Chow Town

This Mother’s Day, give Mom the gift of tastes

Every year a common quandary befalls people throughout America once the month of May rolls around.

I’m not talking about what variety of tomato to plant or what pattern of cushion is best for the summer patio furniture.

No, the real question on the minds of countless people around this time is simple: What to do for Mother’s Day?

Many of the same options that get recycled every year are out there for the choosing.

The standard prewritten greeting card. A bouquet of colorful flowers. Maybe a dinner reservation at a nice restaurant.

Those ideas are all well and good, but wouldn’t something more personal be an even better way to celebrate and thank mothers for all that they do?

How about this Mother’s Day you go that extra step and actually cook a meal for Mom?

Many of the memories we have in life center around or involve food in some way.

A husband and wife never forget their wedding cake. A boy remembers the special birthday dinner his mother would cook him every year. Maybe it’s the smell of batter hitting a hot pan that recalls Nutella crepes cooking away on the streets of Paris one afternoon long ago.

Even after specific memories fade with the passage of time, a single taste has the power to bring a special moment and place rushing back to the mind.

I cooked one such meal for my family years ago. I wanted to make a meal to bring everyone together to celebrate the mothers and grandmothers through food and memories.

My mother was on life support as she had been ill with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) for years, and was therefore unable to eat.

So I decided to recreate a cherished meal from an old family favorite restaurant as a way of taking us all on a journey back to a particular time and setting.

I recreated the dishes of that dinner to a T, even printing out a menu with explanations of each course as a way to spur discussion and jog the mind through the power of taste.

Though my mother couldn’t physically eat the meal alongside us, she basked in the glow of the experience as we all did, sitting for hours laughing, talking and reliving so many of our special memories together.

The meal moved to transcend any physical limitations and become something much more than just a day of breaking bread together. Food has as much power in the soul as it does on the palate.

There are any number of options to choose from to make Mother’s Day special.

You could recreate your mother’s favorite dish, bake her a cake or even just cook a nice simple Sunday morning brunch.

The fact that you take the time to cook her something with your own hands, with beautiful fresh ingredients, will impress her far more than any phone call for reservations or selection of flowers would.

After all, she most likely spent countless hours making your favorite meatloaf. The least you could do is fix a dish or two for brunch. Who knows what new memories you will make?

A good meal, or even a simple taste, is much like a romance language … it has an almost infinite number of ways to say “I love you, Mom.”

Morel Mushroom Frittata with Kale and Sautéed Leeks

This dish is a simple egg dish highlighting the gorgeous short-lived season of morel mushrooms. The mushrooms combine beautifully with the flavors of kale and leeks, making for an elegant centerpiece of an easy Mothers Day brunch.

Makes 6 to 8 servings 8 or so morel mushrooms (the more the merrier), sliced lengthwise 1 leek, cut in rings, washed and dried 1 bunch of kale, leaves only, chopped 8 eggs, the freshest you can find 2 tablespoons butter Salt and Pepper to taste Optional garnishes: herbs (fresh thyme, parsley etc.), a nice cheese (example: Green Dirt Farms Dirt Lovers), crème fraiche

To prepare: Preheat oven to 400 degrees, or to broil. Beat eggs in mixing bowl and set aside. Place a non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon butter and allow to brown slightly. Add morel mushrooms, cook 3 to 4 minutes. Set aside. Add 1 tablespoon butter to skillet and stir in leeks, cooking until translucent, reserving a small amount for garnish. Stir in kale and cook until it is just wilted. Add beaten eggs, moving ingredients throughout pan to distribute evenly. Cook until eggs begin to set on bottom of the skillet. Add reserved morels and leeks to top of frittata and place under broiler or hot oven. It is done when your eggs are set throughout, and slightly puffed up. Remove from oven, allow to cool and then slice cut individual slices.

Tyler Fox, personal chef/event caterer who emphasizes “nose-to-tail” cooking philosophy as well as vegan and local/farm to table foods.