What is Mom Food?

Mom Food is about the people who feed us because they love us.  It’s also about the food that evokes memories of being loved.

For me, it’s my mom. For you, it may be your dad, your aunt, a grandparent, or the person next door who took care of you when your parents couldn’t.

Mom Food (or Dad Food or Aunt Food) is about that feeling of love you get when you eat that certain thing your mom fixed you when you were little, or when you were sick.  Mom Food is the thing that makes you eat your Cream of Wheat with butter and honey, “because that’s the way Grandpa made it.”

This project has been years in the imagining. For the last few years, I’ve been having long, happy conversations with my mother, both in person and on the phone, while she walks me through the recipes of my childhood.  She loves doing it, because it brings home to her the fact that her children realize what a loving act it was, feeding our large family.  It also assures her that those foods she so lovingly prepared for us — often foods she herself didn’t like — will survive when she is gone, and go on to bring joy to the next generation.

My mom loves to cook, and cooks well, but we didn’t have what most people would think of as fancy foods.  Mom Food doesn’t have to be fancy and elaborate.  Mom Food is just food — creamed peas on toast, or spaghetti with tomato sauce, or congee — made by someone who loves you.  If there are kids in your life, I hope you will take the time to cook for them, so that some day, they will find themselves putting olive oil, salt, and fresh basil on chopped summer tomatoes because that’s the way you made it for them.

That’s Mom Food.

5 Steps to Creating Your Own Mom Food Project

About the Project

I will cook my Mom Food and show it to you. That is, both the food of my mother and the food I make when I’m being a mom.  I will cook your Mom Food if you will let me know what it is.  And I will do some research and share with you the Mom Food of other communities and cultures. Don’t you want to know what moms and dads and grannies in Indonesia and Haiti and South Carolina and Ottawa and Malawi serve their kids? I sure do.  So that’s the Project, in a nutshell. Expect lots of photos (and, I hope, some improvement in my photographic skill). Expect a TON of recipes.  And expect to hear a lot about my mom, who is talented and loving and, as I always say, “a kick in the head”.  In a good way.

About Me

Serene making salted angel's breat
Serene making salted angel's bread

I have been cooking with my mother since I was four years old. A long-time participant in online food communities, I started my own food blog in 2006. The Mom Food Project is part gift to my amazing mother, Joan Vannoy, and part gift to the world. I  really believe that cooking for the people one loves, and offering the food with joy and love, is a healing act that makes the world a better place.

The salted angel's bread
The salted angel's bread

About my Mom

Mom (all of my friends have always called her “Mom” — it’s just the way things are) is a bright, energetic, fierce force of nature.  She loves her kids passionately, and lavishes that love on us in all its imperfect glory.  She and I have had a rocky, difficult history, but we worked hard at our relationship and have ended up very close friends. We talk on the phone nearly every day, and make each other laugh so much it hurts sometimes.

Mom has 13 grandkids. The oldest is 20 years old and until very recently, lived with her (that’s him in her arms in the picture; he’s grown a fair bit since then).  They keep her busy, as you can well imagine.

For more about my family, see “My Family“.

[Note to sponsors:  I don’t do product reviews. I do accept cookbooks to review, but I don’t promise a positive mention, and if I don’t like your book, I won’t mention it at all, because my Mom taught me good manners.]

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19 thoughts on “What is Mom Food?”

    1. May I quote you on the blog? The part I’d like to quote is “Mom Food is the reason I started making pies and what the Provincial Pie Window is all about.”, and I can credit you any way you like.

  1. Thanks, Jaynelle. It’s funny, because the second I saw your Twitter info, I thought “Yes. Exactly!” Rock on.

  2. I love this blog and this project idea! I found you through BlogFrog and 31DBBB. You have inspired me to keep at it with cooking for and with my little ones (just under 2 and one just 2 months). You have reminded me of so many foods from my childhood – especially the simple honey bread and warm milk dad would make when I couldn’t sleep.

    I would love for you to consider sharing your project on my blog in a guest post. I post recipes from time to time and have a tab devoted to them. I think my readers would love what you have to say!


    1. Aw, thank you so much! Did the honey go on the bread first? If so, that reminds me of the crackly texture my honey bread would get before I made it into a sandwich (usually with peanut butter and/or butter). Thanks for recalling that memory for me.

      And thank you SO much for the offer to guest blog, but I’m not sure that as an atheist I’m a very good fit for your site. Thanks, though; your blog is great!

      I see that you made the Crash Hot Potatoes — I did, too. Weren’t they surprisingly great? I didn’t think there could be a new way to roast potatoes, but she really nailed it!

      1. Honey bread – bread very lightly toasted with a thin layer of butter. When the butter is all melted in, smooth on a thin layer of butter. Yum!

        And yes, those crash hot potatoes were incredible!

  3. Mmmmmmm!!! You are bringing so many memories to the forefront of my mind! Mmmmm! I love my Grandma’s sour dough pancakes! My Grandpa used to put a strip of straight sugar down the middle and roll it up like a taco. And my other grandma always made us german dumplings with ginger gravy- SO good! What a thing to celebrate in a blog!
    – yo SITStah, CK

    1. Oh, gosh, I hope you don’t mind me quoting you. Don’t you just love wallowing in those memories? Did you get the recipes for those pancakes and dumplings?

  4. I can’t wait to look through some of your recipes! I love new recipes. My favorite ones, though, are the ones passed down to me from my mom. I love cooking things my mom made for me when I was growing up. Mom Food is comfort food. It makes me feel good when I’ve had a crappy day. :)

  5. Serene,
    I love the story of you started your blog! Most of my Chinese cuisine recipes in my blog are given to me by mum and the Western by my hubby. When you see the recipes that are neither completely Western or Chinese, you know it is my creation hehe. I first started my blog with the intention to document all my Mum’s recipes so that they will not be lost. My wish is to share the joy my family received from mum’s cooking to as many people as possible. This project of documenting my mum’s recipes has transformed me from from a person who is not interested in cooking and know nothing about photography, to loving cooking and taking pictures of food everyday now. Isn’t that amazing? I truly believe Family is the main ingredient in our live, without it, we will be under nourished.

  6. Every once in a while I surf your blog to see if you’ve found out yet what a fraud I am. In truth, I’m a wampire (the spelling is my own, thank you) who turned your mother years ago. Hahahaha!

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