The way to the heart is through the stomach – celebrating Dads through food experiences

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There is an old saying that goes ‘The way to a man’s heart is through the stomach.’ While that may be true for many men, the truth is that everyone loves a well prepared meal. Add to this the fact that the happy hormones, serotonin and dopamine are created in the stomach, their production is often stimulated by good food, then it is safe to say that the way to everyone’s heart and happiness is through the stomach.

This means that when celebrating special occasions like Father’s Day and the special people in our lives, food is an essential element of creating feelings of well-being, ease and connection with one another.

We all spend more and more time on our phones, working or busy with our day to day lives. Therefore fostering moments of togetherness and shared enjoyment is more important than ever.

Keeping things traditional

Many families have a Fathers Day ritual, kids, grandkids, parents and grandparents and even extended family meet at one person’s house and enjoy a meal together. Often there is a grownups table and a kids table and each year, the same dishes are prepared by certain family members.

In South Africa, many families’ tradition is to either have a braai, or because Father’s Day takes place on a Sunday to enjoy a Sunday roast. In 2024, because of the popularity of a diverse range of eating regimes like veganism and keto, be sure to select a variety of dishes that do not contain animal products. This is great for our individual health and gives everyone a chance to enjoy a delightful array of new and interesting dishes.

Traditional menus usually consist of a roast leg of lamb, duck or full roast chicken. Traditional South African sides can range from pap, a tomato smoortjie, roast vegetables, butternut, sweetcorn or carrots.

For vegan dishes, consider preparing oven roasted brown mushrooms with lashings of butter, garlic and fresh herbs and once cooked, sprinkling with pine-nuts and mature cheddar. Many retailers now sell vegan milks and cheeses, these can be used to prepare wintery oven baked dishes like cauliflower cheese and desserts like milk tart, flan or cakes.

An outing and atmospheric change 

Across the country, set menus for Father’s Day are offering multiple course meals at various rates. The benefits of going out for a meal instead of cooking at home include no dishes, food prepared by a trained chef and best of all, multiple courses including starters, a main meal and dessert.

Radisson Blu Hotel Waterfront is doing things a bit differently this year by having a three course buffet which includes a welcome drink on arrival. Mains include espetadas, garlic and herb crusted lamb, creamy mussels and an oxtail among other dishes. Desserts include black forest cake, creme brulee, swiss rolls, lemon meringue tart and a selection of cheeses among other dishes.

To save yourself the trouble of preparing a meal and doing the dishes, look out for a local Father’s Day special or three course meal and make sure to make a booking beforehand.

Don’t forget the beverages

Concocting delicious cocktails is a fun, creative process and a showstopper item at dinner parties, so why not get dad started with one or two items for own swanky home bar? Start with a capsule collection of a few key spirits to make the most popular drinks, like tequila for margaritas, white rum for daiquiris and mojitos, bourbon for old fashioneds, gin for martinis and vodka for Cosmopolitans.

“Add a few more versatile ingredients like vermouth, an orange liqueur and bitters, and you’ll be able to make a wide range of cocktails,” says Melrick Harrison at the Radisson Blu Hotel Waterfront. If your dad already has these items at home, consider exotic liqueurs and craft gins, or add panache to his home bar by gifting him with a stylish glass decanter.

Happy hormone foods to add a special touch

To make the day extra special and add to the effects of happy hormones being created through the stomach, add serotonin and dopamine inducing foods to your Father’s Day menu. These could include eggs, spinach, milk, pineapple, nuts and seeds. For a dopamine boost include foods like chocolate, green leafy vegetables, strawberries and poultry.

About Post Author

LINDO MNISI

Lindo Mnisi is a qualified and experienced journalist and communicator, having worked in some of SA's reputable newsrooms. He is the editor of Online Magazine, a platform renowned for its comprehensive coverage of South African content. Online Magazine is a trusted source of information across a diverse array of topics, including business, property, education, music, television, film, travel, fashion, food, sports, and tech.
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