Stories about your mom and food?

In honor of Mother's Day (Sunday, May 10th) next month, we'd love to hear some of your stories about your mom and food. What's the snack she made you when she didn't want to cook? What is one of her more memorable cooking fails? Did she have a go-to dish as you were growing up that she always loved to make?

Let us know—we'll feature some of your memories in a post for Mother's Day to honor all of our moms—master chefs and less-talented cooks alike!

Leslie Stephens


Melusine April 14, 2015
One of my mother's firm food rules when my sister and I were in elementary school was: You MUST eat breakfast. She was less concerned with what my sister and I actually had for breakfast, as long as we ate something. She usually left for work before my sister and I left for school, so we sorted out breakfast for ourselves, most often from the previous dinner's leftovers. Coincidentally, my mother was on a break from her job at the same time my teacher was promoting "Better Breakfast Week." We all had to stand up and recite what we had for breakfast. I was the coolest kid in class that week, since, instead of the cereal/ toast/eggs litany from my classmates, I was feasting on things like grilled cheese sandwiches, vegetable soup and corned beef hash and eggs. I'm still a fan of cold spaghetti in the morning and omelets at dinner...
Jr0717 April 12, 2015
My mother is never one to let leftovers and/or scraps go to waste. Whenever she breaded anything to fry, she would mix the leftover seasoned breadcrumbs and egg with some grated cheese (usually Locatelli) and fry the mix into little cakes that we have affectionately called "Crumbies". I remember ceasing any and all activities to get my hands on a Crumbie right out of the frying pan, and even now, we fight over them! I've watched her countless times, and can make some decent Crumbies myself, but they just don't compare, regardless of what I do. Its just one small item added to an unending list of reasons why I admire and look up to her, and always will.
Horto April 12, 2015
My mother was a terrible cook
Laurie April 12, 2015
My brother, sister and I came home for lunch during grade school and my mom would serve us Campbell's soup and sandwich combos: Vegetable and tuna salad, Tomato and grilled cheese or Chicken Noodle and PBJs. The food always tasted so good but what really stuck with me was the good feeling I got at her obvious delight in seeing us midday.
strawberrygirl April 10, 2015
My mom isn't much of a cook. I grew up eating a lot of processed convenience food (TV dinners, Chef Boyardee, etc.), which I've always assumed was par for the course for a working mother in the 1970s. She went all out for holidays though. Her stuffing recipe is fairly simple but it'll always be my favorite. At Christmas my sister and I would help her make big batches of "nuts and bolts" snack mix, and for Easter we'd make chocolate dipped fondant eggs.

As for memorable cooking fails, not a Christmas goes by without someone reminiscing about the year when she grabbed the wrong pitcher from the fridge and accidentally put grape juice in the mashed potatoes instead of milk.
boulangere April 10, 2015
I can't possibly come up with a better mother-related food story than this one and its very surprising connection:
sdebrango April 10, 2015
That is one of the most amazing stories I have ever heard.
boulangere April 10, 2015
It's still one of mine, too, Suzanne. I've stayed in touch with Mr. Foley ever since.
boulangere April 10, 2015
I can't possibly come up with a better mother-related food story than this one and its very surprising connection:
Chelsea April 10, 2015
The thing that always amazed me about my mother is that she would cook things for us she didn't like. She hates eggs and grits (we're Southerners), but she would cook the most perfect eggs, however you wanted them! I always thought that was talent...and I guess what being a mom is about.

