We're not sure what you were doing for the last 462 days whilst quarantined, sheltered-in-place, or just glued to your couch in a state of pandemic depression, 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, on June 17, 2021, in a newly reopened, mostly vaccinated America (or New Jersey suburb, if you will), reemerging in a time when we can actually hug our parents, gather at our favorite red sauce restaurants, and even share a charcuterie plate—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.
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), from their Father's Day Artisanal Gift Box—which also includes two types of cheese, garlic pepper mustard, and Rustic Bakery olive oil sourdough—to a five-salami Tempesta collection.
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. They might arrive after Father's Day, 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 in which both we and Tony enjoy partaking, 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 a quarter wheel—that's still 18 pounds of cheese!—for $300, 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.
And 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 a giant jar of minced garlic. Or anyone. Who doesn't want three pounds of garlic? [French kisses Mr. Kirkland.]
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 the Manhattan.
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. But will anyone care? Not really.)
A Cuban guayabera shirt with a special touch
Tony's known for his dazzling array of button-up shirts—many of them featuring color-blocking, abstract prints, and optical designs. This one from Reiss looks as good at the bar as it does at the casino, at a parent-teacher conference, or on the golf course.
[Editor’s note: Well, that sold out quickly. Here’s another one from Reiss that Tony would approve of—and this one’s price is knocked down big time on sale, kid.]
A bathrobe for the big boys
"Designed for a relaxing luxurious experience," this bathrobe comes in generous dimensions for the "big and tall" crowd, and is perfect for throwing over an undershirt and briefs before he shuffles 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 and he gestures wildly during storytelling. We don't make the rules.
Shaving accoutrements of the gods
We're referring, of course, to a barbershop-grade straight razor—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.
For posting up in front of the deli and muttering to himself while reading the newspaper and eating gabagool
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, $36/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. Happy Father's Day.
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