Post image for Happy Mum Day

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.

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{ 52 comments… read them below or add one }

Meggy May 2, 2011 at 3:35 pm

I love this post, It is Mothers’ Day and I too labour on such pedantic thoughts. they consume most of my days

Everyone should do a Yoke class, she will sign your book, give you a sourdough starter and she is an amazing cook! I cannot recommend her classes enough.

This year i have my gran to celebrate mothers’ day with, she lives O/S and is a coeliac diabetic, so sugarfree/flourless brownies are on my agenda. I love to bake and baking for those with specific dietry requirements makes me happier than it should.

I love that your parents are the only ones fully clothed and have laces on their shoes


Conor May 2, 2011 at 3:52 pm

Oh, good. I am very glad you agree with my apostrophe decision. With the two of us declaring it so, surely Hallmark is bound to agree. Blackboards out the front of local businesses may be a little harder to convince, given that they tend not to like apostrophes at all, or like chucking in extra ones for added fun.

My friend C’s husband did one of her courses and had great things to say about it, so I’m definitely keen but I think I may wait until I’m over this whole gluten-free malarkey.

Also, YES it is such a fantastic pressie to make special dietary quirky baked goods for people. I was so very chuffed when my mates made me FODMAP friendly cakes for my birthday :) :)

Shoelaces are overrated. Clothes too.


Meggy May 2, 2011 at 4:16 pm

Hallmark are limited with their bandwagon space, they only celebrate boring numbered birthdays anyway and their traditional values of nominal holiday celebration are irksome to say the least.
Yoke is wonderful, she actually does a lot of GF stuff and I think the her sourdough has very minimal gluten. I am positive she would hold an exclusive GF/DF class.
Your mates are fantastic!
I agree, if only work would let me wear PJs in each day, life would be complete


Conor May 3, 2011 at 1:42 am

Having read some more about sourdough this evening, I’m very keen to try my hand at it once my diet allows it! I suspect my gluten intolerance isn’t super bad, so I think sourdough may be the thing for me once I’m back in the land of the slightly gluteny :)

As we get into winter weather it’s only going to get harder to get out of PJs every morning :( I can only hope that by then I will have reintroduced sourdough into my life and can console myself with fresh crusty bread.


panamahat May 2, 2011 at 4:34 pm

I also concur with the apostrophe decision. Love the picture of your family ;-) Did I tell you I am going to Hong Kong next week for my birthday? Shall I fit in some extra dim sum for you??


Conor May 3, 2011 at 1:33 am

This makes me very happy. If *you* think this apostrophe decision is correct then that decides it!

And no, no you did not! My happiness is replaced with enormous waves of envy! PLEASE squeeze in at least one extra dish for me each dim sum!!! Oh lordy my dear, have a good time! You deserve it :)


foodie cravings May 2, 2011 at 7:14 pm

Good timing! My bro & I were just starting to brainstorm presents – I love the mag subscription and cooking classes ideas – thanks conor!
foodie cravings´s last blog post ..An afternoon out in Mundaring – brings back childhood memories!


Conor May 3, 2011 at 1:34 am

Excellent! Incredibly pleased to have been of timely assistance!


Hannah May 2, 2011 at 7:31 pm

As someone from a family that frequently bemoans the way that Australians are increasingly pronouncing things like Americans (eg saying “cere-moan-y” instead of “cere-mun-y”) and who delight in spotting mistakes in restaurant menus (last weekend, we got the double whammy of “chefs chill jam”), I can tell you that apostrophe pedanticness is an integral part of my being, and you are not alone.

Language love aside, it’s time for post love! Once again, Conor, you’ve managed to integrate pure brilliance, hilarity, and adorableness in the one post. Your comments about your drawing had me cackling out loud, which was either entirely or very appropriate to the news story about bin Laden’s death that was on tv at the time.

