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My dad was the best cook I know. We spent 2 - 3 hours at a time in the kitchen, watching movies (or Jeopardy) on TV and crafting beautiful meals. After having spent years in Japan, some of his favorite meals to cook were on the wok. We'd often visit the Vietnamese grocery stores in Little Saigon and get our meat and spices the night before, marinating them overnight for richer flavor. That day, we'd cut a variety of peppers, black beans, and garlic and warm up the wok over propane. I have vivid memories of singeing all the hair off my arms from the flames, or crying from the heat of the capsaicin.
My dad also taught me how to make the best burger around, mixing beef and pork in the right proportion to give the burger a fatty and more succulent flavor. Both of us devoured garlic like candy, so adding that was a natural and welcome addition.