Here at The Recipe Club, it’s safe to say we all love (and I mean seriously LOVE) food. We started to think, “what makes certain foods so special to us?” So many of our most precious food memories stem from childhood, and so many of those childhood memories come straight from mom. So cheers to moms all over the world – each dish you made, each time we ate your breakfasts/lunches/dinners, and each time we spent time with you in the kitchen, made a lasting impact on us for the rest of our lives. Happy Mother’s Day!
“This weekend I will be making my mother’s brisket. I ate it my whole life and thought it was untouchable. When I moved to NYC, and got my first dutch oven, it was time to start making the brisket myself. I made it once, my husband loved it so much, and now he makes it too. It’s simple, brisket, potatoes, onions, carrots, and a little onion soup mix. Our whole tiny apartment smells like brisket and it’s a wonderful memory of my mother back home in Pittsburgh.”
- Julie Cepler, Crown Publishing Group Marketing
“My mother grew up in Nashville Tennessee and brought her peculiar southern tastes to our dinner table. On one such occasion there was a red jiggly ring on a platter and my sister and I assumed it was a delicious jello dessert and we took massive bites of it…it was not jello, it was tomato aspic. Needless to say it has taken me years to come around and enjoy aspic for what it is and enjoy it.”
- Allison Devlin, Crown Illustrated Marketing
“As a child, I used to wait all year for fall, namely because of the apples. I loved crisp, crunchy, sweet apples, and could polish off a few each day. However, what I really yearned for was my mom’s apple crisp. My mom was more of a cook than a baker, but when apple season came around, she would start chopping away at those Macoun or Cortland apples, and we would have my all-time favorite treat about an hour later. Oh, the waiting time! An hour seemed like eternity. I would peek inside the oven and see the juices of the apples bubbling through the sweet oaty topping. Those last ten minutes of cooling time were the worst. But when I finally got my big bowl of hot apple crisp (always served with vanilla ice cream), it was always everything I’d waited for and more.”
- Allison Malec, Crown Illustrated Marketing
“Family meals were a big deal in our house growing up, and my mother cooked wonderful dinners for us almost every night of the week. A huge feat! She had a particular routine with her weeknight cooking, honed over the years into an efficient rhythm—but every now and again, she’d get swept up in the idea of perfecting a favorite dish, usually a dessert. I remember one time when she decided to tackle crème brûlée. Now, my mother loves custards more than anything, and crème brûlée and crème caramel are her favorites. Mom spent a few weeks making several batches of crème brûlée, with me by her side—tweaking the amount of vanilla in the custard, creating the most functional bain-marie, figuring out how the broiler worked to caramelize the sugar into the perfect crunchy top. This whole exercise was totally indulgent, and I think the family took a several month hiatus from any custard afterward—but it sure was a blast. I’m thankful that her love of food and cooking—and her curiosity—have rubbed off on me.”
- Ashley Phillips, Crown Illustrated Editorial
Growing up in Florida, my Mother used to get a lot of teasing from my friends as she wasn’t the stereotypical “Italian Mama” (think skinny, frenetic, all-day coffee drinker). But I knew when I came home from school on the days that she was making sauce, I was in for a treat! She would start early in the morning and by the time I got home, she’d have the first taste ready for me on a piece of Italian bread. Now, when I make it myself, it’s still my preferred method of eating it! Who needs pasta?
– Donna Passannante, Crown Illustrated Marketing
“When I was a little girl, my grandmother would visit every spring to take my mother, my little sister, and me strawberry picking in Ponchatoula, Louisiana. After a long (and usually hot) day of picking berries and filling at least half a dozen flats, she and my mom would stand at the kitchen sink and wash and slice all of the strawberries in the late afternoon. They had such a rhythm: rinse, hull, slice—and into the pots the strawberries would go for preserves. What I remember most is the bright red stickiness that got everywhere—on my fingers, clothes, and face (from stealing strawberries and dipping them into sugar) and all over the floors and countertops. I don’t know how they tolerated it! But in the end, their strawberry preserves—smothered on toasted bread over a slab of melted butter—were well worth the wait and the cleanup.”
-Angelin Borsics, Crown Illustrated Editorial
“I come from a big Italian family, so as you can imagine, cooking and eating are very important to us. Many of my fondest memories from my childhood are from the kitchen. Every year for Easter, my grandmother would fry dozens and dozens of doughnuts for everyone on both sides of our family. My grandmother, mother, and I would shape and fry the dough and cover it in powdered sugar. It was a messy undertaking and left my grandmother’s house smelling of fried food for a week, but we always had a wonderful time together.”
- Carly Gorga, Crown Illustrated Marketing
“While my dad actually does the majority of the cooking in my family, my mom has several go-to specialties that I love. My childhood favorite (which I still request when I go home for a visit!) is her Chicken & Broccoli Casserole. I have such fond memories of coming home from school and being utterly thrilled to see the chicken breasts boiling in a large pot on the stove – I knew this meant that my favorite meal was for dinner. Since then, my mom has taught me how to make the casserole myself. It’s always delicious when it comes out of my oven, but there’s just something special about Mom’s version that I’ll never be able to reproduce – and I’m ok with that!”
- Anna Mintz, Crown Illustrated Publicity
“From casual get-togethers to holiday dinners and traditional American and Persian dinners, food has always played a huge role in my family. Some of my fondest memories involve watching my parents cook and then sitting down to eat with everyone. But my favorite food memory involves my mother, a turkey, and a butcher knife on one hilarious Thanksgiving morning.
From casual get-togethers to holiday dinners and traditional American and Persian dinners, food has always played a huge role in my family. Some of my fondest memories involve watching my parents cook and then sitting down to eat with everyone. But my favorite food memory involves my mother, a turkey, and a butcher knife on one hilarious Thanksgiving morning.
The night before goes smoothly—my mom picked up the fresh turkey (professionally wrapped in a garbage bag) after work, and we spent the rest of the evening cubing bread for stuffing, crushing cranberries for the cranberry salad, prepping veggies, and baking pies. The next morning my sister and I heard my mom get up early and go downstairs to prepare the turkey. As tradition, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade provided a steady background hum. All of a sudden my sister and I heard my mom let out an expletive-laden scream (I should mention that my mom is a former English, Speech, and Drama teacher who is extremely effusive and outgoing…and when it comes to our kitchen, has a rather colorful language. Needless to say, we weren’t too concerned when we heard her yell, we had grown accustomed to it). What then propelled us out of our beds and down the stairs was hearing my mom on the phone, unleashing her verbal terrors at my brother. She snarled, “Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!!….Alexander John. You had better get your a** over here. I just looked at the g**d***ed turkey, and it’s a f***ing turkey!!!…No, it’s STARING AT ME. It has f***ing legs, and it’s head is still on and it has eyes. You wanted this turkey so you have to come over here and deal with it!! I’m not a butcher!” In true Alex-style, he calmly assured my mom that she could handle it and tried to walk her through the process. “Mom,” he said, as if talking to a five-year-old. “Just grab a knife and cut it off. We’ll see you this afternoon.” He promptly hung up. After a few more minutes of cursing, my mom eventually rolled up her pajama sleeves and proceeded to hack off the turkey’s head and legs, muttering a rhythmic string of expletives with every chop and slash.
That incident has gone down in family history. It’s one we retell and share with friends, and one my mom will laugh at now while still snarling “f***ing turkey.” It’s the one I tell when I am trying to describe my mom to someone: she does anything for her kids—even if it includes staring a turkey in the eyes and letting loose a few choice words in order to make sure we all have the best Thanksgiving possible.”
- Taraneh Djangi, Crown Ad/Promo Department