A parade for the ages

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The turf.

The prize money.

The hotels.

The models with medals.

The unending parade of bullshit.

It's what makes this so damn sweet.

They hold down second jobs. Even the stars live with host families. They play their biggest tournament on turf, while their own organization lays down millions of dollars in sod for even the lowliest of one-day men's friendlies.

The men's teams have to overcome other countries.

The women's teams, all of them, have to first overcome their own.

Yet, the ratings told the story. The final was the most watched soccer game in US history, men's or women's, and we once again have an answer to the question we already know: Are women's sports not on because no one watches, or does no one watch because they're not on?

Show the games.

Show the games and people watch, people watch in astounding, record-breaking numbers. People will watch in numbers that destroy the championships of other sports.

Show the games and watch as sons and daughters stand and cheer and shake their fists in wild celebrations.

I usually have a pretty good handle on perspective when it comes to sports. I enjoy them as much as the next person but realize there are more important issues in the world, and sports are just a fun diversion that allow you to cheer.

Except, of course, for this team. Which is how I ended up in the ER after O'Hara's goal, because I jumped up and flailed around and smashed my elbow through a glass door pane, requiring 12 stitches and countless hours of whining.

This team, and women's soccer in general, feels almost linked to something deeper -- which is why we show up at high school and college games, or watch shitty, pirated youtube feeds of our national team when the men's team is usually aired on national TV, or why we travel to support the NWSL. (I still predict the Dash will take it, and I think Carli and Morgan just proved my point.) It feels like it's linked somehow to all the endless parades of bullshit women face in society in general -- blame FIFA if you want, but apparently we're OK as a society with lower pay for the same job regardless of the profession. It shouldn't be surprising.

So the victory feels like something more, because you know behind the scenes from youth teams to the national teams to the world cup tournament itself, these women had to overcome obstacles just never faced or even fathomed by the men's side.

We happened to be in New York this week, and so of course we went to the parade. Of course. Emme and I managed to slip into a miraculously uncrowded spot near City Hall and just about chatted with some players. Alex Morgan told us she wouldn't be playing with the Thorns today. Heather O'Reilly appreciated Emme's #9 jersey ("I didn't want to tell her it's Vero's.")

To stand there and hear the deafening roar of the parade crowds, to feel the sidewalks and rails groan under the weight of chanting, cheering throngs of firework bedecked mobs, to watch as women are paraded as heroes for their amazing abilities, it's something I'm sure we'll both remember for a long time to come as a moment that just felt so damn sweet.

The perfect summer grilling recipe: honey bourbon flank steak

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Have you ever had a recipe transport you to a different time and place?

For me, it's a flank steak. Marinated with sweet honey and bourbon. Grilled. Eaten on a beach with friends.

To this day, this food memory hits me every time I go shopping for our first barbecue of the summer.

Here's how the personal barbecue tradition began.

I was in high school and some friends and I skipped class to hit the beach. (Shocker, mom, I know.)

But first, meat. We planned a barbecue and a friend said he had just the thing.

He raided his family's fridge and I watched as he tossed a thin flank steak into a Ziploc and then proceeded to pour in gobs of honey, soy sauce, and bourbon. A few smashed garlic gloves, skin and all. A copious sprinkling of salt and pepper. And finally, for the last touch, rough-chopped ginger -- again, skin and all.

By the time we were ready to barbecue on the beach, the meat was just perfectly stewed.

I've eaten a lot of meat in my day -- I mean, a lot; it's practically a weekly tradition to cook steak while Dana and Emme are out riding on Saturdays -- but to this day, that steak remains my favorite.

When barbecue season rolls around, I replicate it a few times each summer, and I wanted to share it with you now because food this delicious should be shared.

If you can, find the best, richest, darkest honey you can find. A nice, full-bodied buckwheat honey adds an earthy, rich charm to this dish and helps provides an almost crispy, charred crust on the end bits of the flank steak. It's a beautiful counterpoint to the more savory tastes of soy and garlic and just provides this yin yang, sweet salty component that will have you drooling.

School's out. The weather is getting hotter, even for San Francisco. It's almost time to break this one out again.

I can't wait.

After you give it a go, you won't be able to wait for summer either. It's really so easy and fun that your kids can do it.

Here's what you need

1 flank steak. About a pound.

1/2 soy sauce (I prefer low sodium)

1/2 cup bourbon

3 enormous squeezes or dollops of honey

6 crushed garlic cloves (just rip them from the head, smash with the side of a knife and rough chop a little bit, skin and all)

3 ounces ginger, rough chopped, skin and all.

