we were quiet and suddenly we were in the middle of a moment we won't forget.
Happy Thanksgiving, lovebugs,
PS: My dad was way into indulgence. Though this recipe - from an old Martha Stewart cookbook - is actually for crab bisque, he quickly realized how much more delicious and decadent he could make it if he changed the crab to lobster and changed the 1-1/2 C. of heavy cream to 3 qts. (I have to assume he was multiplying the recipe here because seriously, Dad.) I'll post the recipe after we give it a whirl - I suspect it'll be the perfect addition to your December holiday menu.
PPS: My dad's birthday falls right on Thanksgiving this year! Give him a wink and enjoy the hell outta your meal - that's what he would have done.