Mother’s Day Memories

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It’s Mother’s Day this weekend and while I’m not a mother yet, it’s got me thinking about my wonderful mother and the food-related memories I share with her (which include tea, pie, Southern favorites, crumbles and crisps, Indian food in Myanmar and much more).

In that vein, I asked some of you Facebook friends to share your food memories with your mom, and I just loved seeing the answers.

It’s wonderful to share the love of certain foods and skills making family recipes, but it seems just as important the way our moms make us and others feel. They offer family, comfort and love through food. It’s quite beautiful finding our place at the table, and so many moms are good at making a place for this to happen. And for that we are blessed.

Here’s what some of you said about your food memories with your mom:

Food for the masses! Always feeding 20+ people like it ain’t no thing and deliciously. I realize I get older that it’s really overwhelming for some people to cook for that many but luckily all the recipes I’ve inherited from her make it no big deal- jambalaya, chicken noodle soup, enchiladas, porkchops and spaghetti.

Lasagna and green bean casserole. I remember when I was middle school that was the first thing she taught me to make.

Here’s my recipe for White Spinach Lasagna.

If dinner was taking a while and we were all ravenously waiting in the kitchen, she’d throw in a pint of sliced fresh mushrooms with butter, fry them up, and we’d snack on that while dinner finished simmering or baking. She’d put the frying pan right on the table and we’d gather round with forks, and a few slices of lightly toasted wheat bread to sop up the buttery goodness left in the pan.

Chicken and dumplings, mom made one million times (with fluffy dumplings). I remember she would take the time to let us request what dinner we wanted for our birthdays. When I was a kid, I remember asking for asparagus and seared sea scallops. She obliged.

Chicken broccoli casserole! My mom would make it for me every time I came home from being away in boarding school and college. I can smell and taste it right now!

When I met my husband, his mom and dad often hosted gatherings for their very large family. I observed his mom’s ways and pitched in to help and learned the beauty of setting up a buffet dinner. Things were prepped together, people were allowed to bring side dishes, she set up the drink station so it’s serve-yourself; and put the cutlery and napkins at the end of the buffet so people don’t have to balance them while filling their plates! I’m really thankful for her teaching me about being hospitable, because I’ve made so many good friends by opening up our house in the same way.

Chicken Enchiladas and homemade salsa.

Making pie crust was one of those things I had to learn before I felt like a real adult. Always homemade from scratch crust that is rolled so thin you can see the countertop underneath it. That’s the trick. I learned from my mom, who learned from her mom. Every holiday or family gathering involves pie. We even served 20+ pecan pies at my wedding that my mom and I made in the days leading up to the big day.

Here’s my Pie Crust recipe.

Pie and molasses spice cookies. All pies are judged v. mom’s.

When I think of my dear mother, it’s actually her dislike of cooking I most remember and her hilarious shortcuts. Like using ketchup for marinara sauce for spaghetti. But she did have her triumphs she concocted herself that has made it through two more generations as favorites. Her non-alchoholic version of a mint julep is in no way recognizable to it’s more spirited cousin, but we drink it every St. Patrick’s Day.

Here’s my recipe for Mint Juleps.

The thing I have loved forever about my mom is the way she’s so gracious and accommodating. She may be cooking for four or 30 and tries to make sure there is something for everyone.

Sugar cookies at Christmas.

My Mom was a “foodie” before that was a popular term. She loved to cook and often had fresh baked cookies or some other pastry for us when we got home from school. She was a Southern cook and served fresh black eyed peas, turnip greens and cornbread sticks cooked in a wrot iron pan, with fresh sliced tomatoes and marinated cucumbers. She could fry chicken and make the best roast, rice and gravy. She had the gift of hospitality and always welcomed family and friends in our home. She could also set a beautiful table around which we shared lots of stories and laughter.

Here’s my recipe for pot roast.

Happy Mother’s Day and here’s to many more comforting food memories in your life!

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