(Originally published May 11, 2017. Updated for current information.)
According to Wikipedia, Mother’s Day is “a celebration honoring the mother of the family, as well as motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in society.” Food is often a central point on Mother’s Day, with many women receiving breakfast in bed, brunch at their favorite restaurant, or a romantic candlelight dinner.
With regard to food experiences, it is not honoring the mother of the family as much as it is showing love and appreciation for all that she is and all that she does to make your life better. It is basically showing that you are grateful for all of that she does in your life. Trying to express that love to her in a food experience type of way is appropriate and appreciated.
Positive Food Experiences as Service
Creating a positive food experience is an act of service. Service means showing love. That service doesn’t have to be making something per se, but it can be. Doing so reminds mom of all the things that she does for the family. There are a lot of different ways you can make things that she would enjoy, but spending time cooking for or with mom can be priceless.
Try to make it a fun experience. Cook a meal for her. Invite friends and family over for a barbecue. Create a food event with which she can make a memory. After all, that is what a positive food experience is – a memorable experience involving food (see related posts: The Six Principles of Positive Food Experiences, and Defining Food Experience: Progression Day by Day) . Create a situation for mom to feel your love. She can feel that you appreciate her and you recognize her and all that she does. You can then use food, people, the environment, and other principles to show that appreciation and love.
Here are six ways to have a positive food experience this Mother’s Day:
1. Make a Dish with Mom
If it is possible to visit your mother in person, the two of you can make a dish together. Travel back home to relive your childhood and cook with your mother. Now that you’re an adult, perhaps you can ask her more substantive questions as you make the dish.
Due to the cross-country distance, I only see my mom about once a year. During the last few visits, we have done some informal cooking, but we would like to plan more focused time to cook together. We would like to plan a recipe to make together. I would also like her to share her thoughts and ideas on the dish (how she cooks the dish, why she cooks it that way). Just gaining insight from your mother can be extremely valuable to both you and her.
2. Get the Story Behind the Dish
Perhaps not all dishes have a story behind them, those that do likely have a rich heritage of how the fun and delicious cuisine originated. In a recent conversation with my own mother, I asked her to write down some family recipes that have meant a lot to us, and the stories behind them, that we remember while growing up. There are many recipes that my grandmother and mother used to make when I was a child that I have fond memories of. Many of the family recipes we have came from my grandparents and great grandparents when they were in their mother countries. Perhaps those recipes go back several generations. Tune in to future blog posts for more information.
3. Make a Dish Your Mom Used to Make
If it’s not possible to visit your mother in person, make a dish in her honor. Perhaps you can make a family recipe that you remember from your childhood. Perhaps you can create your own dish using ingredients that you think your mother would enjoy. If you are able to, you could even contact your mother to tell her how the dish turned out (the taste, smell, and texture) and other thoughts you may have about the dish.
4. Let your Family Take Over the Kitchen
Picture yourself sleeping in on Mother’s Day. As you awake, you hear the clanging of dishes downstairs. You hear food being stirred, whipped, sautéed, and otherwise prepared just for you. The smell of your favorite breakfast permeates the air. You hear the giggle of little voices as they run up the stairs carrying the breakfast tray. Or maybe they surprise you as you come downstairs – they made the meal, set the table (complete with your favorite flowers), and yell “Surprise!” as you enter the kitchen.
At first thought, letting someone take over the cooking process may fill you with stress and worry. However, doing so helps both you and your family. You get a break from cooking. Your family gets to demonstrate the cooking skills they have learned. Depending on the ages of your family members, their level of assistance may differ. But they are nevertheless excited to show you what they have learned, and to honor you on Mother’s Day. Maybe they will put their own twist on a dish. Demonstrating their skills helps build their own food knowledge and experience. As important as serving others is, it is also important to be served and let others help you.
5. Make a Tried and True Recipe that Everyone Loves
Sometimes it’s good to go back to basics. You can have it be a family affair, where everyone is cooking together. Doing so helps to conjure up memories of past meals, and create new memories as people relive and share those food experiences. You also get to give something to your family – a dish they love!
6. Have a Date Night
Have a date night with your significant other where you are cooking a meal together. Perhaps there is a new recipe that you both want to try. Cooking together helps bring people into the picture. As you learn new techniques, you build your knowledge base. When you try new foods, you focus on different tastes, textures, and colors. If work with kitchen gadgets, you are building your level of interaction with the food as you stir, whip, fold, and bake various foods. You are also able to fulfill your food experience goals in learning how to do various cooking techniques or work with certain foods. All of this can be done as you cook a meal together.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT: How will you show appreciation this Mother’s Day? How can you use this special day to create a positive food experience?