"One of the delights of life is eating with friends, second to that is talking about eating. And, for an unsurpassed double whammy, there is talking about eating while you are eating with friends."
~Laurie Colwin'Home Cooking'
Don and Sandy, the last day of our wonderful OBX vacation
I am a lucky girl. Not only do I have the best parents in the whole world, I was also blessed with the best in-laws a girl could ever hope for. For today's segment of Fridays, Feasting with Friends I am excited to bring you one of my father-in-laws, Don Lepley. If you have ever had a few minutes to chat with this man you would immediately get a taste of his great, dry sense of humor, honest spirit and his enormous zest for life. But what you might not notice right away is what I like to call "the softer side" of Mr. Don. Watching Don slowly transform into "Pop" with our own Little Man has been such a special experience. He has an enormous heart, and I have had the joy of watching it break wide open with each hug, kiss, and special moment the two of them have together. Their relationship is indeed a special one, for both of them, and I love watching it change and grow. Don has told me that in the past he never expected to see himself a father, let alone be a grandfather. But he has taken to each role like a natural; husband, father, grandfather, friend, Don is all of these things and so much more. Each of us are so blessed to have him be a part of our lives. Love you Don!
What is your favorite thing to cook? As most know I love to grill and barbeque, and there is a difference. As for my favorite I must say Thanksgiving Day turkey. We have had that bird on the grill for at least 20 years and by all accounts, it is wonderful. Golden brown and moist, Oh man I could go for some right now.
How about your least favorite thing to cook? I like to cook nearly everything that is thrown my way. What I do not like is the challenge of multiple dishes with different cooking times and the expectation that they all need to be ready at the same time. That is when the pressure is on but so far success has been achieved; at least most of the time.
What is your favorite local restaurant and what is one you are dying to try out? There are several that I like. A few years ago I would have to say Johnny’s on Fulton would have been the one, but that has been aced out by Osteria downtown on St. Clair. Sandy and I stumbled into that place, stumble is correct since you enter from St. Clair and go down stairs to the dinning room. All meals had there have been wonderful. One problem with a favorite is that you may not have the desire to venture to another, and that is my case. So no place that I am dying to go to.
Music and food go together so beautifully. You are hosting a dinner party, what would be on your playlist? Well I think that AC/DC and Led Zepplin may not be the best of choices, so I ask Sandy pick the music for the crowd. She does such a wonderful job.
What would you choose to be your last meal on earth? Last meal??????? A big juicy hamburger with onions, lettuce, tomato, mayo, and mustard. So greasy that it flows through your fingers as you eat it.
What are you currently reading? Contagious by Scott Sigler
What is your favorite Kitchen Gadget? A bigger Weber grill just because? Na that’s not it. I guess that I don’t have a favorite. Or wait, I love my “long tongs” and spatula that keep my finger hairs from being singed.
Do you have a signature go-to dish? All of my dishes are signature dishes, but if I was forced to admit I guess my Ahi Tuna, ribs, and burgers, and with a plank salmon thrown in for good measure.
What is your favorite thing about the Cleveland area? Our family is here.
Do you have a favorite meal from your childhood and do you cook it today? Tuna noodle casserole. Do I cook it, na and neither will Sandy.
Top 3 Movies of all time? Caddie Shack, Kelly’s Heroes, and Night Shift
What was your happiest moment in life? Can I have a few???? Meeting Sandy and Scott, getting married, meeting Amie, ah and Jackson’s birth all capped off with a couple of hole in ones.
Where do you do your grocery shopping? Where Sandy tells me to go. Actually I don’t do grocery shopping.
What is your favorite guilty pleasure when it comes to food? Potato chips and French onion dip.
Can you tell me about what you are most proud of? Finishing graduate school after 50.
Do you have Culinary Resolutions that you would like to accomplish this year? I will try never to overcook the meal when it is below freezing outside.
You are the self-professed "Grill Man", and for good reason- everything you throw on it turns out amazing! I can honestly say I have never cooked on a grill by myself before, but it is something that is high on my culinary To-Do list! All help is welcomed! What is your most favorite thing you have ever cooked on the grill and was there ever a time you made something on there and it failed completely? If you have had a "fail", did you ever try the failed recipe a second time using different techniques or altered recipe with better luck? If I had a failure, I can’t remember. If there was one, I would certainly try it again.
One word that best describes you is:
I need two words, "Twinkling Eyes"
Pop and Jackson, the week we got home from the hospital with him!
Thank you so much Don for doing this interview for me! I really enjoyed reading it- you did a great job! Looking forward to seeing you guys this weekend. We've missed you while you two were basking in the sunshine in Mexico! Lucky ducks!