Just Like Mom Used to Make...
Country Living, May 2009
The owner of Foster's Market in Chapel Hill and Durham, North Carolina remembers her mother's:
Chicken Pot Pie
“‘Comforting’ is the best way to describe my mom’s cooking,” says Sara Foster, author of The Foster's Market Cookbook. Raised in Jackson, Tennessee, this Southern chef grew up eating slow-cooked vegetables and big family meals prepared by her mother, Say. Of all her mom's dishes, Foster's favorite remains chicken pot pie, filled with mushrooms, carrots and peas, topped with flaky biscuits. “My mom never used recipes," says Foster. “After I moved away, she'd talk me through the steps on the phone, saying things like, ‘Add the flour until it looks like the right consistency.’ She still cooks by memory today.”
The host of Lidia's Italy on PBS and owner of Felidia in New York City shares her mother's recipe for:
Though Lidia Bastianich's mamma, Erminia, was a full-time teacher when the family lived in Italy, she always found time to cook for them. When asparagus was in season, Erminia used it in every dish – gnocchi, polenta, frittatas, soup. "We would all come home at 3 p.m., and she'd already have the base of the soup,which she prepared the night before, ready to go," says Bastianich. "Then I would add in the asparagus, rice and Grana Padano cheese -- I was always helping her do something in the kitchen."
Chef and owner of Highland Bar & Grill, Bottega and Chez Fonfon, all in Birmingham, Alabama, recalls his mother's:
Lamb Shanks with Sweet Peas and Mint
"My mother, Marie, was the queen of the kitchen in Cullman County -- and a dead ringer for Grace Kelly with blonde hair that blew around whenever she drove her convertible," says Frank Stitt, whose latest book, Bottega Favorita, was published in December. "She had the patience of Job and never felt an inkling of remorse about time spent in the kitchen. This dish in particular was the hallmark of her innate talent and patience. She would simmer the lamb so that the braising juices were concentrated and clear before adding the peas and mint."
The founder of La Brea Bakery and co-owner of Pizzeria Mozza, both in Los Angeles, still adores her mother's:
Egg Salad Sandwich
Artisanal baker Nancy Silverton remembers her mother, Doris, as an experimental cook who was more interested in cuisine from foreign lands than, say, kid-friendly suppers like mac and cheese. “She loved making Middle Eastern food and beef bourguignon,” explains Silverton,who also notes her mom was a stickler when it came to preparing nutritionally balanced meals. “We never went to fast food restaurants, and I didn't get bologna or peanut butter and jelly like my friends." Her mother did, however, make one classic American specialty that delighted her daughter: egg salad. "It was always a treat to open my lunch box and discover that mom had packed my favorite 'healthy' sandwich."
The chef of Lucques, AOC, and Tavern, all in Los Angeles, reminisces about her mother's:
The first meal Suzanne Goin's mother, Marcia, cooked for Goin's father, John, was a Spam roast – he was duly horrified. "That's when he gave her Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking," says the chef. "So many of her dishes are from that cookbook that I almost feel like Julia Child were my mom." These Priest's Pancakes, however, have been in the family for generations. (Goin's grandparents hosted a clergyman, and in return he made them breakfast.) "They're very delicate, silver-dollar-size pancakes," says Goin. "You have to eat them quickly because they deflate."
The renowned vegetarian authoer of Local Flavors divulges her mother's recipe for:
“My mother lived in New York City before she married my dad and moved to a farm upstate,” says Deborah Madison. Her mom, Winifred, wasn’t interested in homesteading. Instead, she liked to play music and paint. “Cooking wasn’t really a priority,” admits Madison, and neither was preserving food. “She confided to me that one of her happiest moments was getting rid of her home canning equipment.” Winifred did, however, love to bake. “Food that wasn’t integral to getting our family fed was where she took pleasure.
The chef-owner of Frontera Grill and Topolobampo, both in Chicago, describes his mother's:
Rick Bayless – author of Mexico: One Plate at a Time – says his mother, Levita, was one of those cooks who relied on a few delicious go-to recipes. "She had one special-occasion dish that she called her egg soufflé,"says Bayless. "We've made it since time immemorial in my family. It's not really a soufflé at all. You pour custard over bread and bake it, and the result is more like a savory, cheesy bread pudding. It’s a real crowd pleaser. ” Still, it’s been 20 years since Levita cooked for her son. “Now," adds Bayless, "I'm always cooking for her.”