Mother’s Day is coming up soon (May 10 — write it down) and to get into the spirit, we thought we’d ask Sur La Table employees to tell us about the best dish made by their moms. Check out their answers below, and then leave us a note in the comments about the best dish YOUR mom makes!
“My mom, by her own admission, is not a great cook. I’ll go ahead and back up that claim.
But she has a handful of solid-to-strong arrows in her culinary quiver. My favorite dish that my mom made by far has always been the one that she saves for “special occasion” dinners like Easter or Xmas, which is roast beef and Yorkshire pudding with roast potatoes, a veg like green beans or Brussels sprouts or carrots, and super yummy, thick gravy made from OXO bullion cubes.
The secret magic comes from the fact that a) the roast potatoes are cooked in lard (the solutions to most world problems, plainly, is LARD!), and b) the Yorkshire pudding gets cooked underneath the roast beast, allowing for all the drippings to infuse it with roast meaty goodness.
A-MAZE-ING. My mouth is literally watering as I type.” – Pete Graham, Senior Director, Online Creative, Seattle
“My mom is a wonderful cook. ‘The best!’ as her own mom always said (I wholeheartedly agree). Among her many family-famous dishes, my favorite is her stuffed artichokes—filled with homemade seasoned breadcrumbs, steamed, and then drenched in garlic butter. They aren’t just my favorite thing that she makes; they’re my favorite thing that anyone makes. They’re all I ever want for my birthday. HINT! I love you, Mom!” – Rebecca Pellman, Internal Communications Manager, Seattle
“No special occasion passes in my family without Mom breaking out her weathered aebleskiver pans. When she’s cooking for a crowd, every burner gets its own pan, and she’s a flurry of motion as she butters each cavity, pours batter, then turns each individual aebelskiver. Double, triple, quadruple batches—it doesn’t matter. We always eat them all. Raspberry jam (though lingonberry is acceptable, too) and powdered sugar only, please. Syrup is sacrilegious.” – Cory Newbiggin, Copywriter, Seattle
“Italian Casserole—simple name, I love it because my mother has been making it for years and it has a lot of comfort in it. Anyone she makes it for falls in love right away and I still get excited when I know she is going to make it. Beyond comfort food!!!!!” – Diane Casares, Culinary Lead, San Antonio
“For sure without a doubt her Mac’n Cheese! It doesn’t matter what season it is, or the occasion, if the family is having dinner together the Mac’n Cheese has to be made. It’s not gourmet but it signifies home for me.” – Jason Hammock, Store Manager, Atlanta
“My mother was from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and she was a great cook. Every year for my birthday I would ask for her fried chicken with greens cooked in bacon fat and her corn pudding. My daughters now request Grandma Frances’ fried chicken for their birthday meals.” – John Neumark, Resident Chef, Kirkland
“My mom’s world famous dish is her Matzah Ball Soup! Every Passover she would give a printout of ‘Rate Karen’s Balls’ to all of our guests. The ratings would be based on texture, flavor and size. It was hysterical and she always got 10’s with funny notes from everyone. Whenever I had a bad day my mom would whip up her Matzah Balls and everything would look a lot better!” – Joel Gamoran, Senior Resident Chef, New York City
“One of my favorite dishes that momma made was goulash. My father was a city fireman and I was one out of 7 children. My father was a cook at the firehouse and momma didn’t know how to cook when she met my father. Today she is 79 years old and she still cooks every day and is always looking for new recipes. Momma could take a little bit of nothing from our pantry and make a wonderful meal out of it. Her goulash, which I still make today, is one of my most favorite dishes to eat. One of my brothers made the comment one day that his wife just doesn’t make it like momma!” – Dawne Mann, Customer Service Agent, Brownsburg
“My all-time favorite dish of my mom’s is what I call ‘Grandma’s Chicken.’ While it’s actually my Grandma’s recipe, it has always been my favorite dish of my mom’s — and when Grandma isn’t around to cook, who better than mom? There isn’t anything fancy or complicated about the dish, it’s just chicken breaded in Potato Buds and baked to a crispy perfection. The best part is the homemade sweet and sour sauce that accompanies it — a taste I will always associate with ‘Grandma’s Chicken.'” – Maddy Ross, Website Content Editor, Seattle
“My mom is famous for making great reservations! She owns a restaurant and likes to check out the competition on her days off. She really has no capacity to cook but lucky for her, my sister went to pastry school and I went to culinary school so when we celebrate at home with family, we do the cooking and everyone eats well!” – Lara Trepanier, Director of Store Operations, Seattle
“Was it the Hamburger Helper? Or perhaps the Jello salads that seemed to come out for every holiday meal (which were formed into elaborate molds when time allowed)? Or maybe it was the overcooked roast and vegetables? Nope. None of those were favorites. (Especially not the process of trying to chew well-done roast which seemed an impossible task as a child.) My mom’s culinary successes seemed to occur far more often in the area of baking. Cookies were always a favorite around the house although homemade varieties didn’t often make an appearance. Beyond the usual sugar cookies at Christmas, the strongest food memory for me is my mom’s Raisin Puff Cookies. No, they weren’t healthy at all but they were so incredibly tasty. They were like soft white puffy clouds filled with moist golden raisins (I recall she simmered them in water or maybe it was rum) and rolled in white sugar before baking. Heavenly!” – Beth Sullivan, Web Content Administrator, Seattle
“Thought to be a secret family recipe without any actual origin, my mom’s Butterscotch Cornflake Cookies never last more than a day in our house! As a kid, my Mom had to hide them when she made them to keep my brother and I from entering sugar induced comas. Made for every England holiday and sometimes just because, these easy no-bake cookies are a hit for any occasion.” – Laura England, Human Resources Coordinator, Seattle
Thanks, guys! All right — now you tell us: what’s your mom’s best dish?