Celebrate Mother’s Day by dining out or sharing a special meal at home

May 12, 2023

Crowds were out in force last May 6 for opening day of the Historic Lewes Farmers Market. From the vast array of choices, we settled on just a few items, as seen in the photo: bok choi, strawberries and purple radishes. But there were so many more choices — lots of asparagus, salad greens, dairy products, pork and beef, oysters, coffee and sweet treats, and potted plants to grow your own produce, just to name a few .

The weather was perfect, the dogs well-behaved (at least while we were there) and everyone seemed to be in a good mood to match the spring sunshine. This coming weekend is when we’ll celebrate Mother’s Day, so you may want to check the HLFM website to see what the vendors will have available to build a special menu for your mom.

The history of Mother’s Day is a somewhat unexpected one. The original idea came from Anna Jarvis in 1908, to honor the many sacrifices of her mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis, who died in 1905. Ann gave birth to 13 children, but only four of them lived to adulthood. She spent her life finding ways to aid mothers, organizing work clubs to teach women about hygiene and sanitation to fight high infant mortality rates.

At the time of Ann’s death, her daughter Anna envisioned a celebration from the perspective of a devoted daughter, honoring the work done by her mother to improve the lives of others. Anna’s motto was “For the Best Mother who Ever Lived - Your Mother,” which may explain why the placement of the apostrophe indicates the day is for a singular mother.

In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson designated the second Sunday in May as a national holiday. Soon thereafter, the commercialization of the holiday expanded as greeting card companies, florists and candy makers hawked their products as the ideal gifts for every mother. White carnations and specially marked candy boxes saw prices skyrocket and availability plummet, distressing the holiday’s founder, Anna.

Anna devoted the rest of her life to fighting against the celebration of Mother’s Day, going so far as to copyright the phrase “Second Sunday in May, Mother’s Day.” Of course, companies started using the plural form “Mothers’ Day” to get around her control of the original phrase. As her well-intentioned gesture took on a life of its own, she became obsessed with repealing the official holiday. She spent the final years of her life in a Philadelphia sanatorium, dying destitute and alone in 1948.

Anna’s original reason for Mother’s Day is one we can all embrace — a personal celebration of our own mother. Whether an elegant meal at a favorite restaurant or a quiet brunch at home, there are many ways to tell your mother how much you appreciate all she has done for you. In our specific situation, our mothers are no longer living, so we will have a celebratory dinner in their honor, starting by toasting their memory with a glass of Prosecco.

We opted to use our purchases from the market for our simple dinner menu. We made a starter by roasting the radishes, seasoned with smoked paprika. Our main course was a bok choi stir-fry featuring tofu and sesame seeds. The obvious choice for dessert was strawberry shortcake, using slices of pound cake instead of biscuits for the bottom layer, and finishing it with dollops fresh whipped cream. Happy Mother’s Day!

Roasted Radishes

1 lb radishes
1 1/2 T olive oil
1/2 t salt
1/4 t white pepper
1/4 t smoked paprika
1/8 t onion powder
1/8 garlic powder

Preheat oven to 400 F. Trim radishes to remove green top and root end. Place in a bowl and toss with remaining ingredients. Arrange radishes in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast until golden, about 30 minutes.

Bok Choi Tofu Stir-Fry

3 scallions 
1 garlic clove
3 heads bok choi
1/2 lb tofu
1 T toasted sesame oil
1 t olive oil
1 T grated ginger 
1 T soy sauce
1 T vegetable broth
1/2 t sesame seeds

Trim and slice scallions; set aside. Mince garlic; set aside. Rinse thoroughly and trim off base of bok choi, and cut into 1-inch thick slices; set aside. Drain tofu and cut into 1-inch cubes; set aside. Heat sesame oil and olive oil in a large skillet over medium. Add scallions, garlic and bok choi; cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Add tofu and ginger. Deglaze the pan with soy sauce and broth; cook until heated through, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve over steamed rice. Yield: 2 servings.

Strawberry Shortcake

1 lb strawberries
1 t sugar
1 t lemon juice
slices of pound cake
whipped cream

Stem berries and thickly slice into a bowl. Sprinkle with sugar and lemon juice; toss gently. Allow strawberries to macerate for about 30 minutes. To serve, place a slice of pound cake on a dessert plate, top with strawberries and garnish with whipped cream. 


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