You did forget one gift idea, though- I can attest to your skills with conjuring up perfect magical chocolate gift packages :)


Conor May 3, 2011 at 1:46 am

Chefs chill jam? That’s an interesting statement. Why do they need multiple chefs to chill jam? Why are they chilling jam? I can only assume that the jam was freaking out over something monumental (most likely after looking over the grammar and spelling in the menu) and needed lots of people to convince it to chill out. Poor jam. We feel its pain.

You’re a dear, you really are :) You deserve all the magical chocolate gift packages in the world. Well, most of them, anyway. All of them might squash you unless they arrived whilst you were standing in a very very large field. Perhaps you should go do that now just in case?


Hannah May 3, 2011 at 6:44 am

It was really disappointing. There we were expecting our tasting platter to comes out with jam surrounding by chefs with dry ice, and all we got was the chef’s chilli jam. LAME.

Aw, thanks Conor! *Gets up from desk at work, smooths skirt, and starts running to the high school oval down the road…*
Hannah´s last blog post ..Vosges Red Fire Bar


Conor May 4, 2011 at 2:17 pm

Have they come yet? I hope they weren’t blown off course by all those tornadoes everywhere :(


anthony May 7, 2011 at 9:10 pm

Ooh ooh! I love this. It’s the schwa and it’s represented by an upside down ‘e’. It’s the ‘uh’ photographer that isn’t in photograph. Americans don’t use them much, hence the deeeeeeeeefence.


Gcroft May 3, 2011 at 3:34 am

If I were a mum, I would be a happy recipient of any of the above. My mum isn’t a foodie like I am, but we share a common love for handbags. :-)


Conor May 4, 2011 at 2:18 pm

Ah, that reminds me of the handbag I got super super cheap in the post Christmas sales in NYC for my Mum! Wish I’d bought myself one too, dammit.


Karen Harris May 3, 2011 at 5:29 am

Such a sweet post Conor. I venture to say that if you got your mother’s sense of humor then you should have also passed on Audrey Gordon’s book as well as the duck breasts. A food magazine subscription and a big bloody Mary are on my wish list this year.

Your comment on my blog post still has me giggling. I think I’ll start crashing lesbian weddings when I get a little cake craving in the future. Brilliant idea!
Karen Harris´s last blog post ..New Friends and New Flavors – Cooking with Green Garlic


Conor May 4, 2011 at 2:20 pm

Perhaps I’ll lend Mum my copy of the book ;)

By big Bloody Mary, do you mean endless Bloody Mary? I like to imagine you relaxing all day long with a good supply of food magazines, having your drink topped up at regular intervals. Although, this sounds a little dangerous.. perhaps we can throw in a few virgin Bloody Marys to the mix as well.

Haha, glad you liked it! I was quite pleased when I came up with that ingenious plan!


Pachecopatty May 3, 2011 at 5:41 am

I left a black cardigan in a rental car two years ago and I’m still upset about it so I hope you find your missing cardigan. I would like to suggest a large jar of Nutella with a spoon as a gift I would like to receive for Mother’s day. Although the cake looks pretty darn good as well as the cookbook, will have to check it out.
Enjoy your celebration and love this post;-)


Conor May 4, 2011 at 2:22 pm

I know so many friends with a similar tale of cardigan woe. This is the second one I’ve mysteriously lost over the years, but luckily this one wasn’t quite as cool as that beautiful one with glass buttons I lost all those years ago to thieving girls! Harrumph.

Your gift suggestion is a fine one indeed. The spoon will have to have a long handle so you don’t end up with those telltale Nutella knuckles ;)


penny aka jeroxie May 3, 2011 at 6:20 am

YOu write some of the funniest post…. seriously. I also wonder why you like wearing transparent clothing…. hmmmm And you still kept this artwork?
Now I have to think hard what to get my mum….. I usually just give money… very asian of me ;)


Conor May 4, 2011 at 2:25 pm

:D Thanks Penny! :D
It’s great actually, my pre-primary put together a scrapbook of some of our paintings and drawings over the year and gave them to my parents when I left. It’s somehow survived the years so I can look back on my amazing artistic talents and be grateful I have lots of opaque clothing.


