Anna Jarvis created the modern American holiday of Mother’s day in 1908 to honor her own mother. The Von Trap family, made their mom “One of Their Favorite Things”, and named a cheese after her. Marie Curie was a radioactive mama. In addition to breaking the gender barrier and discovering the two elements, radium and polonium, she raised two daughters and was honored with two Nobel prizes in physics and chemistry. I recently read in Food and Wine magazine that chef Mario Batali has made his mom blueberry crumble a staple at his dinner parties.
Next Sunday across America families will be looking for ways to celebrate their moms and all the women that mean something to them. Personally I’ll be honoring my mom and my mother in law. Both shared their love with me and passed on to me, among other things, their passion for cooking.
My mom was a remarkable lady. An egyptologist and a latin and greek scholar, she distilled in me a deep love for books, art, small tea sandwiches, and her vast gastronomical knowledge. If I had to pick a recipe that represents her the best, I would probably choose her baked peaches with an Amaretti cookies crumble. She used to bring them out at the end of simple dinner parties. She would serve them still slightly warm and nestled with all their sticky juices, on a pale green ceramic platter that would offset and complement the sun kissed yellows and pinks of the peaches. Each spoon was a combination of sweet, crunchy and caramelized heaven with a hint of almond and maternal love.
My mother in law is another extraordinary lady. She left Bologna to live in NYC in the 70’ where my husband was born. She lived in the West Village when the Village was the ” Village”. She travelled to Seattle on her own to teach Italian to US Air force students. She moved back to Italy and raised, in my opinion, two pretty handsome sons. She can grind a crossword puzzle like no one. Her knowledge in the kitchen is surpassed by no one. Before marrying my husband she gifted me with two large volumes of hand typed family recipes. I cherish these books and use them often. The recipes in these books are a collection of loved dishes, often served at family gatherings and a genealogical map of traditions passed on by mothers and grandmothers.
My kids and I adore her prosciutto and Fontina brioche. Pure golden perfection. Once in the oven the aroma of baking buttery bread pervades our house, making the wait almost unbearable. We eat it warm, right out of the oven. It makes a good dinner. I have been told my rendition is almost as good as hers, but not quite there yet.
While next Sunday, you don’t necessarily need to name a cheese after your mom, or present her with a Nobel prize, make sure you take time to honor her, spend time with her and cherish every precious second you have with her. She deserves the love.
If you want to know more about splendid moms, my mom and these recipes, please tune in this Thursday the 7th at noon when I’ll be a guest on HansRadio for a Mother day special on Stir Crazy : Food Chat with Patty Gay .