Salt and pepper

1 big Ziploc bag

1 summer barbecue set up -- or grill pan on the stove if you must

Here's what you do

1. Toss all your ingredients in the bag, seal, shake and massage and then leave to marinate for a few hours.

2. Barbecue it. To me, this means seared over super hot coals until crusted on the outside and perfectly medium rare on the inside. Takes just a few minutes per side. Flip a few times. Done.

3. Let it rest for a few minutes. Then, eat it. Eat it all. I've learned to buy bigger flank steaks than I think I need, because I always end up slicing off extra bits for me while everyone gets seated.

The National Honey Board is partnering with me and providing cash money for honey in this campaign. Be sure to follow along on my Facebook page for updates about the #HoneyBeeBQ campaign.

World Cup or bust

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Busy few days here.

Emme moves on to fourth grade tomorrow.

Relatives fly in.

Today Show arrives in afternoon for a Father's Day segment.

USWNT plays at 5.

We fly out to Vancouver to see them play next week.

This is Emme getting ready by pretending to be Julie Johnston in the backyard.

In a few days, we'll get to see this action in person.

Life?

Is crazy fun.

Can't wait.

What's up, honey?

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In our house, I'm not just the chief cook; I'm also the chief experimenter.

So I was pretty stoked to get a chance to fly to New York earlier in the year to attend a luncheon and watch a cooking demonstration by Chef David Guas for the National Honey Board (who also has a cookbook out now -- it's pretty cool and worth a look).

The whole idea of the demonstration was about using honey more in home cooking while the audience analyzed Guas’ Backyard NOLA Honey Swingers (photo above), because good god man, they were delicious.

They've become our go-to party drink since the New York trip.

Guas, who works with the National Honey Board, is a bit of a honey nut. He said he uses dozens of different varietals at home. Up until the trip, I had really only used honey in occasional recipes or just drizzled on yogurt. (I agreed to take part in this because I do use honey all the time to get through grueling workouts, and even completed the Escape from Alcatraz triathlon using only honey as my natural energy booster.)

But Guas convinced me to experiment more with honey at home, and I have to say: It works. Big time.

I started tinkering around with honey as the chief sweetener in my marinades, sauces, and dressings. It's really brought out a flavor profile I wasn't expecting -- adding an earthy and sometimes heavy component to grilled meats. It helped create a syrupy layer and just tasted better all around. I've been particularly taken with finding buckwheat honey. It's dark and rich and reminds me of fields and earth -- you can just taste a difference. It's been my perfect helper for his Asian Grilled Tri-Tip with Honey recipe.

Over the next few months, I'll be posting a few family recipes I've tweaked to include honey instead of another sweetener. I also hope to take Emme out to an apiary near my hometown. I'm pretty excited about this adventure because I've always been a big fan of honey but I've only really been using it for a few purposes. I hope you follow along. And I hope you do try out Guas' Backyard NOLA Honey Swingers, and his book. It's really pretty cool and Guas is a good dude who talked about letting his kids help out in the kitchen. Sold.

The National Honey Board is partnering with me in this campaign, providing compensation with a chance to fly out to New York to learn more about cooking with honey. And be sure to follow along on my Facebook page for updates about the #HoneyBeeBQ campaign.

Father's Day three pack book giveaway

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And so it all begins.

Again.

I'm incredibly proud to bring you my third book: Dad's Awesome Book of Recipes -- everything you need to put the kids in charge of cooking.

As a special promo, I'll be giving away a signed three-pack of books every week until Father's Day.

Simply share this post on Facebook or leave a comment below by Thursday at noon PST and I'll randomly select a winner of the cook book, the craft book, and the science book -- everything you need for a summer of fun with the kids.

But now back to the cook book.

It's designed to read together and then let the kids have their turn at the stove, or microwave, or blender -- whatever you're comfortable letting them use for the moment. Jam packed with dozens of recipes, it's got everything you need for a quick snack or a family meal.

But even better ... it has guests!

Special guests!

I reached out to a few of my favorite dads I know are handy in the kitchen and asked them to contribute some recipes that they like to make with the kiddos, so a big hats off to Jason Sperber, Whit Honea, Doyin Richards, Chris Routly. Their recipes are delicious and fun to make, and I'm just pleased to have my name attached anywhere near theirs.

I'll be writing about more recipes in the book, but here is one of my favorites to get you started: the 5-minute microwave chocolate chip cookie.

It's easy, delicious, and incredibly fun to make. I have kids over for a play date and almost as soon as they walk in the door, they say, "Can we make the cookie?!"

It's a family hit. Enjoy.