We're not sure how you spent your indeterminably long traumatic time period between 2020 and 2021, but we were binging The Sopranos for the eight millionth time. Night after night, we watched Paulie and Christopher get lost in the woods, rooted for Carmela and Furio to just make out already, and indulged the thorny protagonism of Tony in all his toxic male glory. Now, here we are, in 2023, gathering at our favorite red sauce restaurants, sharing charcuterie plates, re-watching The Sopranos (again); and some of us see a little Tony in our own dysfunctional, old-school fathers. Dads: They're complicated!
Father's Day is just around the corner, and it's got us contemplating and appreciating the complex nature of the dad figures in our lives, whether those dads are bathrobed mobsters, good-natured accountants, or not technically dads at all. Should your personal papa fall into the former category, here are some suggestions on how to make them kiss their fingertips with glee come Sunday. Here are the best gifts for dads who have strong opinions about lasagna composition and make sporting a signet ring on their pinky look sexy.
For the salami king
Roses are red, violets are blue, I'd really like to eat some cured meat with you. For a Certain Type of Dad, you just can't go wrong with a bouquet of salami. Carnivore Club has several salami cornucopias that will raise your dad's spirits (and probably his blood pressure, but whatever), including the Complete Box Sampler—which includes two types of cured meats plus three to four pairings like mustard, cheese, jams, nuts, pickled goods, and more. Harry & David also has a deluxe charcuterie assortment that will last your insatiable father at least… I don’t know… a week? Just make sure he keeps an eye on his blood pressure.
Of course, the gabagool
A couple of years ago, Esquire writer Dom Nero asked (and answered), "What the Hell is 'Gabagool,' and Why Does Tony Soprano Talk About It All the Time?" The short answer is that "gabagool" is a Jerseyfied, bastardized way of saying "capicola," which is a traditional Italian cured ham. If you're sadly bereft of a local deli where you can emphatically gesture while begging for some cold cuts, you can get premium Primanti Bros. sandwiches online from Goldbelly. If you order soon, they’ll be there by Father's Day, so nobody can say “But what, no gabagool???”.
If he's more of the slice-it-yourself type, you can get a whole 2.5-pound hot coppa on Amazon, because of course you can.
For the grill boss
Tony is known to hit the grill, perhaps with a cigar dangling from his lips and his chest hair greeting guests from beneath his button-down. And what would any self-respecting waste management consultant be turning o'er the flames? Hot Italian pork sausage, duh. Rastelli's has the good stuff.
Complete the spread [claps in your face]
OK, you've got your salume and your gabagool—but as much as eating cold cuts straight out of the fridge is a joy that both our fathers and Tony enjoy partaking in, sometimes you want to create a proper plate with additional fixings.
Buying an entire wheel of Parmigiano Reggiano ain't cheap—in fact, it can cost you up to or more than $3,000, like this bad boy from Williams-Sonoma. If you can afford paying that in the name of cheese, we salute you. However, you can snag an eighth of a wheel—that's still 10 pounds of cheese!—for less than 200 bucks, which is far more reasonable. And this is 24-month, top-grade shit! It's sold in smaller increments, too, but we like to say go big or go home.
Of course, if you just want a replica of a giant wheel of cheese, that's an option, too.
If you're going full sodium bomb bliss, you've gotta go all in with some olives. We're big fans of briny, buttery Castelvetranos, which you can blessedly buy in bulk, straight from an organic Sicilian farm where they're picked by hand. Watch out for pits!
Crown the garlic king
Please do not forget to bless your pop scampi with some heirloom Italian bulbs or a grinder to make smashing garlic easier than hiding a gun.
Smoking is bad, we swear
Alright, listen. Smoking kills, blah blah blah. Now that we've established that, we can move on to what really matters—how cool smoking accessories can look, from ashtrays to lighters to humidors. Get Big Daddy a custom travel humidor.
Sheets fit for the Boss
Your dada would never pronounce it "Ver-says"—but he would swaddle himself in an entire bedding seat emblazoned with that iconic Medusa imagery. (Are these bootleg? Definitely. Will anyone care? Not really.)
A Cuban-style shirt
Tony's known for his dazzling array of polos, camp collars and button-up shirts—many of them featuring color-blocking, abstract prints, and optical designs. All of these knit styles look as good at the bar as they do at the casino, at a parent-teacher conference, or on the golf course.
A bathrobe for the big boys
This bathrobe comes in generous dimensions, and “has been the spa robe of choice for [five-star hotels] for more than three decades,” and is perfect for throwing over an undershirt and briefs before shuffling outside to grab the paper.
An Adidas tracksuit
This is a must. Available in sizes up to 2XL—and, oh look, on sale right now just for your pops.
The signet ring his pinky deserves
Every gold-chain-sporting father with a mysterious career is entitled to a large, bejeweled pinky ring upon which those around him can affix their gaze as he gestures wildly during storytelling. We don't make the rules.
A hat for when you’re not at the club
Maybe you’re not ready for a trip to the strip joint with Dad, but this hat lets him know you support his habit.
Shaving accoutrements of the gods
We're referring, of course, to a barbershop-grade straight razor—a bit of a learning curve to use, but way more impressive than a disposable Bic, and less prone to butchering your face than you might think—and the iconic Italian aftershave known as Proraso, which implements witch hazel and menthol to soothe and cool the skin after Dada shears his face nice 'n' smooth.
His favorite pastime is reading the paper, parked out front of the local deli
A timeless classic.
A stay at a Tuscan villa
The final boss of gifts for Tony/Uncle Paulie/any special man in your life. Il Sartino is a Tuscan farmhouse where you'll be surrounded by green Tuscan hills and animals and even served homemade meals upon request.
Il Sartino, $37/night on Airbnb
All due respect, you got no fucking idea what it's like to be Number One. But that's why we salute Daddy. He takes care of business. Now pass the gabagool.
The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story. Want more reviews, recommendations, and red-hot deals? Sign up for our newsletter.