My mother died 21 years ago, and I feel the loss all over again with the upcoming Mother’s Day. As with most who have lost a mom – it’s hard to remember anything that she did wrong! My children were young, 12 and 9, when she died but their memories are very vivid. Memories of her smell, her cologne and her laugh. Because of these memories, and because of the thoughts spurred on by this topic, we have taken on the task of arranging a tribute brunch to the memory of my Mother. My daughters and I also feel the importance of including our families and any relatives and friends that can make it. The number of those coming is growing daily!
The girls and have decided it is important to include recipes that were Moms favorites when we plan the menu. We have made lists, things that I grew up eating, as well as things they remember best from the times they were able to stay with “Grandma”. She loved grilled steak. (My father always tells the story of coming in one day at noon to find Mom cooking lunch. He made the statement that it was too bad she had started cooking, as he had wanted to take her out for steak at their favorite steak buffet. Dad says she didn’t even hesitate; she turned off the burners and said “I’m ready!” He always laughs at how fast she made up her mind!) Another of her favorites was barbecue ribs, with potato salad and baked beans. I’m fortunate to have her recipe box so we should be able to duplicate the flavors! The girls remember desserts, — things such as pound cake (made with 12 eggs), and apple crisp.
So, it’s settled! The menu will be centered around grilled steak, barbecue, potato salad, pound cake and apple crisp! We will add other side dishes that our families enjoy such as grilled chicken and cole slaw. Maybe a few more desserts would be good too, and after discussion we have decided to have all those attending bring a dessert that was a favorite to their family, handed down from Moms and Grandmothers.
We are praying that Mother’s Day will bring sunny skies! Between my daughters and I we have three grills which will enable us to cook the chicken and ribs first, saving the third grill for the steaks – which won’t need as much time. We have decided on a local park which will give everyone room to ‘spread out’ (!) – Kids have room to run and can bring bikes or toys.
To set things up we will bring toiletries for the bathroom close to the site we have picked; things such as hand sanitizers, bug spray, extra toilet paper, Kleenex and Band-Aids which we will put in baskets in the bathroom. We also have cases of bottled water and also cases of soft drinks, diet and regular, a huge coffee maker, and plastic table cloths.
Another great idea my oldest daughter has come up with – we will ask everyone to bring a photo of their Mom, Grandmother, or important figure for us to display on a table for all to see.
We have come up with party lights – all kinds – everything from chili pepper lights to Tiki-torches! (Ok, that’s my husband’s idea – he loves Tiki torches!)
The time we have put on the invitations is 2:00 p.m. We chose this time because is early enough to begin the grills, but late enough for younger families with kids to sneak in a nap, or others to go to church services. It also is past the very hot part of the day which should make it much more enjoyable for all.
At approximately noon Mother’s Day my daughters and I plan to head to the park to begin setting things up. We are going to take a bug fogger spray to coat the ground around the table area just in case bugs abound! It’s fairly early in the season for such, but we would rather be prepared than miserable! With the bug spray cans in the bathroom also available to all we are hoping we have that problem handled.
Heat may be an issue too so we have decided to take our box fans and run extension cords where need be just to keep the air moving along the ground a little. My daughters have volley ball nets, Croquet sets (that’s from my Mom’s youth for sure!) badminton sets and even a softball and bat should anyone should be brave enough to make the challenge and pick teams!
There is a pavilion in our chosen area making bad weather only a minor issue.
We have lots of extension cords and also have purchased citronella candles that we can set around for lighting and more bug deterrent. (Can you tell I don’t like bugs?) The girls like the candles in paper bags they have seen out at Christmas celebrations, so we have also decided to go to the Dollar Store where we can purchase a bunch of votive candles, lunch bags and at the same time pick up paper plates and napkins. Of course we will need sand or stones to put in the bottom of the bag – the girls decided dirt and rocks from my farm will work just as well!
My, what a collection of things we have! We will purchase foil serving pans, like the turkey pans during the holidays, to put the meats in, and also to make the salads in. I have also added a fruit salad to the list; even though we have dessert I think a little fruit salad makes it more festive.
I am in charge of baking the pound cake (will make two as the crowd is now up to 30 folks!), and also the apple crisp, and all I can say is thank God she had recipes! I remember her baking was a lot of unmeasured amounts, a scoop of this, a pinch of that, — as I am sure is the same with most Mom’s we are honoring, — and without a recipe for these special items I’d be lost!
We have made up the list of ingredients and estimated to the best we can the amounts needed. During the mention of the eggs for the pound cake we remembered how good Mom’s deviled eggs were – and had to add a few more dozen eggs to the list! (She taught me how to make them when I first got married 33 years ago!)
(We almost forgot ice chests! Don’t forget ice either if you are planning such a celebration!)
OK. This has turned out to be a bit longer than necessary, but you get the idea and can expand on our “processes”! We are sure we have thought of everything to make this a successful and memorable time together for our family and friends. Be brave! Jump in and plan your own get together as a tribute to the wonderful moms, grandmothers and women of your lives!