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Mother’s Day: showing you care with food

How to make Mother's Day special, one meal at a time

In a time when it can be easy to feel lonely and anxious, staying connected with our friends and family is more important than ever. Although COVID-19 may have altered your usual arrangements for Mother’s Day, there are still ways to express gratitude for your mum.

Cooking is one of these, but by no means a minor one. Anyone who has heard of the five love languages test knows that ‘Acts of Service’ includes cooking, and sometimes this gesture is more meaningful and appreciated than a shop-bought gift. Cooking has a function beyond simply feeding people, of which bringing people together is one of the most important.

I’m going to come clean and admit that I’m no natural cook. Famously, I once attempted to make pesto pasta from 2kg of broccoli – yes, the recipe really did say 2kg and yes, I am aware that pesto is not made from broccoli – and managed to give my mum indigestion, so trust me when I say I’ve learnt what recipes work and which ones should definitely be avoided!

Evidently, the best place to start is breakfast. I’ve personally never made my mum breakfast as she is up hours before anyone else (it’s as though her body operates in the New York time zone) but waking up to a cooked breakfast has got to be one of life’s luxuries. From scrambled eggs on toast to pancakes drizzled with syrup, the gesture alone will surely be appreciated.

Next we move to lunch. I’m cautious to make suggestions here as lunch in our house is basically a second round of cereal, but I appreciate that proposal just won’t make the cut for Mother’s Day. If lunch is your family’s main meal, a few ideas include salmon and new potatoes, a pasta bake or spicy paella.

Otherwise, it’s never too early to serve cake. This most definitely can function as a meal (I’m willing to defend this claim over Facebook or email) and opens up a multitude of possibilities: lemon cake, carrot cake, any *insert fruit here* cake, coffee cake, scones, brownies, banana bread…  I’ll stop here before producing an overwhelming list, but there are thousands of recipes online. I would like to take this opportunity, however, to say that Nigella’s flourless chocolate cake and custard cream hearts are absolute game-changers, and have never failed to fool people into thinking I understand how to operate in a kitchen.

Finally we reach dinner. Some of you might have set yourself the challenge of a full roast – if this is the case, you have my full admiration. If not, an equally delicious prospect is a hearty, homemade curry with naan bread, daal and poppadums. Alternatively, vegetable pad thai or homemade pizza are both surprisingly easy to cook, even for novice chefs like me.

If all the cake has gone by this point (not an unlikely prospect) then homemade chocolate truffles are an indulgent way to finish the evening. This can be accompanied by a mug of warm tea, coffee or hot chocolate–or possibly your mum will be celebrating with a glass of champagne instead.

Mother’s Day is a time for celebration, and an easy but effective way to express love and appreciation for your mother is through cooking and baking. In the words of Virginia Woolf, “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well”.

Have a happy and safe Mother’s Day!

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