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Friday, April 20, 2012

Recipes From Mom

What recipes has your mom (or grandmom) passed down to you? In honor of Mother’s Day this year, we’re going to talk about recipes that have been handed down over the generations and we want yours.

For Here & Now senior producer Kathleen McKenna, it was her mother’s Irish soda bread recipe. Producer Emiko Tamagawa (our resident baker – you should try her brownies!) treasures her mom’s German apple cake recipe. And Here & Now resident chef Kathy Gunst says her daughters have actually shared some special recipes with her for the perfect Mother’s Day breakfast.

Kathy will join us to talk about “Recipes from Mom” in an upcoming show. And we want to hear from you! Send in your recipes and tell us why you cherish them. We’d also love to see snapshots of any hand written recipes, so go digging through those old Betty Crocker cookbooks or index files and see what you can find!

In the meantime, Kathy Gunst shares her Mother’s Day memories below.

Mother’s Day Memories

by Kathy Gunst

Mother’s Day Sunday meant the girls would rise “early”  — as little kids that often meant the crack of dawn, but as preteens and teenagers, alarm clocks were set for eleven so the meal they prepared for me just before noon could still officially be called “breakfast.”

Together with my husband John’s assistance, they would take over the kitchen, and claim it as their own for this one day. They would divide up the chores. One went outside and cut little blossoms off the just-flowering trees and placed them in a small, always wobbly vase. The other would whip the eggs and choose the filling for the omelets or the scramble. There was almost always smoked salmon, bagels, cream cheese and a fruit salad with the first real strawberries of the year, along with whatever other fruit happened to be in the kitchen.

I would lie in bed, supposedly luxuriating, surrounded by the Sunday paper. But the truth is I would lie there listening to the sounds of my family doing something for me. Often, almost every year in fact, there was fighting. Sometimes screaming, yelling fights. “No, Maya, you got to make the omelets last year. It’s my turn.” Or, “Emma, you did it all wrong. That’s not the right way to cut basil.”

Lying there year after year, May’s early birds chirping and the sun coming in through the bedroom windows, I was so touched by this simple ritual. I’m not sure my girls understood at that age what a loving touch it was when they sprinkled fresh garden chives and their fuzzy pink flowers on top of the white cream cheese? Or placed a strawberry and a slice of orange, cutting thin slits into the fruit so they would balance along the edge of the glass of orange juice. I never much cared what I ate for Mother’s Day breakfast. It was the sheer pleasure of watching and listening to my girls take over the kitchen and making it their own to create a meal that told me how grateful they are for all I do.


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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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