Personally this week I am planning for Mothers Day which is coming up on Sunday the 6th March. I have two women to think of; my own mother and my wife; mother of our children. They understand the concept of making it a special day for Mammy but they need my help to procure the gifts and help with arrangements. Their idea of what their mother would like as a gift is often touching, sometimes crazy and other times quite ingenious. In a recent pre shopping chat someone suggested that, “Mammy might like a new set of Star Wars Lego!” (Mental note to self, “Teach the children to be less mercenary!”)
When it comes to my own mother I am finding it increasingly difficult to come up with fresh ideas for gifts come any occasion, but particularly Mothers Day. I have friends who have echoed a similar sentiment. Flowers, chocolates, ornaments are all great and suffice for a time but then suddenly they seem lame and inadequate. Maybe you only feel this way once you become a parent yourself and suddenly you appreciate your own parents more. Perhaps our gift anxiety is more about trying to repay, when really that is quite impossible.
I have recently discovered that what humans ultimately appreciate more than anything is simply time spent together. A friend of mine who is in her late fifties concurs completely. She pointed out that as an older woman she has everything she needs materially. She has lost interest in collecting more stuff and is, in fact, giving things from her house to her adult children as she feels it is one less thing to dust. She told me that at this point in her life she is collecting memories; days spent with her grandchildren, browsing shops with her daughters and, of course, long lazy family meals where they all get together to break bread and fellowship.
That conversation certainly gave me a fresh perspective. What’s interesting is that the origin of mothering Sunday has its roots in that idea of family. Traditionally girls in service at the big houses were allowed home to visit their mothers on one Sunday during Lent. Commercialism, as with many other traditions, has wrestled the day from our hands and packaged it in flowers, schmaltzy poetry and expensive cards. Obviously if you are out of the country there is little you can do but send the cards and flowers but if you are here then you could make a bigger effort to do something that costs time rather than money.
So this year I’ve decided to cook at home. Many people like to take their mothers out for lunch on Mothers day and if you have a group of adults that may be fine. Sadly with children it is my least favourite option. There is a false sense that it will be alright as they are usually well behaved for the first 20 minutes and then you spend the rest of the time trying to restrain them from running around the dining room or escaping and getting lost. Someone always wants to go to the loo just as your dinner arrives to the table and inevitably there will be row, a spillage or some other potential calamity. Eating under such conditions is unpleasant for all, even the doting grandparents and that’s before you deal with the disapproving looks of the strangers around you.
The recipe below is ideal for a family lunch at home. There are also plenty more on the website with ‘How to’ videos as well so no excuse for not creating the perfect Mothers Day meal this Sunday.