Both the Fish Husband and I had the good fortune to have mothers who knew their way around the kitchen. Mine excelled in German and Italian cuisine, growing up in Milwaukee, Grandma B was great with seafood.
The foods I remember most from my mom were her incredible marinara sauce, and her amazing Thanksgiving and Christmas feasts. My sister and I get together every Thanksgiving, to make her apple and onion stuffing recipe, and at Christmas to make her stollen - a lengthy process, but worth every minute. Christmas breakfast wouldn't be the same without stollen.
For Christmas dinner, we would either have a huge leg of lamb, marinated in garlic and lemon juice, or standing rib roast with Yorkshire pudding. I can't really digest red meat any more, but my mouth still waters when I think about those wonderful meals she put together.
In later years, she moved more towards seafood, grilling fresh salmon at least once a week, and I loved her shrimp curry, a recipe that sadly died with her.
Marrying into the Burhop family opened me up to many new possibilities - when I lived in England, I started eating fish several times a week - raw oysters were a favorite, and French turbot, absolutely the best fish in the sea. For dinner parties, making a baked salmon recipe became one of my favorites, with fennel, garlic and tomatoes. The fresh seafood in London was wonderful, the choices many. So I turned to my mother-in-law for cooking advice once I moved back home and married her son.
I've known my mother-in-law since I was 5 years old, not something many people can say. We lived 4 blocks or so from the Burhop's, and they bought a house from some close friends of my parents. Grandma B and my mom became friends, working at a charity shop in Chicago together for years, magically disappearing many of our treasures into the shop. The Fish Husband claims she gave away his Mickey Mantle rookie card, I know my mother gave away all of my Nancy Drews.
But I will be forever grateful for the time they both spent with me, teaching me their favorite recipes. There's a bond with family recipes that keeps family members closer - I love the time I spend with my little sister making stuffing and stollen, even though I know she can do it very well without me. We both miss our mom, and that's a way of keeping her memory alive.
To all of you who still have your mothers, spend some special time with her - on Mother's Day, but other times as well. And if you're a mom, cook with your kids. It will stay with them forever.