Mother's Day

An Ode to Mothers

Chef Judi remembers her mother, Riva Cooper.

By Judi Gallagher May 10, 2017

Screen shot 2017 05 10 at 5.24.15 pm kmcwqr

A lobster roll is on Chef Judi's Mother's Day menu.

Image: Shutterstock

I, like millions of moms, prefer not to enter the kitchen on Mother’s Day. Don’t get me wrong: I love to cook both as profession and hobby, but when the second Sunday in May comes around I want to sit back and chill.

And while it is tempting to go to brunch or dinner at one of Sarasota's many fine restaurants, for me there is a different calling. It's a diet peach iced tea, a double-stuffed lobster roll from Lido Beach Concession Stand for lunch, and a porterhouse steak and Caesar salad for dinner. (Plus, no makeup, float positioned for easy pool entry  throughout the day, a copy of the Sunday New York Times and a little music in the background.)

I do still crave dishes like my mom’s lemon meringue pie (which I used to make her as a child), but I'm just as happy with no dessert unless someone I know drops off a real homemade apple pie. You know, the kind that you dream about on Thanksgiving: cinnamon laced and warm, with an incredibly flaky crust and a scoop of vanilla Haagen-Dazs. (Hint, hint.)

Over the years, since my mom, Riva Cooper, passed away, I've hosted many Mother’s Day meals for special friends. But nothing ever compares to getting up early morning on Mother’s Day as a kid, running into the kitchen and whipping up waffles (frozen, of course), instant coffee and a pretty drawing on a napkin for my mom--then giving her a big bottle of Jean Nate Body Splash (a God-awful scent which she so lovingly stored in her bathroom cabinet, likely never using but always acting as though I had brought her the world).

My mother taught me my love of food, the power of a good garnish, and the idea that a little whipped cream on just about everything makes life a bit better. To this day, when I feel down, I pop two waffles in the toaster, smear on some vanilla and coffee ice cream and have the most joyous meal wearing her "Connecticut is Best" sweatshirt.

So, while I float around in our pool this Sunday, I will miss her when I eat lobster (her favorite) or a porterhouse steak, which we often shared by cutting off the steak and chewing on the bone until our faces were covered with steak juice.

And to every mom or special woman in your life, hats off.

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