I've been lucky to have not just one "mother" all these years: my childhood nanny, Wendy, my beyond-inspirational high school teachers Señora Kanter, Mrs. Sagan, Ms. Stone, and Mrs. DeVito, my college-counselor-turned-mentor Debbie C., Mary F., Meg L. (whom I consider more a big sister, but count among this distinguished group), my grandma, my aunts, and of course, the momma who bore me, took such good care of me throughout the different phases of my life, from cradle to college to Cambridge. Today, I'm thinking of all of you and am so thankful for your patience, your grace, your love, and your unconditional support throughout the years.
On a lighter note, I had the not-unusual problem of getting the perfect Mother's Day gift. My mom isn't super materialistic or brand-obsessed, but before she worked for my father, she worked in retail at Henri Bendel's and Barney's New York for many years and developed good, albeit expensive taste during her time there. And because she worked in the shoe department, she also accumulated a tremendous shoe collection. If I had three wishes from a genie, one of them would be to shrink my size 8.5-9 feet to my mom's size so I could inherit the beautiful shoe pieces in her closet.
Anyone who's met my mom knows that her taste is as expensive as her body fat is spare. Despite the latter, she actually does eat, and is a huge cereal person. The library of cereal boxes in my parents' house consists of maple and brown sugar Quaker Oat Squares, Raisin Nut Bran, some type of Frosted Mini Wheats (they have so many different flavors now), and at least three varieties of granola. Most of these are my mom's, as my dad tends to stick to some combination of a toasted everything bagel with cream cheese, eggs, nova, and corned beef hash when he has the choice.
So given that I can't exactly afford a Prada handbag or a Hermès scarf to give to her (maybe one day I will be able to, but for now I'll just have to find a sweet knockoff when I'm in Shanghai), I decided to make homemade "kitchen sink" granola for her. It was basically a gluten-free/raw/vegan recipe blogger's fantasy with a mix of the following (should you care to recreate it): dried fruit, shredded coconut, chopped almonds, sunflower seeds, chopped walnuts, gluten-free oats, millet, quinoa, buckwheat groats, raw sugar, vanilla, maple syrup, allspice, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon. I didn't have any proportions--I mostly kept looking into the bowl and checking for a balance of colors and textures. It turned out really well, barring a few pieces of the dried fruit getting a bit charred.
Here I am with my bowlful and final jarful of culinary creation for my mom (who, ironically, hates to cook, but respects and embraces my love for fellow NJ-native, Martha Stewart).
(If you're reading this shortly after posting time, there's a good amount of extra in my apartment. So if you're in the Boston area and want a taste, there's some granola to share, along with gluten-free chocolate rice krispie treats that will make their way into the office tomorrow unless otherwise consumed.)
If you ask me, Mother's Day isn't just for mothers. I see it more as a celebration of women, a day to reflect on and revel in all we do to create and care for life within the world, from the breakfast table to the boardroom. In that spirit, I wish you and yours a happy Mother's Day.