• 41°

A dinner dedicated to Dad

Honoring a father

Roger Todd Morton

Roger Todd Morton

Seth Morton, the sous chef at Morgan Ridge Vineyards, is a young man with big dreams.

He’s passionate about cooking and food, and passionate about his wife, Jana, and his mother and brother Derek and his late father, Roger Todd Morton.

“My Dad was my best friend,” Seth says. They went fishing together and hunting together and worked in the family contracting business together.

But Roger had health problems. “He had diabetes real bad,” Seth says. “And he had kidney problems.”

Seth was in high school when his father started having serious medical issues.”He was the toughest man I’ve ever known.”

He remembers his father throwing up every morning, then going to work as a contractor. Seth’s grandfather started the business, and his son was his best friend, too.

“He liked working with Grandad. Dad learned to be quiet and listen.”

The family moved to Stanly County because one of Seth’s grandmothers lived there and they would be closer to Wake Forest Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem, where Roger was being treated.

It was there he had the kidney transplant in 2011. Seth remembers his father felt better immediately, but his mother took a long time recovering from the removal of her kidney.

For about two years, Roger Morton took “lots of medication, like anti-rejection drugs” and then things started going downhill again.

Seth and Jana were engaged in 2011, and married in June 2013. Shortly after that, he learned his father was not doing well. “God has a plan for everything,” Seth says. “We may not understand it at the time.”

His father gave him his clan kilt — Mortons are part of the Douglas clan — just in case something happened to him.

Seth and Jana went to Alaska for their honeymoon — somewhere his father had always wanted to go. Roger got sicker and sicker. Then he had a stroke. He was at Baptist Hospital for 11 days. Seth’s mother had to go back to work as a teacher. Seth stayed with him on his days off and tried to do things for him, like take him for a haircut. “Dad wasn’t himself. He didn’t want to wait. He wanted a cheeseburger. Now I knew he wasn’t supposed to have it, but I got him a cheeseburger.”

The decline came quickly. On Oct. 12, 2013, at 3 a.m., Seth got a call. His mother was hysterical. She’d never seen Roger in so much pain. When Seth drove to their gated development, the gates were broken down. There was an ambulance and a firetruck in front of his house. Paramedics were doing CPR.

“I just knew he was not in that body anymore,” Seth said. Still, “it was the most sick feeling I’ve ever had in my life. … There were so many things left unsaid.

“To this day there is a void in my heart. He was my hero. I looked up to him. I think about it every day.”

Seth worked at Old North State country club for a chef who said little and spent little time in the kitchen. Seth was frustrated that they couldn’t work together, that he got nothing but negative feedback. His Dad told him to shut up or do something about it. So when Jason Nain asked him to come work at Morgan Ridge, Seth went. Jason showed him how to do things, then let him do it on his own. “His passion for food reawakened mine,” Seth says.

So much so, that after a while in the kitchen, Jason told Seth he could make up a menu to dedicate to his father as one of Morgan’ Ridge’s Wine Down Friday nights.

Roger Todd Morton’s name is prominent on the menu, with his birth and death dates.

This is not just a labor of love, but a celebration.

The menu starts with a Scotch Egg, a hard-boiled egg wrapped in sausage, breaded and browned, with an herb sauce.

It’s followed by a velvety tattie, onion and fresh haddock soup. Tattie is the Scottish word for potato, and the recipe comes from a fishing town in Scotland. With it will be smoked salmon with a Cheshire Dressed Salad (Cheshire was home to the Mortons at one time)

A sorbet made from IRN-BRU, a popular Scottish soft drink said to have 32 flavors, will cleanse the palate.

Then diners have a choice of sea bass and scallop rollmop — a traditional rollmop used herring rolled around onion or something pickled, or a Scottish Gigot Lamb, a herb-roasted leg of lamb topped with fire roasted peppers and portabello salsa, served with a sauce of chocolate-infused balsamic vinegar.

If you can squeeze dessert in after all that, it will be shortbread with Cranachan Whipped Cream and Raspberries, a traditional Scottish dessert. Cranachan is made with whiskey soaked toasted outmeal, whipped cream and honey.

And when you see Seth, clad in his father’s kilt, you may see a tear in his eye, and a twinkle, too.

Comments

Local

Scout’s Honor: With dedication of flag retirement box, Salem Fleming earns Eagle Scout rank

College

North Carolina king, queen of NCAA lacrosse tourneys

High School

High school football: State’s top honor goes to Jalon Walker

Education

Kannapolis seniors walk elementary schools

Local

Local real estate company employees come out in force to build Habitat house

Local

Quotes of the week

Coronavirus

Auditors find oversight lacking for $3 billion of state’s pandemic aid

Nation/World

When will gas situation return to normal?

Local

Rowan native Shuping posthumously receives Concord Police Department’s Medal of Valor, Purple Heart

News

GOP measure on penalties for rioting draws fire

News

Black high school softball player told to cut hair

Coronavirus

State shows 303 COVID-19 deaths in Rowan

Coronavirus

CDC: Fully vaccinated people can largely ditch masks indoors

Crime

One arrested, another hospitalized in Castor Road stabbing

China Grove

China Grove Roller Mill open for tours Saturday

News

Facing personnel deficiencies, local fire departments request tax rate increases

Local

‘Panic buying’ creates gas supply shortages locally, statewide after pipeline cyberattack

Business

Twice as nice: Planet Smoothie opens alongside Cold Stone Creamery in co-branded store

Local

Spencer board gets update on South Iredell rat problem

Education

West Rowan teacher awarded $15,000 outdoor learning grant

Cleveland

Town of Cleveland plans celebration May 22

High School

High school girls tennis: Busy Hornets win again easily

High School

High school softball: Nixon, Walton top all-county team

Education

All Hood Alumni and Friends Symposium scheduled June 18