Mothers Day

hotel-bel-airholly palanceTwice a year, (on Mothers Day and on her birthday July 7th), my mother used to pull out her favorite phrase and say, “Attention must be paid.”

Translation? She wanted to be celebrated, and that meant The Hotel Bel Air, Sunday best, family only, no friends or ‘strangers’ pulling focus on her closeup.

Her use of the phrase drove me crazy, because of course Linda Loman’s lament was about aging and the lack of human kindness shown her salesman husband Willie, not my glamorous complicated mother on the palm-­laden patio holding court.

But champagne in hand surrounded by at least two of her children with at least two of her grandchildren in tow, she got what she needed....a toast, “ To the Queen of the Day.”

Attention had been paid. Deep down I knew what Mom meant. And she knew I knew.

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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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bakingcookiesart.jpg Every mother needs a signature cookie. Even if it’s one you buy—like a fresh-from-the-bag Pepperidge Farm Milano. Or a local, corner-bakery, purchased elephant ear. Of course, it’s best, when the kids look back, if the signature cookie is one you baked.

Why? Because of the effort. People like to see effort and kids seem to really respond to it. It lets them know you weren’t just phoning in the whole motherhood thing.

Growing up, my mother had a signature cookie. She probably hasn’t thought of it as her cookie, but everyone in the family knows. She’ll be 80 years old on her birthday this July and if she’s in the kitchen, and she says she’s going to make cookies, you know what’s coming: 

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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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lavendershortbread004.jpg About a month ago, I shared a recipe for buttery shortbread. In a cooking class I taught recently at my local natural foods co-op, we made the same shortbread, only rather than using 1/2 cup cake flour as my original recipe instructed, we used brown rice flour. It gave the shortbread a much creamier, more tender consistency. It was delicious. I thought it couldn't get any better.

Until today. I crushed some dried lavender buds, minced up some crystallized ginger and worked them into the rich dough. A sprinkling of Mrs. Kelly's Lavender Rose Sugar was the icing on the cake, or the cookie, I guess.

I first discovered dried lavender buds when a friend of mine from Pennsylvania, who also teaches cooking classes, shared a recipe for an appetizer of lavender infused honey over goat cheese.

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