Ever since Michael Symon was a boy growing up in Cleveland, football and cooking have gone hand in hand. “Every weekend throughout my childhood, Pap would come pick me up,” he says, referring to his grandfather Preston “Sy” Symon. “We would buy food at the West Side Market, then go back to his house and spend all day cooking and watching football on TV.”
Pap worked as a pipe fitter during the week, but on weekends, he taught Michael the fundamentals of pierogi, sausage, chicken-and-dumpling soup and other staples of his Ukrainian heritage. These lessons—and a big, food-loving family in which all the men were great cooks—were a critical influence in Symon’s life.
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