My favorite recipe of hers is her sweet and sour pork chops. Of course, when silly me went off to college, I thought I could order it in restaurants or something like that. I was so shocked when she told me that she made it up after having extra packets of duck sauce from the Chinese restaurant. She makes it for me every time I go home. :)
Hsiao-Ching C. April 9, 2015
My mom and I are famous for our potstickers. I learned how to make them from scratch at her apron strings: rolling the dough into little rounds, filling them with pork and cabbage, pleating the edges to seal in the juices. We've been on TV, in print, on radio, and our two upcoming cooking classes sold out in 24 hours. While we've gotten our "15 minutes" what is most special about making potstickers is that it threads through our lives, connecting generations, feasts, memories, conversations, lessons. This photo shows me and my mother, with my daughter between us. She and her younger brother love to eat potstickers and have begun to learn how to make these dumplings. The kids have been folded into our collective experience and, some day, they, too, will weave this thread into their families' lives.
catalinalacruz April 10, 2015
What a lovely photo, and what special memories!
luvcookbooks April 9, 2015
My mom was a domestic goddess. In the 50s and 60s in the Midwest, she eschewed mixes. Baked her own bread, made croissants, Danish pastry, puff pastry, Divinity, fondant, beef stew, picked and canned cherries, apples for applesauce, pears, eggplant appetizer w tuna, pickled peaches, grape conserve... Didn't have much money, so Baskin Robbins ice cream was a treat when it was too hot to bake a blueberry pie. Memorable fail: my mom was llways on the goand sometimes things got away from her. When I was in 4th grade, she set sauerbraten to marinate and forgot about it! I heard her screaming for my dad when she lifted the lid and saw the mold! He helped her out w the clean up.. She did parties for 50 in our small home w no help. All that energy was well used but sometimes I wish she could have been a lawyer or politician. Oh and she made BR A I DS on her ginger bread girls !!
Emily L. April 8, 2015
My mom is a notoriously bad cook and baker. My friends now joke the reason I am vegetarian is the over-cooked dried out chicken we used to eat almost every single night at home! Every year around Christmas we would be invited to a cookie exchange, and every year my mom would go to Fresh Market and buy those delicious powdered sugar wedding cookies, and when someone asked for the recipe she would always "forget" to bring it! Obviously now the family joke whenever she turns up somewhere with a 'homemade' dessert.
ktr April 8, 2015
Your story made me laugh! We also ate overcooked, dried out meat (with boiled potatoes) almost every night growing up. For me, that was the reason I became a vegetarian for several years - I thought all meat tasted that way so I had no desire to eat it! I still will only eat potatoes if they are roasted but I do enjoy meat now that I have discovered that it doesn't always have the texture of leather!
JulieS April 7, 2015
I had many favorites that my mom made, but I have particularly fond memories of her searing lamb chops in the electric skillet. We called them lollipops and the aroma that filled the house was amazing! She also made an incredible spinach soufflé pie with caramelized onions and mushrooms on the bottom. Total perfection!
Sue April 7, 2015
I remember when my mom used pie crust dough leftover after she cut out and crimped the crusts to make little snack pies. She just spread the dough scraps with butter and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. When they were baked they were brown, sugary, and delicious. I still make these when I have the chance and think of her every time.
Laurie April 14, 2015
My grandmother made these too and I preferred them to the pie!
C April 7, 2015
My mother is the queen of the "not recipe" and I am eternally grateful to her for that. Although she would make some wonderful things from cookbooks, it's her off the cuff meals that I remember the most fondly and still make for myself when I'm craving comfort. Like a rice pilaf, ground lamb, and pine nut dish seasoned with cumin and a little nutmeg or "company chicken".
Peggasus April 7, 2015
My mother (90 in two months!) did not know how to cook when she got married, and decided that I, the only girl of four, would not be like that. So, beginning when I was ten years old, I had to cook dinner for the family every Wednesday, whatever they wanted. Apple pie? Learn to make a crust, and peel them all. I hated Fridays during Lent, when we typically had fried shrimp. It took me hours to peel, devein, dip dip dip them, only to have them be devoured in minutes by my brothers.

Though I was the only one made to do this, and I did it until I went away to college, now I am thankful for the lessons. My brothers all turned out to be excellent cooks, too. Mom's still around, but that black binder of hers with all the family recipes may be the one thing we fight about! I, of course, have the best claim to it.
Chef L. April 7, 2015
What a great tribute! Growing up, "Muh" ( as I called her) did her best to get me to eat breakfast. The fact that I always refused did not discourage her. Her most creative effort was ice cream that she stirred by hand then mixed it with cereal. A real no-go! Birthdays were the most memorable! On that day, one got to choose the evening meal. It was a big deal! She did not fulfill my request of hummingbird tongues on toast. As an adult, she was my own 52Hotline. She studied bacteriology and really understood the science of food. I miss her every day!
LeBec F. April 7, 2015
My mom was Southern and loved to entertain. Her favorite buffet dish was Curried Shrimp on rice with about 8 condiments on the side. Her best hors d'oeuvre were her Curried Chicken Pancakes, which I replicated as an entree in my 52 Recipes, incorporating many of her buffet condiments into the pancakes as well.

