Friday, September 25, 2015

In Memory of The Retro Cooking Guy...My Dad

In Loving Memory of Timothy Otto Melle
January 25, 1949-August 29, 2015

I have been given a task! A task far greater than I could have imagined!

This is my dad’s blog and he was so completely dedicated to this blog, and to all of you who have come back to read his words time and again.

My Dad, Timothy Otto Melle, passed away on Saturday August 29, 2015. He fought long and hard for many years with a number of ailments.  My Dad was loving, generous and caring, humorous and easy going with a heart of gold! In the time leading up to his passing he expressed the importance of family and friends. As a friend he was everything you could ask for and more. He has touched so many people’s lives over the years. Even people that never met my father are feeling his loss! As a Father and husband he went above and beyond!  It’s hard to imagine that he is gone and some days it doesn’t even feel real. One thing is for sure, he left an impression on many. He will always be remembered and will never be forgotten!

My name is Nicole and I am his second of four children. I am a Chef and my passion for cooking came from my father! I remember when I told him that I wanted to go to culinary school. I had already finished my four year degree but I still had not found my niche. When I told my parents that I wanted to go back to school they couldn’t have been more proud. I think my dad was excited because now I would have to cook for him! My dad came with me to the orientation at Kendall College and I was so excited to share this time with him. We ate great food and we went through and met fellow students and chef instructors. I believe that I was living his dream and that made me proud!

My Dad started a project many years ago that turned into a life project of love, dedication and food! Just a few weeks before he went back into the hospital, he finished his cookbook! “Cooking with Mom: Our Family & Friends.”  In 1998 on Christmas, my Dad gave his family a cookbook that included some of his mom’s most loved recipes. It was a small project of love, but nonetheless a project of LOVE! In 1999 he was inspired to create something more grand and magnificent! Little did we all know that 15 years later we would be saying, “Dad when are you going to be finished?” To which he would reply, “When I get some help from my family!” We did help. Maybe not in ways that he would have liked, but my Mother, my rock, my best friend, the Love of my Dad’s life helped every day and in every way! She cooked dinner every night and my dad took pictures of all the steps. This is what he wanted. He wanted to create a cookbook that included recipes from our family from around the world! He wanted someone to be able to pick up this book and make anything in it without a hitch.

If I ever get a chance to publish this book, I will. It meant so much to him and it means so much to us. This blog was his way of sharing some of those recipes and his love for food and the art of cooking and presentation with all of you. It really is something! There are 10 books ranging from breakfast to dessert. This man did it all and he included stories. I think this is unique and it just shows anyone who reads it his true character and the immense love he had for his family and friends.

It is unfortunate that we didn’t realize how special this book would be until the last couple of years when my Dad got really sick. It started off as a project that turned into an epic dedication of love.

In the last couple of months my Dad asked me if I would take over his blog. I was hesitant because even when he asked me to edit his or write my own I shied away. My biggest mistake is not making the time to sit down with him and learn what he had to share. I always thought I would have more time! There is one thing that my Dad had that I didn’t know I had until now….strength, determination and passion!

Before my Dad passed away he told me that if I was going to take over this blog I had deadlines that I needed to meet. He told me to post every first and fifteenth. Well, I have screwed that up, haven’t I? It has been so hard to try and find the words to express to you all what my dad meant to me. We had a special bond and one that I will cherish always. My love for cooking and creating is an extension of his passion. Who else could watch hours of Food Network and not get sick of it? I could and we did! 

Sausage Gravy & Buscuits
My Dad's all time favorite Breakfast!
Anyone that has been to our house for breakfast has also probably also enjoyed this fantastic meal at one time or another!

As I sit at this computer I am finding more and more treasures that he left behind. I knew that there was a file specifically for me that contained hundreds of recipes that he has collected for me. There are even blogs that he has saved for editing that he wanted me to complete. What I didn’t know is that there are hundreds of other files that he left for us to find once he was gone. He has poems, stories, letters and pictures for each and every one of us (his wife and children) to read and reflect upon and carry with us forever.

I will do my best to keep this blog up because I know how much it meant to my Dad and to all of our family and friends and to you. It may not seem like a lot but he was excited to see his page views grow and to find out that more and more people all over the world were reading his blog.

It is true that you never know what you have until it is gone. I knew that I loved my dad and that he was such an important part of my everyday life. I knew that we shared a passion and a love for food and cooking. I knew that my dad was sick and that eventually he would lose the fight. What I did not know is how much of a void there would be. Who would I call every day when I took a break at work? Who would I go out to breakfast with on my days off?  Who would call me at the crack of dawn and tell me that I needed to get up to look at the Sun? He did this to me all the time! My one day off and it never failed, dad texting or calling me to see that I was awake and not sleeping my life away. As much as that drove me nuts, I am going to miss those early calls and texts.

There are many of you out there that don’t know my Dad personally but those that have read this blog and come back have an idea of the kind of man that he was. In one of his first blogs he said that he wasn’t a writer and he wasn’t a chef. I am not a blogger! This will be a learning experience for me. I am going to try and meet his deadlines but if I don’t I will always try to post something for all of you. This may take a turn and become something of my own, but I will always write with him in mind!
I love you to the Moon and back Dad

And I’ll forever and always be Daddy’s Little Girl

P.S. If you can read this up in Heaven please do! 

© TMelle 2014


mhalperin said...

Lovely post, Nicole! Can't tell you how fondly I remember your dad...and that sausage gravy and biscuits!

1smartcanerican™ said...

What a wonderful in honor of your Dad. He was obviously a great father and husband - and he loved to share his world with other. He lived a full and wonderful life.