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.
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.
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.
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.]