In honor of Mother’s Day this Sunday, we are reprinting the Where Women Cook article from Debbie’s Mother’s Day Gr8 Dinner Theme in May of 2014.
“Aromas bring us back to our days around the table.” When I realized that the date I was hosting this year was the night before Mother’s Day, my husband and I knew that we wanted to honor our mothers. Our lives are so busy and complicated that gathering around a dinner table is not the common occurrence it used to be. Mom’s kitchen was always all about the laughter, the conversation, and the delicious smells. The 8 of us have raised our kids together and become like family, so it was natural to want to share and re-create our childhood memories through food.
I started with remembering the gadgets my mom and granny had used around the kitchen. Then I thought about my favorite meal, my mom’s brisket and fried corn. So the theme came together easily, a vintage vibe with each of our mom’s best recipes. Working in the art room at Sizzix and having a passion for custom invitations, I knew what the look should be.
The next step was the invitation. Sizzix had just released their new 50’s line which included the lady with the apron die-cut. I found the vintage aprons and the flour canisters, and from there all the pieces fell into place. The size of the invitation doesn’t matter because the invitations are not mailed. They are always hand delivered and, remember, there are only three. The invitation is the most important part of the dinner party because no one knows the theme or their assigned dish until they open their front door to find the uniquely created invitation.
The main course, which the hostess always makes, would be the brisket and I had to include the fried corn. Each couple was assigned a course and it could be from either of their mothers. Jurga brought her mother-in-law’s Spiced Salad, Anna was charged with the green vegetable, and Kyle brought dessert. Since Anna’s mom’s favorite green vegetable to make was a can of green beans (French style), she decided the better choice would be her Italian mother-in-law’s Broccoli Rabe. Kyle couldn’t decide so she brought TWO desserts, her mother’s Never Fails Chocolate Cake and her mother-in-law’s Blueberry Bread Pudding…yummy!
As the date drew near, the decoration planning began. This was easy because the theme was basically the kitchen. Between my own kitchen and my friend’s vintage collection, I had enough to decorate the appetizer table, the kitchen island and the dining table. Where should everything go? What will the place cards look like? How can I incorporate the Bundt pan and colander into the design? Where should I put the fresh flowers? In the bowl of the Kitchen Aid mixer! My old cookbooks are perfect, will they work in the centerpiece?
The week before the dinner is when the pressure is on; the time-line, grocery list, shopping and all the prep…oh and making sure the house is clean! The hostess has the most work, but you only host once a year and the other couples bring a dish, so much of the load is lightened.
As the day of the dinner party dawns I awake with lists of “things to do” going through my mind. The day is a whirlwind and before I know it the doorbell rings and our best friends have arrived with delicious smelling dishes, beautifully wrapped hostess gifts, and wonderful hugs and greetings. We welcome them with one of Phil’s signature cocktails, the Ginger Mojito, and yet another Gr8 evening begins.
As we celebrated the moms in our lives and our childhood favorite dishes, we enjoyed having Martha Schuster, of Modern Mayhem Photography, capturing these amazing shots for Stampington & Company and Where Women Cook magazine. Thank you Martha!
For decorations go shopping in your own home and borrow from friends. You’ll be amazed at what you can put together.
As printed in the Fall 2014 issue of Where Women Cook magazine.
Phil’s Ginger Mojitos
Fresh Tomato Bruschetta
Until our next Gr8 Dinner,