Good Life

Eats & Drinks: Cooking for mom an early Mother’s Day memory

Fluffy Egg Nests
Fluffy Egg Nests Photo provided

Originally published in 2010, and the recipe inspired Craig and Patty Gruneberg to create their own rendition using their son Sam’s chicken’s eggs.

Mother’s Day is layered with memory for me. Mother’s Day 1956 I first used a cookbook to make a recipe to surprise my mom with breakfast in bed. I was 6, old enough to read, and enlisted the help of my younger brother. We made Fluffy Egg Nests, but omitted the baking part, since we didn’t know how to turn on the oven. What mother wouldn’t enjoy raw whipped egg white on a slice of buttered toast with the raw egg yolk slipped in the center? I just found the old Good Housekeeping recipe online. It’s testament to my mom that even at that age I knew how to separate eggs.

We always wanted to get mom gifts for Mother’s Day, but all she ever asked for was “a clean house.” She was a working mother, and that was a rarity. It seemed so boring to us, so we shopped on the avenue for a fine china tea cup or bottle of Jolie Madame.

My first day of working in a restaurant occurred Mother’s Day, 1964. If you wanted to see mom that day you had to be at Stouffers, especially after she moved into management. My siblings and I each started in our 14th year, peeling shrimp, in the recesses of the big kitchen, observing the bedlam of the line from the perimeter. “Mother’s Day is the most popular day of the year to dine out, with 38 percent of consumers reporting doing so,” according to National Restaurant Association research, indicating that mom is the one doing the lioness’ share of the cooking even today.

My favorite Mother’s Day was in 1995, my catering days, when, after a busy weekend, my 13- and 15-year-old sons took an extra five pounds of shrimp and made me a feast — shrimp cocktail, grilled shrimp with basil and pancetta, shrimp scampi — and my daughter set the table so nicely with fine china and bouquets of lilacs. We watched “Forrest Gump” on VHS.

And my saddest Mother’s Day of all time was the year that we got the call that my 18-year-old nephew had been killed in a car accident in the early morning hours. I was in France at the time and flew home immediately to be with my sister. For more than a decade we all blocked out Mother’s Day.

But last year, we sisters/daughters/mothers held a revival and all got together to celebrate Mother’s Day for my mom’s 85th birthday year. We made Stouffer specialties from the 1950s and ’60s, wore vintage aprons, and had cupcakes and punch.

Words of advice to husbands, sons and daughters: Mom doesn’t want another tea cup. She really would like a clean house or a plant or a tree — your time and energy to plant her annuals. She would enjoy a visit to the new arboretum with you and, afterward, Arboretum Breeze ice cream at the Creamery. Out to dinner? Or cook at home? Just please — no Fluffy Egg Nests.