Because the Man Who Raised You Deserves More than a Tie

My dad hates Father's Day. He hates making a fuss. He's one of those dads who thinks if you can't appreciate him every day, don't waste the effort on Father's Day. He's also one of those guys who says, "Oh, I don't need any presents. I have everything I need," and that can't be true, because he isn't the proud owner of a Karubecue or a puppy dog-grizzly bear hybrid.

One year, after he bought a Tahoe, we got my dad a gift pack of Armor All. Another year, we got him a weed trimmer. Look, Dad, chores! You love chores! Thanks for sticking around through my childhood and reliably paying off the mortgage. Wait until this year, when I give you a pack of dryer sheets and a sponge.

If you want to show your dad you love him, here is a list of things to get him. If you need something more foolproof, here is a list of food gifts to give him. After all, assuming your dad isn't dead, he's eaten something nearly every day you've ever known him.

Something Sweet, but not from Walmart's "Bakery" Because You Forgot About Father's Day. My dad loves cake and brownies more than his wife and children and Savior. What's unfair is that he can eat three slices of cheesecake for breakfast and stay slender. But instead of passing on those genes, I just got his dark hair and unattached ear lobes.

I've ordered brownies from American Brownie Company before, and besides being crazy rich and some pleasing, less-cliché word that means delectable crossed with super-delicious, they're the size and weight of bricks. Wonderful, ganache-smothered, liquor-laced bricks. When the brownies arrived, my dad kept sniffing the box like a bomb dog. This year, if dryer sheets don't go on sale, I'll get him an assortment of brownies and toss them in the back yard for him to gnaw on.

You would think the quality would suffer in the time it takes to ship four dozen brownies and blondies from Florida to Texas, but no. Or I don't know, because they were so overwhelmingly good that the communication shut off between my taste buds and my brain.

Alternatively, you could support a local Dallas bakery, if you feel like putting on pants and walking out the door.

Talking Remote Meat Thermometer My dad is a dad, and so he enjoys grilling. To help him out, here's a talking meat thermometer that lets you know when meat is thoroughly cooked. It can even tell temperatures on a variety of meats, so no guest will eat something that gives them food poisoning or tastes like shoe leather.

Besides the talking feature (eliminating the need for reading glasses), this gadget has a belt clip, and dads love things with belt clips. My dad would clip his house to his belt if he could.

This Sandwich Look at this sandwich. To obtain this sandwich, you'll have to make a run out to Ohio, but at least it will be "The year the Mavericks won and an Ohio deli renamed their Lebron sandwich, and my kids took me to Ohio to eat it," and not "The year Brooke got my a weed whacker and a rock flew up and almost severed my eye in half because she didn't bother to buy me goggles."

And sure, that sandwich probably has enough fat and sodium to make every year after that "The year I got an Edible Arrangement and a box of Cheerios to prevent my heart from exploding," but still. Look at it!

Whiskey Stones Although the name kind of sounds like something that hardens in your kidneys after years of drinking, and it might be a better idea to actually get Dad a bottle of whiskey (and for that, see the other post), I'm thrilled at the opportunity to give a literal interpretation of bar slang. These rocks are designed to absorb just enough heat that the whiskey is slightly chilled and the flavors open up. My dad doesn't drink, and I'm no chemist, but certainly Coke Zero works similar to whiskey. Slightly chilled, flavor notes and all that.

The thing is, these are only $20, and the college education your dad paid for was a lot more than that. So either get your dad a bunch of stones or that bottle of whiskey we talked about. Do that even if you put yourself through college, because if you did, then you know the value of a dollar and you know better. Don't be cheap. He's your dad.

A Restaurant on One of the Inevitable "Still Haven't Made Father's Day Plans Yet?" Lists That Will Pop Up Shortly In my waitressing experience, Father's Day isn't the cutting-and-shooting jamboree that is Mother's Day. My restaurants are stupidly overrun on Mother's Day, but Father's Day is usually a manageable very busy.

Still, if you want to take Dad out to eat, go sometime during the week before or after. Instead of waiting 45 minutes for a booth in a crowded lobby with everyone else's red-faced, crumpled-polo-wearing dad, the dining experience will be much more relaxed. Eating out with your dad will be a treat, not a hard-won relief. Sunday afternoon will be easier and much more pleasant, and nobody will yell at the On The Border hostess for messing up quote times. Nobody in your family, anyway.

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Brooke Nottingham

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