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Happy Mum Day

May 2, 2011 · 53 comments

Yes, it is that time of year again when I find myself struggling with the big question – is it Mother’s Day or Mothers’ Day? In my heart of hearts I swing towards the plural possessive as it is a day for all mothers, but signage in florist windows and subject lines on day spa mailing list emails would suggest it is in fact Mother’s Day. Given that I only celebrate one mother on this day, I could be swayed to this line of thinking, but surely this doesn’t make sense for the millions of other people who have more than one motherly person in their life? Is Mother’s Day therefore discriminatory? Does anyone else spend so much time thinking about this stuff? Has anyone seen the black cardigan I lost a couple of weeks ago?

However we may punctuate it, we have a Mumsy type day coming up in Australia next Sunday, and after the ever lovely Annette of Wellness WA asked me for some foody type gift ideas I thought it prudent to share them with you all here too.

Luckily I don’t have to think too hard, as I now realise I’ve given my own Mum foody type gifts for the past couple of years. You may think it’s difficult to give the gift of food if you, like me, live a significant distance from your Mothery type person, but it can be done!

Foodie magazine subscription – magazines can be the types of things that people feel guilty for spending money on, so they can make a perfect gift. Foodie mags are also gifts that keep on giving as your Mum will receive them over the rest of the year, and you may even get to enjoy some of the recipes that she will make from them. Perfect for a lazy gift giver too, as the postage is taken care of for you, and with any luck you can just continue to renew the subscription for her gift in years to come. Added bonus: if you buy it through iSUBSCRIBE you get Virgin Velocity points.

Gift basket – I found these particularly useful when I was living overseas, given the generally exorbitant costs of postage to Australia it made sense to pay a local Australian company to put together a nice little gift and deliver it for me. Most companies have many styles of gifts to choose from, including gourmet edible treats, alcohol, flowers and little gimmicky toys. I even had a fruit basket sent to a sick friend while I was too far away to help a brother out. Also, if you do live close enough to hand deliver your Mothers’ Day pressie then you could aways make up your own little gift basket – it can be easier to think of lots of little treats your Mum may enjoy instead of one big thing.

  • Recommendations: there are many companies and you’ll need to do your own research to compare pricing and delivery (particularly if you require delivery to country areas) but I have had good experiences with boxt in the past.

Take Mum on a date with the Prince of Flesh (photo courtesy of Apex of Food Endeavours of the Blue Apocalypse)

Cooking Classes - another gift that keeps on giving, as the rest of the family may benefit from the new skills and recipes she will learn. At the very least, she should have some fun and get to eat the spoils at the end of the class. This can also be something fun to do with your Mum, if you struggle to find the time to spend with each other, or if you perhaps have the type of relationship that doesn’t lend itself well to sitting around chatting and drinking tea.

  • Recommendations: I have not done any cooking classes myself, but I hear that if your Mum likes to eat/cook meat then you can’t go wrong with one of Vince Garreffa’s classes. I have also heard great things about Yoke Mardewi’s bread making classes. There are countless other classes and teachers out there these days, and an internet search should give you lots of other options.

A foodie day out – if you’re on a tight budget then you could take your Mum out for a nice morning together at one of the many markets that have sprung up around cities and towns across the country. You can generally enjoy a delicious brunch for a few dollars and they often also have flower stalls where you can buy her a bouquet to take home for much cheaper than a traditional florist. If you have a little more money and time to spend then you could write up a little handmade coupon for a day out at something like the Mundaring Truffle Festival or the Good Food & Wine Show – be your Mum’s guide and chauffeur for the day so she can take advantage of the wines and food coma opportunities on offer.

Cookbooks – another thing that people can feel sheepish about buying for themselves, particularly if they have shelves already heaving with cookbooks. Some of them make particularly good gifts as they can also double as impressive coffee table books – Thai Street Food by David Thompson, for instance – or as a way of getting rid of lots of pesky disposable income at once whilst simultaneously arming your Mother with a deadly weapon if only she could lift it – Modernist Cuisine.

  • Recommendations: As usual, I recommend The Book Depository (UK site here, US site here) given how much cheaper their prices are than anything you’ll find locally. Granted, you may have left it a little late now to get it delivered in time for Sunday but you could always distract your Mum with cake until it finally gets here.
  • I also particularly recommend Audrey Gordon’s Tuscan Summer. I’m loathe to tell you it’s hilarious, as it is so disappointing when someone tells you something is hysterical and then you find yourself merely exhaling a little louder than normal at the apparent funny parts. I will however tell you that it is done by the Working Dog Productions people, responsible for the The Hollowmen, The Castle and whose members were in my favourite show back in the day – The Late Show (champagne comedy!) and I’ve found it really entertaining. It’s a great piss-take of all the cookbooks we have filling our shelves, and I can highly recommend it for the Mum with a satirical bent.

Interesting foodstuffs – Given how close Easter was to Mothers’ Day this year, I decided to hand deliver my Mum’s present this year as it would only be a couple of weeks early. Knowing how much she loves Peking Duck Pancakes, and how neither they nor their ingredients are easily or affordably sourced in Geraldton, I got her a pack of frozen duck breasts and a few packs of frozen ready-made pancakes at my local Asian supermarket (Tran’s Emporium) and Esky delivered them up to her when I was visiting over Easter. I also threw in some frozen edamame, as she’s recently discovered its joys and can’t find a supplier in Geraldton.

  • Recommendations: If nothing springs to mind, a wander through your local weekend markets, Asian supermarket or the David Jones Food Hall will likely come up with some contenders to put together into a little gift basket or freezer bag.

Miscellaneous baked goods – if you live close enough to your Mum to treat her in this way, I’m sure it will always go down like a sack of biscuits.

Although I didn’t make it for my Mum, I did recently try out one of the recipes in Audrey Gordon’s Tuscan Summer (yes, it actually has proper recipes in it too) that may put a smile on your Mum’s (or Mums’) face.

A few things to note with this recipe:

  • Don’t bother melting the butter as per the ingredients list, as you’ll be melting it in the second step.
  • The cake domed significantly in the centre but dropped down to a flat top once it cooled down.
  • It cracked a fair bit, as no/low flour cakes tend to do, but this is easily fixed with the magic of dusted icing sugar, dollops of Nutella or shavings of chocolate.
  • I didn’t make the raspberry sauce as I was serving the cake at a picnic.
  • My cake didn’t turn out fudgy like the picture in the book – no doubt due to me using an inferior double boiler instead of triple. Or quadruple.
  • I don’t think I’ll be using this recipe again as I’d rather make either a flour cake or a flourless cake, but it was surely a tasty cake and enjoyed by my friends.

Despite all of this, I really just wish I still had the artistic skills of my 5 year old self so that I could draw another family portrait for my Mum for Mothers’ Day… sigh….

And no, I’m not sure why my Dad’s t-shirt is upside down or why I’m bald. I clearly had already come to terms with the size of my nose by this early stage, though seemed to think I could throw attention from it by getting around in a see-through dress and convincing my sister to do the same.