A Trip Across the Language Barrier

August 1, 2013

Hello, Readers! I’m linking up with MamaKat today answering the prompt: Tell us about the first time you heard a parent cuss.

This post won’t be new to all of you, but it’s perfect for the prompt and one of my favorite memories. Hope it makes you smile. And then make burgers.



Mama’s Losin’ It


In my house, growing up, Daddy was the sole master of the grill. Nobody else in the family touched it.

I, personally, was afraid of the thing. It arrived, unassembled, in a gi-normous box one Spring day, and Daddy vowed to put it together on the weekend. The box boasted that the grill only took about an hour (with minimal tools) to assemble.

Well, it took Daddy about six hours to put together. I remember riding my tricycle around the neighborhood and passing by our garage, and there was Daddy, counting screws, re-reading directions, throwing screwdrivers across the garage in frustration.

I’d ride into the garage on occasion, just to check on him. It was pretty swell entertainment, actually.

As dusk approached, I parked my tricycle in the garage, stood by Daddy for a few minutes and then went inside for some Hi-C.

“Is your father still out there?” Mama asked.
“Uh-huh,” I said, gulping my juice.
“It’s not ladylike to swill like that, Miss,” Mama reminded.
“Sorry.” I put down my glass. “Hey Mama?”
“What does ‘Goddamnsonofabitch’ mean?”
My mother put down her potato peeler and looked at me sternly. “Now just where did you hear that word, Miss?”
Wide-eyed, I pointed to the garage. “Daddy said it. He’s talkin’ to the barbeque.”

Daddy did, eventually, get it put together, but there were a few mysterious stray screws lying around that nettled him.

With all of the effort it took to assemble that grill, you’d think Daddy would’ve given more thought to his grilling technique. Alas, he never did.

Daddy would cheerfully take out a plate of juicy chops or plump burgers, plop them on the grill, and then get distracted. He’d start pulling weeds, or putzing with the garden hose, and that was that. Even when Mama remembered to set the timer, he’d somehow manage to overcook whatever foodstuff graced that grill.

Diligently, we’d chew our way through burgers the consistency of hockey pucks, slathering on copious amounts of Heinz 57 sauce.

Daddy cooked “Puck Burgers” for most of my childhood. He’s gotten better at the grilling thing with age; perhaps because he’s not so easily distracted anymore. Or perhaps because he got a new grill a while back–a pre-assembled one.

Anyways, the following recipe is an old one. I’m not sure where Mama got it, but it greatly reduced the chance of us getting “Puck Burgers” for dinner. The egg, water, cheese and herbs add moisture to the meat, so even if you cook them a little South of where you like, you won’t need that bottle of Heinz 57.

Brazilian Hamburgers*
makes 4

1 pound lean ground beef
1/4 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup finely chopped green onion
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon ice water
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
dash cayenne

Mix all ingredients together; shape into 4 patties. Grill 4 minutes per side or until desired doneness. Serve bunless, or open-faced.

Personally, I like mine topped with a little onion jam (Boar’s Head) and a sprinkling of Parmesan.

* I do not know where these burgers got their name. As far as I can tell, there’s nothing inherently “Brazilian” in the recipe. All of the ingredients are pretty plebian. Perhaps it’s because the burger is served bunless/topless? Would a recipe dare to be that racy in the early 70’s? Your guess is as good as mine.

{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

dauneobrien August 1, 2013 at 7:06 am

What I extra love about this? I can really “hear” you saying it in that dreamy voice. Nostalgia is magic.


Lisa @ The Meaning of Me August 1, 2013 at 7:20 am

Um, yeah, I do want burgers now. The first time I heard my Grandfather swear was a very similar story except he did it in German which made it sound all the more angry.


TKW August 1, 2013 at 7:38 pm


Did he call someone a “dumbkoft?”


Lisa @ The Meaning of Me August 3, 2013 at 12:33 pm

Definitely heard that one. And Gottverdammt made appearances every so often.


Biz August 1, 2013 at 9:03 am

We lived in a town house growing up, so there was no room for a bbq – although when we went on vacation that’s where I tasted good grilled meat – of course, back then, all I liked was hot dogs, but still to get one that was half charred on one side and half uncooked on the other – priceless!

And look at me now – I have a gas grill, a Weber, and a smoker! :D


SuziCate August 1, 2013 at 4:17 pm

Love it! My daddy very seldom barbequed, but you better bet when he did cussing was defintely involved…he was usually chasing the dog away from the grill!


