The Best Father’s Day Gifts for Food Dads 2021
Photo: Composite by VICE Staff
Kiss the Cook apron? Check. New Balances? Donned, and tied tightly. Grill brush multi-tool? Duh. If this Sunday scene sounds familiar, you probably have a food dad. A noble, much-appreciated creature, the food dad is often observed participating in fascinating rituals to establish pack dominance when congregating with other food dads, including—but not limited to—worrying that Bob is going to overcook the steak, commenting on what he calls an “interesting choice” of seasoning, and making the same sausage joke three to four times over the course of a single gathering.
Unfortunately, many of the food dad’s habits are yet to be fully understood, (see: staring deeply into searing meats for extended periods of time) and much more work needs to be done on the subject if we’re to have a rounded, nuanced understanding of the life form.
Thankfully, though, your fearless VICE editors have done some crowdsourced digging into what makes the food dad tick. And, wouldn’t ya know it, just in time for Father’s Day. Psst. It’s June 20 this year. Our findings suggest that while grilling is a key facet of the food dad’s everyday life during the dry season, there’s so much more to their culinary prowess than flipping patties and searing steak. The modern food dad is a boulevardier, a true renaissance man capable of cuisine that far surpasses Americana comfort food. He uses the best spices from around the world and grinds them himself, all while telling you to “go long” so he can overthrow you a perfect spiral every time. You’ll catch it one day, bud. (You won’t.)
So don’t insult Dad by only getting him classic food dad grilling gear and drinkware (though obviously do get him those things, dads love that shit). Instead, get him a classic gift and some additional, sleek, modern-food-dad presents that say, Your burgers slap Dad, but your coq au vin is also the bomb.
He’s a stoner
What could be more major than presenting him with this orchestra of Le Creuset stoneware? It comes with an oval gratin pan, square baking dish, casserole (covered, too), and two mini cocottes for [drumroll] $200—plus, free shipping. Go for the heritage brand’s signature flame hue, because Dad is the flame tamer (duh).
He’s a skillet head
Big enough to cook a whole family of eggs, for your whole family of eggs. If you’re going to gift him more cast iron, make it a skillet that’s over a foot in diameter, for the shakshuka to end all shakshukas. Wrap up a cast iron seasoning/care kit to really sweep him off his Timberlands.
Bring the Catalina wine mixer to him
“Our California tasting flight will take you on a top-down tour of sun-drenched coasts and golden vineyards,” says In Good Taste about their medley of wines from the Golden State, which includes a pinot noir that tastes like “finally learning a TikTok dance,” a syrah with afternotes of “attending an open bar charity event,” a rosé like a “slip ‘n slide,” and five other bottles of personality. We love a company that knows how to bottle all our complexes, especially with such nice branding.
Just a crate of meat
Nothing says ILY like an Area 51-sized (I said what I said) crate of bacon that’s aggressively branded with “MAN CRATES,” just in case you had any doubts as to the target audience of Carnivore Candy Jalapeno Bacon. You’ll also get a bunch of maple bacon, bourbon bacon seasoning, hot pepper bacon jam, and peanut brittle for breaking in those veneers. Or, if Dad is more into the jerky these days, a “Dad-vent” calendar full of jerky (yes, yes, we know) might be the way to go.
He’s the Brawny Man
Dad needs a place to put his sammy, damnit. Ideally, a throne that feels Lumberjack Lite™ with a fold-out side-table, pockets for his papers, insulated beverage pockets, and a rustic plaid pattern reminiscent of all the times he didn’t take you to the lake, sport. Maybe this year!
A little personalization goes a long way
Hey! How’d you etch that on there? Boomer Food Dad will be most impressed. Also, now you’ll know which of the errant house glasses are his. Most decanters alone are going to cost you upwards of $50, so getting a personalized bottle and not two, but four glasses? Most impressive. Not like we’re looking for validation this Father’s Day, or anything. (But how else can we make it about us?)
