I don’t really understand the marketing of Mother’s Day. I see all these floral pastel cards and delicate lacy handkerchiefs and early morning breakfast in bed and advertisements for “brunch” and “afternoon tea” with fussy hats implied. Let me set the record straight. I am a mom, and I know a lot of moms. An informal survey of what our ideal Mother’s Day would look like involves 1) sleeping in; 2) a pedicure with some celebrity gossip magazines; 3) sushi; 4) chocolate and 5) lots of wine. Maybe this holiday doesn’t sell so well on a greeting card, but it sounds pretty awesome to me. Too awesome to be an also-ran Mother’s Day. Maybe I will name it something else, like “Saturday”. And it will fall once a week. If your Mother’s Day veers towards the more traditional, or you’re trying to fill the time between pedicures, sushi and wine, try cooking brunch at home, and avoid the overpriced and overcrowded restaurant brunch options. (For more on this, see Brooke of FoodWoolf’s insider’s take on the restaurant Mother’s Day brunch. If you’re not feeling confident in your hollandaise sauce, or you’re a late sleeper yourself and don’t want a giant fuss in the morning, this is the brunch dish for you.
I have vivid childhood memories of dyeing Easter Eggs. We always made my family’s traditional Craftsman flower eggs, but I also spent many a spring break waiting impatiently for the eggs to take on a deep color sitting in vats of vinegar with those little Paas tablets. Now that I am the mom, I try to recreate for the Nuni some of my own childhood joys, so I buy dozens of eggs each Easter, ripe for the decorating. What I am faced with as an adult that I didn’t realize as a carefree kid is that after the fun of the Easter Egg hunt comes a long slong of trying to use dozens of hard boiled eggs. There are only so many plain hard boiled eggs you can eat, though a dash of tabasco helps matters immensely. Likewise, egg salad, although a love of mine, can quickly grow tireseome. Enter deviled eggs.
There is a phenomenon known as “breakfast for dinner” whereby seemingly normal people choose to ingest breakfast foods, namely French toast, pancakes and bacon for dinner. Why they would want to do this, I have no idea. I may have mentioned it before, but standard American breakfast foods (with the exception of toast, which may be my favorite food) are not my idea of a good time. I can blame this particular quirk on my mother, who took a firm stand against eating sweet foods for breakfast, which led to a deprived childhood lacking in things like Cocoa Krispies, pancakes, french toast casserole, blueberry muffins and donuts eaten before noon. My mother was convinced that these foods would give me low blood sugar and lead to headaches and feeling unwell, and unfortunately, the few times she relented on this policy, she was proven correct. Now, even as an adult, I look askance at things like pancakes, and rarely eat them, so the idea of replacing a normal meal that ordinarily provides lots of not-sweet nutrition with stacks of carbs just strikes me as plain odd. I do, however, make an exception for omelets. Maybe it’s the French in me, but I really think there’s no bad time for an omelet. They’re infinitely adaptable, are an excellent way to use whatever’s in your fridge, and go perfectly with a glass of wine. Now that is what I call dinner.
With the weather getting warmer, my thoughts start straying in the direction of picnics. Picnics, according to my personal definition which I have just made up, can be eaten indoors or out, at a table, on the ground or even in the car. There are certain parameters, however. The setting must be nice and the company good, but above all, what defines a picnic is the food. Picnic food must be casual and even a bit louche. Foods like cold fried chicken, that maybe challenge the boundaries of decorum to eat. Bread torn from the loaf, with a nugget of cheese. Food that is maybe unbeautiful, or unchic, but undeniably delicious. And the king of picnic food might just be potato salad. I don’t think I have ever met a potato salad I didn’t like. Warm German potato salad slick with olive oil, simple mayonnaise potatoes with herbs, purple potatoes with green beans and parsley, even that sweet yellow stuff from the deli with the bright red flecks of an unidentifiable pepper – I love them all. But something about this particular potato salad spoke to me – roasted potatoes made tart with vinaigrette and a trio of my favorite flavorings: capers, cornichons, and smoked paprika.
I'm Kate, and between my day job and my home job, life is pretty full. Look around to find some of the recipes, projects, stories and tips that keep me sane on the domestic front. Read more about me here and feel free to email me with any questions or feedback!