First of all, a very Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms out there (aka my mom, because I know she reads this thing religiously and probably accounts for about half the site views).
Mother’s Day has always been a special holiday for my family. When we were kids, my brother and I would treat my mother to breakfast in bed. We’d waltz in with her tray and omelet-sized grins on our faces. Then, instead of leaving her to eat her breakfast in peace, we’d sit at the end of her bed and stare as she cut through her (overcooked) scrambled eggs and (relatively burnt) toast. Yet, she’d smile and “mmmmm” and compliment us on our culinary feat, making us feel like top-rate chefs that had just presented her with a perfect cushion of souffle and truffle-topped frittata. And we’d perch there and watch, entirely satisfied with ourselves for accomplishing the grand task of breakfast.
I used to wonder why we never took Mom out to a fancy, special Mother’s Day brunch like my friends used to do for their moms. You know, treat her to a three-course prix fixe with Belgian waffles covered in fig compote and slow-churn butter, sausage links made from acorn-fed pigs and tarragon, and fresh-squeezed orange juice mimosas. When I asked her about this, my mother gave the classic mom-answer, “I wouldn’t trade a single one of your homemade breakfasts for a million fancy ones.” See, that is what being a mom is all about: it’s about finding the pleasure in eating even the most inedible of pancakes just because the little hands that made it and the little eyes that watch you eat it have poured more love into that Bisquick batter than any four-star chef ever could.
Obviously, things have changed a bit now. Both my brother and I no longer live at home, so those Mother’s Day breakfasts-in-bed are a thing of the past. And even if I had wanted to surprise her with a morning breakfast today, my perpetual lateness made me sleep through my alarm and I was flying down the Mass Pike a full hour-and-a-half later than I had planned. So, instead, I offered to spearhead tonight’s dinner in celebration of my mother and grandmother. The meal was simple: salad, barbecue chicken, crispy yams, rice and orzo pilaf, and green beans with almonds. For the BBQ sauce, I combined Annie’s Organic Original and Smokey Maple sauces, honey, garlic salt, and salt and pepper. On top of the yams, that I thinly-sliced and placed on a baking sheet, I drizzled extra virgin olive oil and sprinkled on a mixture of salt, pepper, garlic salt, and sugar. The chicken was so gloriously sticky with just a touch of sweetness that reminded me of summer barbecues on our back porch. And the yams were a crowd favorite. In fact, I think my grandfather ate half the plate before it even reached my side of the table.
Thankfully, my culinary skills have improved significantly since I first began bringing Mom those breakfasts-in-bed. But, no matter how old I get, I still find myself watching her, waiting for some sort of confirmation to escape her lips that says, yes, I have pleased her and, yes, what I’ve cooked for her is delicious. Every time, I am back to being that 6-year-old, precariously perched at the end of her bed, in my Sleeping Beauty pajamas and fuzzy pink slippers, waiting for her to go, “Mmmmm.”
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.