Mom's Kitchen: A
Mother's Day Gift of Recipes and Recollections
Ah, Mother's Day. Remember when you were small, and Mom was
everything? Back then, your world revolved around the music of Mom's
voice... the padding of her footsteps, and savory aromas wafting from
her kitchen, permeating the house with the promise of delicious things
Remember rainy afternoons, and Mom's golden grilled cheese with a
thick slab of red-ripe garden tomato? Or how about the Spaghetti-Os
that Mom said had "no nutritional value," but even so you
could always count on Wednesday mornings with Mom ladling warm
spoonfuls into your plastic Thermos before popping the cup-top into
place and sending you off to school. Remember gooey chocolate birthday
cakes that Mom baked and frosted herself, and would later scrub off
your cheeks and chin with the corner of her dinner napkin? You never
could figure out how those crumbs got there, but Mom could spot a
chocolate cake mishap from a mile away.
We all have our own distinct memories of life and meals in Mom's
kitchen... the recipes that as a child maybe you didn't care for one
way or the other, but then you came home from college and suddenly all
you wanted more than anything in the world was a plate piled high with
Mom's pot roast, carrots and mashed potatoes. So this Mother's Day,
instead of picking up a last-minute gift at the jewelry cart in the
mall or grabbing a potted plant at the nursery down the road... why
not gift-wrap some of those cherished recipes and recollections that
you and your brothers and sisters grew up with. Give Mom a taste of
yesterday. Create a book of favorite family recipes and memoirs from
There are no hard and fast rules for creating a memento of this
kind. Your Mother's Day cookbook can be whatever you'd like it to be.
If arts and crafts is your cup of tea, pick up a brightly colored
photo album at the local craft store, one that you can hand-print
personal stories right onto the pages and fill with photos from your
childhood. If you're graphically gifted, create your cookbook on the
computer. You can even turn your Mother's Day cookbook into a web page
if you're familiar with HTML.
The most complicated part of this Mother's Day creation will of
course be the information-gathering. Luckily, if you have several
brothers and sisters, then you likely have plenty of memories to work
with. Hand out Mother's Day Homework; ask everyone to poke around the
attics of their minds and jot down their best moments from a lifetime
of eating, chattering, fighting, laughing and loving in Mom's kitchen.
Was there one favorite food that Mom only prepared on special
occasions? What about an ethnic dish that you secretly loved but would
never confess it to your playmates from school? Think of those
hilarious dinnertime mishaps, perhaps something involving loose baby
teeth and corn on the cob. Remember those little brother antics around
the supper table that we all had to deal with... Or how about all the
times you slipped your green beans to Harry the hound dog when Mom's
back was turned?
Once everyone's submitted their Mother's Day Remember
one stealthy family member root around in Mom's old recipe files when
she's not around and collect the epicurean evidence of Mom's chef-like
wizardry in the kitchen. If you can match a memory of Mom's cooking
with an actual recipes of hers that you found buried in the bottom of
the kitchen drawer, include these together in one entry of your
cookbook. If not... that's okay, too.
Finally, you'll need a volunteer to collect photos, and also scan
them if this Mother's Day cookbook will be designed on the computer.
Rummage through the old family photo albums and picture boxes and pull
out all the snapshots of holiday meals around the dinner table. Maybe
you have one of Mom chopping and Dad carving side by side on
Thanksgiving Day. What about those classic birthday cake pics and
summer barbecues? Any meal-related photos you can find will serve as
the basis for your Mother's Day Cookbook.
How many recipes should you include? Ten is a good number, but if
you have more than ten by all means load up. If you have only five,
that's okay too, as long as your presentation is attractive and the
feeling is there, which it no doubt will be if everyone puts their all
into the project. Again, this is your Mother's Day recipe book,
created with love... and that means there is no "wrong" way
to do this. On Mother's Day, have every family member pitch in with a
covered dish they made themselves... to create a stupendous dinner of
all Mom's favorite foods that she can enjoy without lifting a finger.
After dessert (homemade chocolate cake from Mom's recipe box, of
course), present your family gift, tell your Mom how much you love her
and feel really good about yourselves as a family. After all the years
your mother spent nourishing your belly and soul with love, comforting
and delicious foods, you gave her back a truly meaningful Mother's Day
gift that she'll cherish for the rest of her days.
Ann Zuccardy, creative entrepreneur, food lover and owner
of the Vermont Shortbread Company, invites you to sample a
taste of her buttery-rich, authentic Vermont Shortbread.
Place your online order for shortbread
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