Neither shaken, nor stirred
… Unless you’re making a Penicillin, perhaps. For a not-at-all nuanced explanation of Scotch lovers, you can pretty much lump them into peat-and-smoke heads (aka a campfire-esque, medicinal-in-a-good-way taste—think, Laphroaig 10) and those who tend to stick to the fruitier bottles that have a cleaner malt taste (Dalwhinnie 15, for example.) These two picks are good middle grounds for both camps, and neither will disappoint Dad.
The doomsday dad
You already know he’s down to grow his own sustenance. Just look at that beard. Start Dad off with these “sweet, velvety” (OK, Uncommon Goods) oyster mushrooms for his stir fries. It even comes with its own log.
Contain thine kebab
Remember that part of Inception where they’re all moving in slow motion over the grill, trying to catch the precious, perfectly ripe tomato-bell-pepper combo as it falls off the stick and onto the floor due to the weight of its plumpness? No more.
He will put this on everything
A chili crisp so perfect that it belongs on basically everything, so you might as well leave it out on the counter/table/nightstand. Founder and chef Max Boonthanakit envisioned a small-batch sauce that would pay homage to his “Thai/Chinese upbringing and culinary experience” with Boon, and damn did he succeed. “[It’s] just the right balance of heat and umami,” said the Munchies team.
Don’t judge his story, judge his swag
It’s no kiss the cook Levi’s-protector, but it’s just as dope-looking, and it’ll last a whole lot longer.
More options over at Hedley & Bennett starting at $73.00
The best way to get your daily serving of corn
Drinking your corn? Genius! The resurgence of the American bourbon scene is something that whiskey lovers of all kinds appreciate. Your bourbon-loving father will drool over this bottle of WT Rare Breed, if it’s not already on his shelf. (And if it is, he’ll appreciate the restock.) For a cheaper option, or for the dad just starting out on his whiskey-drinking journey, try the more affordable (but similarly delicious) Wild Turkey 101. The sizable amount of rye in the mash bill gives Wild Turkey a spicy backbone that balances out the sweet notes that are typical in most bourbons.
Your dad is George Wendt
Beneath the glow of the St. Pauli Girl light—that’s where you’ll find him. Stoic, serene, and holding court in the shag carpet basement with his set of personally branded beer glasses. We see this for him. We also see it for you (in a few decades).
Dad misses the Emerald Isle
Bainne na mbó ar na gamhna—but the juice of the barley for us, as well as for the Irish whiskey-loving dad. (Go ahead, pop that one into the Google machine, we’ll wait.) Redbreast 12 Year is a delicious example of some of the best characteristics that single pot still Irish Whiskey can bring to the table.
It’s raining pots and pans out there
Or was it cats and dogs? If it is, Dad doesn’t want them, since pets are a lot of work and he knows that he’ll be the one stuck taking care of them. What he will want is this starter set of quality pots and pans by Made In. It comes with three of the brand’s best-selling stainless steel products, as well as the Blue Carbon Steel Frying Pan (with accompanying Seasoning Wax).
Something fishy is going on here
Fish meat, contrary to Ron Swanson’s allegations, is not “practically a vegetable,” though it is both healthy and delicious. Give pops the gift of grilled fish (the greatest gift of all) with this flexible fish basket, which he can use to get a beautiful char on whatever he catches with his new ultra-light rod and reel combo from Ugly Stik. Plus, if you tack on a fun-sized thermometer, he can check the temperature of his fish to achieve perfect, fishy… fish.
Wry, just like Dad’s smile
You can’t go wrong with a glass of Michter’s. Spicier and less sweet than bourbon, American-made Michter’s US-1 Kentucky Straight Rye is nothing to scoff at—and you’d never guess it was this affordable. Enjoy it neat, on the rocks, or even [gasp] in a mixed drink.
Most of all, don’t forget to thank Dad for getting the most important bun in the oven—you!
The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story. VICE may receive a small commission if you buy through the links on our site.