Thursday, 05 May 2022 16:15 Written by John Reardon

Hellomy Foodie Friends!   

This weekend is Mother’s Day. It is a time that I find difficult in that I lost my mother many years ago. Paula’s Mom is still with us. She has been a special Mother-in-Law to me who I love very much. Remembering my mother at this time brings back those memories that make me laugh and cry. 

I have talked about growing up in an Italian family in many of my articles. Italians are a matriarchal nationality. It’s the women who carry on the traditions and hand out the majority of discipline, wisdom and nurturing to the children. As I was growing up being one of five siblings, every room in the house involved teaching and training by my mother. The bedroom was making your bed, dusting furniture, sweeping the floor or vacuuming the rugs and organizing your clothes. The Bathroom was to be kept clean at all times and the living room was “keep your feet off the couch.” The Kitchen had the most intense training. Washing and drying dishes to cleaning and setting the table. 

At the kitchen table we learned so much by sitting at a table (not a center island the way we do today) and shared everything from how our day went to how to pass the potatoes. We learned manners; how to hold a fork and at the beginning of the meal watching how much Mom did to prepare the meals and us for dinner. Her words before every meal were to wash up before you sit at the table. Every meal stated the essentials for us not to forget to do: “Remember, hands, face, neck and ears.” Why all the extras? With three boys and two girls who all played in a wondrous place that does not seem to exist anymore - called outside. We looked like we came out of the mines coming in the door but at the table we were cleaned up nice or she sent us back for more washing. 

One such dinner my father, who was working two jobs at the time, asked for silence at the dinner table. This was very difficult for five kids but we were doing ok until the whistle! My Dad was exhausted, and he had congestion in his nose. So it whistled while he breathed through his nose as he ate. As the whistling continued my brothers and I could not keep a straight face and we snickered. My dad who could hear the whistle but he did not realize it was he who was whistling. Dad then ordered the whistler to stop or to bed they would go. The whistling continued and we tried to freeze our faces but it would not work and I burst into uncontrollable laughter. I proclaimed: “dad it’s you”! He questioned my sanity and I was off to bed for secret whistling. My brothers and sisters were mum on the subject. I then laughed all the way to bed. In the end there was absolutely no rule Dad could make that my Mom was not allowed to break if she saw fit (Mom broke me out). I still to this day smile when I think of it or when I have dinner with my brothers and sisters and they bring up that time that dad whistled. 

Compliments to the Chef would like to salute all the Moms who have made life happen in our homes and especially the Kitchen. Who was the first one to start cooking a meal and the last to sit down for a meal? Who was still in the kitchen cleaning well after everyone else had left? What room in the house did mom dole out free advice on dating, school, employment and dealing with disappointment? Where did some your funniest memories of Mom take place? 

Foodie moms are the easiest to please on a special day – especially Mother’s Day. If she’s into cooking special meals for you or she’s one who simply loves to eat, there are so many exciting ways to give her a treat these days. Creating a “foodie” theme for your Mom can be a fun way to tell her how much you appreciate her cooking

This Mother’s Day when it is time for dinner, seat Mom first and clean up so she can enjoy her day. Call Mom on a regular basis and tell how you feel about her. You cannot say “I love you Mom” enough. I bet I know where she will be when you stop by to see her. Whatever the gift is that you give your Mom on Mother’s Day, the greatest gift is the smile and hug you’ll give her at her front door. 

Stop into Compliments to the Chef, your Neighborhood Kitchen and Cutlery store located at 33 Railroad Place and share a fun story about your mom! Remember my Foodie Friends and Moms: “Life Happens in the Kitchen” – those memories will last you a lifetime.

Take Care, John & Paula

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