It seems hard to believe that my mother has been gone for 17 years. As you all know, I started Kitchen Chat as a way to honor my late father who was an incredible home chef. Recently my dear friend Barbara Lazaroff encouraged me to share more about my mother. My mother was very kind, highly intelligent, a prolific author, an accomplished high school English teacher, a breast cancer survivor and a woman of deep faith. Her quiet and reserved demeanor was the perfect pairing for my father’s ebullience and “joie de vivre.” She experienced tragedy at age 21 after losing her sister, Margaret in a car accident. Then at age 30 she faced the reality of almost losing my father to colon cancer and nearly becoming a single mom to my two brothers. Thankfully my father miraculously recovered, and I was born five years later.

My mother didn’t have the joy and love of cooking that my father did. In fact, it was fun to discover this note from her to my dad written in 1966!

I don’t have many childhood memories of cooking with my mother in the kitchen. She did make Sunday dinner, and I remember my father garnishing her dishes with his own flavorful additions. And I am sad to say that my precious daughters don’t have many childhood memories of cooking with me in the kitchen. Later in life, I have been trying to make up for this with all of the great lessons and recipes from the guests on Kitchen Chat. s

My daughter, Melissa. Photo Credit: True Grace Photography
My daughter Katie. Photo credit: Apple Rose Photography

For this Mother’s Day I would like to celebrate two special mothers and their daughters who have been on Kitchen Chat and who share their joy of cooking together in the kitchen.

CYNTHIA ROWLEY and her daughter, KIT KEENAN

What a delight for Chef Jaime Laurita and me to have a Kitchen Chat with this wonderful Mother/Daughter duo in NYC at the beautiful Middleby Residential Showroom. As you know, Cynthia is a world famous designer and her daughter, Kit is a style star who recently started her own fashion line. Cynthia grew up in the same Chicago suburb where I now live, and it was a delightful honor to attend Cynthia Rowley’s New York Fashion Week show and see her inspirational designs on the runway. Just as Cynthia and Kit create their own recipe for setting trends in the fashion industry, they enjoy exploring food trends and creating recipes in their own kitchen. “Kit totally changed the way we eat,” Cynthia says. Kit has introduced a lot of inspiration and healthy ingredients into their meals, and they both value the special time cooking together.

ALICE WATERS and her daughter FANNY SINGER

Alice Waters and Fanny Singer. Photo by Brigitte Lacombe

A true highlight in my culinary journey was sitting down for a Kitchen Chat with Alice Waters at Chez Panisse. What a delight for Jaime Laurita and me to recently have a Kitchen Chat with Alice Waters’ daughter, Fanny Singer about her new book Always Home: A Daughter’s Recipes and Stories. Fanny shares special memories about her mother’s tangible expression of love through creativity and that of course includes cooking together in the kitchen. Their relationship exudes joy, a shared respect for sustainability and an insatiable curiosity to keep learning and creating beauty in one’s environment.

For those who are celebrating Mother’s Day as a mom, a daughter, a daughter-in-law, someone who is inspired by a special woman or someone who inspires others in their life, I wish you all the best from the heart of my kitchen.

My mother and me coming home from the hospital

Happy Mother’s Day!

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