Mothers Day

momb10In a handful of months I will become a first time mom. When my husband Alex and I think about what we’ll cook for our son or daughter, he has pot loads of ideas, and with good reason. My mother-in-law is Italian, raised in Milan, and my father-in-law is Japanese, raised in Tokyo. Alex’s childhood food memories are like an episode of Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown. They are just, quite literally, that rich and that good.  

Me on the other hand, that’s a different story. For one, my mind is already cluttered with vial upon vial of internet poison and botched visits to the parenting section at Barnes and Noble. I’ll be lucky if I can get through our first family dinner without having heart palpitations. Can he have nuts? What about eggs? Did we ask the doctor about wheat? Is that yogurt organic, but no like, actually organic? WHERE IS THAT EPIPEN?

So on this Mother’s Day, I’ve decided to think back to when I was a kid and my mom made our plain old American dinner table the most fun table in the world with a hands on meal that my brother and I loved: fondue and artichokes.

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bakedeggsWhat better way to celebrate moms and wives than by making them breakfast. This recipe for baked eggs has been my go-to breakfast recipe since I saw Ina Garten prepare it on her show, The Barefoot Contessa.

It's perfect to serve for any meal, but it's especially nice for a Mother's Day breakfast. Serve it with bacon or sausage and some toast.

It's simple, fast, and very flavorful while also being elegant. The combination of toppings that I like to use include garlic, parsley, and Parmesan cheese, but any fresh herb can be added. Chives, oregano, thyme, and rosemary would all work well or use what's at hand.

I'm sure that whoever you make this recipe for will be very happy that you did.

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carrotcake1.jpg My mother was not Donna Reed or Jane Wyatt.  What’s worse, in an era when father knew best, she was a single mother.  To support us, she trained race horses.  Since none of them ever won, we moved a lot. The two constants through all of this shifting and moving were my mother’s stews and spice cakes.  In both cases, she was proud of never having used a recipe.  In the case of the stews, memory tells me she could have used a cookbook.  The cakes were a different story.

Although they looked like no other cake I’ve ever seen – for some unknown reason, she baked them in metal ice cube trays rather then cake pans – their taste haunts me to this day. They were a wonderful mixture of exotic spices, sugar, and ordinary flour cooked into light golden brown loafs. I enjoyed these odd concoctions in private, but was not happy with them in public, whenever they showed up in my school lunch.  Luckily, I was never at any school long enough to really be embarrassed by them.

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courbetapples.jpgThe press representative agreed to let me into the Courbet retrospective a day before the preview. My mother and I were in New York for a couple of days before heading up to Westport, Connecticut to attend a memorial service for her sister, my aunt Judy.  Our visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art would be our own private memorial. 

Judy used to drive into the city whenever I came out from Los Angeles and she relished taking me to lunch at the Trustees dining room. She had three sons and none of them were interested in art so she considered me her daughter once removed, the only member of the family, other than herself, who thought time in a museum was well spent. This time, I took mother. 

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woman-cooking.jpg I had a completely fabulous mother.  She was a pretty good cook, except that she was always so busy with her politics, and with being consigliere to her large family, and with talking  to my dad while he was on his second job shift, that she almost never cooked dinner without a phone lodged between her shoulder and her ear.  This resulted in many culinary tragedies, and seasoning mistakes.  Here are two examples.

One day she was making her amazing chicken soup, loaded with carrots, and turnips, and leeks, and dill, not to mention the largest soup chicken she could find.  When it came time to add salt, she grabbed what she thought was the large red box of kosher salt, but it was the similar-sized box of Tide.

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