With Mother’s Day just around the corner, the Food & Wine staff took a moment to reflect on their favorite dishes cooked by mom. Here are a few of our staff’s most beloved mom-made meals and the cookbooks that inspired them.
Danica Lo, Digital Director
Growing up, we ate home-cooked Chinese food five days a week. On Fridays and Saturday nights, we’d usually go out for dinner or eat a “foreign” meal at home—maybe pizza, spaghetti with spicy sausages bought from the local Italian butcher, DIY sushi hand rolls, or gyros from the Greek restaurant down the street (I grew up in Queens). My favorite homemade non-Chinese dinner was always my mom’s pork chops. It wasn't until just a few years ago that she told me it was one of the first non-Asian dishes she learned to make—from Delia Smith’s Complete Cookery Course, which she bought in England when they were released in the ‘80s as a companion piece to Smith’s cooking show on the BBC.
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Laura Rege, Test Kitchen Senior Editor
I love my mom’s marinara sauce. She uses fresh tomatoes and lets it cooks all day long with some kind of meat so it takes on this really great meaty flavor. It’s just her go-to dish and she actually learned it from my dad’s parents. It’s a classic Italian-American recipe that’s been in the family for years.
Phoebe Melnick, Video Producer
Kelsey Youngman, Test Kitchen Assistant
My mom makes the zuccanoes (stuffed zucchini) from The Moosewood Cookbook. They’re tied to my mom because they’re both really comforting and super healthy. They’re very emblematic of my childhood and bring me back to when I was little and would come home from school and smell them baking in the oven. They’re cheesy and vegetal and delicious, but light enough where I could go play in the backyard after eating one.
Rebekah Lowin, Digital Reporter
My mom makes meatloaf with my grandma’s recipe a few times a year and it is out-of-this-world good. When my three siblings and I were growing up, she’d make it for us every few weeks; it’s a protein-rich dish that comes together so easily, and we could all have huge portions. Plus, the ketchup in it gives it such a great sweetness. She also has a copy of The Joy of Cooking in our kitchen and seeing the cover of that cookbook always makes me smile now because it reminds me of being at home in Connecticut.
Max Bonem, Features Writer
I was super picky growing up, but my mom made this teriyaki chicken fried rice that was just so dang good. It was really simple, just teriyaki sauce, sesame oil and soy sauce, but she used arborio rice sometimes and it was really just the best. She also makes a few classic dishes out of Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, like French onion soup and scalloped potatoes. Pardon me while I go drool for a minute.
Abby Hocking, Digital Photo Editor
My favorite food growing up was my mom’s meatloaf. She made it exactly like my aunt’s amazing meatball recipe—with soft white bread and no bread crumbs. I always ruined it by slathering it in ketchup, but I don't think she minded.
Morgan Goldberg, Editorial Assistant
My mom makes my grandma's challah french toast every time I go home and it's probably my favorite breakfast of all time. It's buttery and fluffy and perfect. All my friends love coming to my parents' house just to eat it.
Arielle Cifuentes, Digital Photo Editor
Arroz con gandules, or rice with pigeon peas. I loved it so much as a kid that I could eat it without any meat at all; the rice and gandules alone were perfect. My mom always cooks rice to the perfect texture, it’s the best! However, I just looked up the dish’s nutritional facts and one serving is like 1,200 calories.