TKW August 1, 2013 at 7:49 pm


We had a lethargic, very addled beagle named Bugle. He couldn’t have stolen anything from the grill to save his life.


Jane August 1, 2013 at 5:43 pm

Delicious story. Delicious recipe. I love your twofers! (hugs)


Mary @ A Teachable Mom August 1, 2013 at 6:01 pm

Yum! I’ll take the burger even if it comes with some cussing. I’m a cusser and I can’t wait til my kids write their first memory of me! Great post! And wonderful meeting you at BlogHer last weekend.


TKW August 1, 2013 at 7:41 pm


I cuss in front of my kids and they don’t throw a single swear. Well, except for once. Miss M. was 5 and her brother was tickling her and she blurted out, “Why are you such a fukin’ weirdo?”

I am full of pride.


TKW's Dad August 1, 2013 at 6:26 pm

Yes, and those weren’t the only words I uttered that day. I hope you didn’t hear the others, although judging from some of your blogs you must have heard them then, or maybe later:-). However, I think somehow Dad’s seem to think they have earned the right to cuss, because we tend to transport the words to watching TV, or sporting events too. But to an unskilled engineer, cussing is very important!


TKW August 1, 2013 at 7:45 pm


If cussing is your worst sin, you deserve a golden ticket. To anywhere.

ps: you did good with the cussing unless the referee in hockey or football made blatant mistakes. Remember how you threw your neck out hollering at that hockey ref? Pure greatness, Daddy-o. Love you to the moon and back.


Katybeth August 1, 2013 at 7:05 pm

Poor Dads cussed with having to assemble everything from barbecues to batman toys, to those impossible baby car seats and strollers that warn them that if they miss a screw their child WILL DIE. All men should be absolved from the swear jars when faced with the task of assemble. My Dad would always swear when he hit his head on the hanging light above the Christmas tree when he was putting up the lights (another thankless task)–Soon the hit head and the GD became a tradition that meant the Christmas season had began!
Those burgers look great! The story was FUN.


TKW August 1, 2013 at 7:46 pm


You need to tell those stories. I want to hear every word.


Alison August 1, 2013 at 8:28 pm

Hah! I love your stories of your Dad.
Also, juicy burger, yum.


Arnebya August 2, 2013 at 9:34 am

Totally making this with turkey. Totally.


Barbara August 2, 2013 at 2:00 pm

My dad never swore. Ever. About anything. And once, when I was little, I said the word HELL at the dinner table (having no idea what it meant) and when asked where I heard it, implicated my older sister. Didn’t mean to, didn’t know it was a bad word. Unfortunately, we both got spanked.
My dad spanked. Hard. And I nearly always wet my pants, which now that I think about it, breaks me up.


TKW August 5, 2013 at 10:44 am


Just thinking about it breaks me up! :(


Kat August 3, 2013 at 6:11 pm

Puck burgers? Oh my gosh this whole post just has me cracking up. You are such a great story teller!


Rob August 4, 2013 at 10:22 am

Honestly, I cannot remember the first time I heard a parent cuss. It’s funny that you went in and asked your mother. Did your father get in trouble?

My first memory of an adult cussing is the Reverend Father McDade. With a strong Irish accent, he called me and two of my friends “little bitches”. When we were supposed to be in Catechism class, we were in the girls bathroom, locking the doors and crawling out from underneath. He caught us. I guess we were giggling a little to long and too loud. But, we didn’t do any damage, like clogging toilets or leaving water to run from the sinks to the floor. We locked the stall doors. Big deal. I couldn’t believe it. Priests cussed. I later learned that they also smoke and drink. I am no longer a Catholic. It is because of Father McDade, but a totally different story. I was not ex-communicated :)


TKW August 5, 2013 at 10:46 am


I love that your first memory of a cuss came from a priest! That. Is. Awesome.


Jennifer August 5, 2013 at 10:42 am

I love all Daddy-O stories. Even if they are repeats.


Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes August 6, 2013 at 4:17 am

My father is from Antwerp, they have some of the best swearwords/expressions in the whole of Belgium such as : ‘He has a face to file shit on’ for a very ugly person. Not surprisingly I first heard him swear when he was driving. And even less surprisingly I swear a lot while driving too.


TKW August 19, 2013 at 7:10 am


i am totally stealing that swear!


Tiffany August 10, 2013 at 7:44 pm

I love the name if its because its topless.


ReneeJay August 18, 2013 at 9:36 pm

Hockey Puck Burgers? Now there’s a first. LOL I love how you shared a childhood memory as a lead in to a recipe. Food and memories… A perfect combination. :-)


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