As for bloopers, I only remember one, when I was in my early teens and just learning to cook. She was making an applesauce cake. She slid it into the oven and then stopped in her tracks and looked confused. I asked her what was wrong. "I've forgotten something" she said, "but I can't figure out what it is."
Then she looked slowly around the kitchen and exclaimed "I know what it is!
I forgot the applesauce!!" After that, asking if one had 'remembered the applesauce' became an in-joke between us.
scruz April 6, 2015
my mom was a great baker. many stories about that. but, when i was really young and came home from school, on meatloaf nights my afternoon snack would be steak tartare. it was really yummy and i had no idea at the time what i was eating. don't get me wrong. she wasn't mrs. got rocks (her phrase) but the child of immigrants from the bronx. i also used to smell her soft hands the night before thanksgiving after she had made the stuffing...they smell of celery, onions and herbs.
Panfusine April 6, 2015
My Mother apparently barely knew how to boil water before she got married. Her reply was always 'don't want to cook, don't want to eat' whenever my grandma would try and teach her. As luck would have it, my dad was a complete food afficionado and she learned a lot from my other grandmother (her mother in law). My dad had no qualms about asking her to whip up a snack at 10 pm after dinner was done and spinach fritters was usually it. Memories about of chickpea flour batter being made, oil set out to heat, spinach chopped up and delicious 'Palak Bhaji' being ready in about 15 minutes. My dad would whip out some chat masala and the three of us would have that before retiring!
ktr April 6, 2015
My mom is not a very good cook (she'll admit to it too), but she is a great baker and would normally bake something a few times a week. She has a chocolate chip cookie cook book and my sisters and I used to love picking out and trying new recipes out of it. She would always take the first day of school off and we would come home to hot cookies right out of the oven.
sdebrango April 6, 2015
There are many food related stories and my Mom. She is an amazing cook but I think one of my favorite things she made when she didn't want to cook was breakfast for dinner, we had pancakes. She made great pancakes, so light and fluffy and she would always heat the maple syrup and butter together to pour over them, and she would always put a fried egg on top. The combination was delicious and we always looked forward to breakfast for dinner. She was famous for her Pasta Fagioli, it was her recipe that took her years to perfect and it was the most requested meal she made, she always made home made pasta to go in it and cooked the beans with salt pork. I have tried but never have been able to get it exactly like my Moms.
Patricia April 6, 2015
My mother used to make "egg in the hole." A round cookie cutter was used to remove the middle from a slice of white sandwich bread. The bread was fried in butter on both sides, and an egg cracked in the middle. She fried the cutout as well and it sat on top of the runny yolk like a hat. I thought it was magic!
Bevi April 6, 2015
As a Vermonter, my mom was the consummate creator of Jello molds. Her favorite combination was strawberry jello, chopped celery, frozen strawberries, and walnuts, with a layer of sour cream wedged in the middle of the mold. She also was fond of preparing a lime jello, cottage cheese and pineapple chunk concoction. They were really, really delicious, and the colors were spectacular!
cranberry April 6, 2015
When we were growing up, after a busy week my mom would call "scrap lunch" which involved emptying the fridge of all leftovers, sandwich fixings, condiments, bread, etc and piling it on the lazy susan in the middle of the table. Everyone assembled their own lunch from what was there - sometimes some trades were made if certain foods were in limited supply. I remember these lunches fondly, even though there was nothing fancy about them.
Rachel C. April 6, 2015
When I was a tot(? like 4 years old) I LOVED when my mom made me salads in the shape of faces. In retrospect she probably used a few carrot sticks and a cucumber, but at the time it amazed me that *my mom* could make these amazing creatures out of my favorite food.
Stephanie April 9, 2015
Yes! I'd nearly forgotten about "food faces". My mom did that too and we absolutely loved it.
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