Growing up, were you the kid who helped your mom in the kitchen or did you just show up to the table when it was time to eat? If I had to pick one, it was definitely showing up to eat. However, I made my contributions as part of the cleanup committee where I would help clear the table and store away those tasty leftovers.
Though I was not the contributor on the prep side, I still have many memories of my mom’s cooking when I was a child. I remember waking up on Saturday mornings to not only the breakfast aroma of buttermilk pancakes, eggs and bacon, but I would also smell one of my mom’s cakes. I can’t remember how many times during breakfast I would beg my mom to sample the cake icing to make sure it was right because I thought I was the expert. There were times I would wait for her to turn the other way so I could scoop some icing out of the mixing bowl. It was just enough to satisfy my taste buds! Sometimes I was caught in action and other times she would never know.
Me and my mom
No matter how tired my mom was, she was never tired to cook for her family. There was something about cooking, especially baking, that brought great joy to my mom’s heart. She saw it as a compliment when friends and family would ask her to bake a cake for the holidays, especially when my friends would also put in their requests. You should see my family competing to get that last slice of cake or pie at holiday gatherings! Not to mention that my family could not wait to pack up leftovers in their Tupperware to take home to enjoy the next day. Every year she bakes a cake for me when my birthday comes around. This past December, she baked a chocolate cream cheese cake, and it was yummy.
Now as an adult, I like to call my mom before I visit and ask her what is on the menu. The excitement in her voice warms my heart as I know she loves to talk about her cooking. As she shares her menu, I can hardly wait to enjoy her cooking as most of the time it is from scratch.
Now that I am a mom, I find great joy when my son Tre asks me to cook for him. If anyone knows my son, you know he wants chicken fingers, pizza, hot dogs or his dad’s famous grilled cheese sandwich. Thank goodness he is simple because I am no chef, but I like to believe I can do a little something in the kitchen from time to time. Sometimes I catch my son in the mood to experiment with different dishes, which gets me excited.
Unlike me, my son wants to spend time with me in the kitchen and help out. He says it's our bonding time. He is such a charming little guy! Trust me, that bonding time only lasts for 10 – 15 minutes before he heads off to playing video games. There's no hard feelings, as I enjoy our time in the kitchen even if it isn’t from start to finish. I guess he gets that from me.
In celebration of Mother’s Day, Tre decided to cook for me, with some assistance, of course. Since he has a football game scheduled on Mother’s Day weekend, he offered to make a simple dish in addition to his promise of scoring a touchdown. This meal was a memorable one! After all, mothers love first everything. “Firsts” are perfect milestones we look forward to all the time.
My son Tre and his salad creation
So, my son made me a fresh salad with all of my favorite fixings – grilled chicken, spinach, apples, pecans, almonds, with a little bleu cheese. Everything about it was perfect because he made it. He put in effort, creativity and energy. He was so focused and really enjoyed his time in the kitchen.
I asked him what made him decide to cook as part of my Mother’s Day gift, and he said, “This is something you always do for me, so I want to do it for you." I promise there was no crying over here, just sweaty eyelids. In all seriousness, that was an amazing gift, and it will be an unforgettable one. Mother’s Day can easily be celebrated in the kitchen. Whether you sit and enjoy a meal with your mom or cook for her, she will love the gift of thoughtfulness and effort. Most importantly, she will love it because of you.
Grilled Chicken Blue Cheese Salad
Serves: 2 people
Prep time: 10 minutes
6 cups mixed greens
2 grilled chicken breasts, diced
1/2 cup red and green apples, halved
2 green apples, small diced
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles
Favorite salad dressing
Place the greens, grilled chicken and apples in a large bowl. Top with almonds, and blue cheese crumbles. Drizzle salad with dressing of choice and serve immediately.
A similar recipe can be found here.
If you are interested in celebrating Mother’s Day in the kitchen whether virtually or in person, here are some upcoming classes The Chopping Block is hosting next weekend:
- Virtual Celebration of Bubbles for Mother's Day Sunday, May 9 3pm CST
- Virtual Mother's Day Sunday Dinner: Gnocchi Al Forno Sunday, May 9 4:30pm CST
- Mother's Day: Hands-On Trip to Provence Saturday, May 8 11am at Lincoln Square
We also have kids and teen summer cooking camps to get your kids inspired to spend more time in the kitchen!