Cakelaw May 3, 2011 at 7:12 pm

Some great ideas here – I want the Audrey Gordon book for me!
Cakelaw´s last blog post ..TWD – Basic Marbled Loaf Cake


Conor May 4, 2011 at 2:25 pm

Thanks! Yep, I can recommend it, it’s pretty damn entertaining. The dinner party hints are particularly good, I’ll have to go through them all next time I’m entertaining and share some with you all :)


5 Star Foodie May 3, 2011 at 8:52 pm

Terrific gift ideas, and that cake looks so good! I wonder if I will actually get a Mother’s day celebration this year since my daughter’s birthday parties are not until the following weekend (usually it coincides with Mother’s day).


Conor May 4, 2011 at 2:26 pm

If you are worried about it, I’d start dropping hints sooner rather than later ;)
And thank you!


Maria @ Scandifoodie May 4, 2011 at 2:20 am

Great post! I always have to think Mother’s Day early so I can mail the parcel to Finland. I wouldn’t mind getting that cookbook for myself though ;-)
Maria @ Scandifoodie´s last blog post ..Kelp noodles with broccoli pesto


Conor May 4, 2011 at 2:28 pm

Thanks Maria! Ah yes of course, the added stress of having to rely on the postal system. It does at least mean that while everyone else is madly doing their Christmas shopping at the last second, yours is safely out of the way weeks (or months) in advance!


Adrian (Food Rehab) May 4, 2011 at 7:05 pm

Wowzer, thanks for the many ideas Conor! I was contemplating on getting MUm cookbooks or actually cook for her instead. But reading this, I shall do both!
Adrian (Food Rehab)´s last blog post ..An Edible Guide to Daylesford- Victoria


Conor May 5, 2011 at 11:26 am

My pleasure Adrian! Looks like you were onto it already though. Now you get the double bonus of helping her eat whatever you cook, plus getting her to cook things for you from the cookbook. Well done.


chopinandmysaucepan May 4, 2011 at 8:56 pm

Happy mother’s day to all mothers.

Whatever gifts to mothers can’t replace their gift of love to us all.


Conor May 5, 2011 at 11:28 am

Indeed! I don’t think I can ever give my Mum enough gifts to make up for my teenage petulance.


mademoiselle délicieuse May 5, 2011 at 12:33 pm

I always like to think of it as Mothers’ Day but, like you, feel corrected by the singular which I see in stores, cards, etc. Then again, I am a Virgo so it’s no surprise that I may have given this some thought in my time. Ahem.

Love your gift ideas, especially seeing as you live a distance from your mother. I tend to take my mum out on food dates, seeing as she does enjoy eating, but try for places where she wouldn’t normally go with her friends.

PS. I was admiring the large, round nose in your self-portrait as well!
mademoiselle délicieuse´s last blog post ..The quest for scones


Conor May 23, 2011 at 7:36 am

Food dates are also fabulous ideas, particularly when they involve going to away-from-the-norm places. This is also a win for you, well done ;)

It is beautifully large and round, isn’t it. You could probably use it to tell the time with the sun’s shadow.


Juliana May 6, 2011 at 2:22 am

Conor, love the ideas in your post…and enjoyed reading it…hope you have a great weekend :-)


Conor May 23, 2011 at 7:37 am

Thanks Juliana!


Simply Life May 6, 2011 at 8:47 am

What a fun post! i love the drawing!
Simply Life´s last blog post ..Precious Time- Deep Dish Mushroom &amp Olive Pizza


Conor May 23, 2011 at 7:38 am

Thank you! Any old drawings of yours lying around? :)


GourmetGetaways May 6, 2011 at 7:10 pm

Haha how funny, a paragraph devoted to Mother’s or Mothers’ these are my dilemma’s also… although I do not voice them out loud… or spend a whole paragrapgh for fear the men with the tight jackets might arrive on my doorstep, you know, the jacket with the pretty buckles… any way, moving on…

I loved your story and all the fantastic gift ideas for mothers day (no punctuation) you have so many great ideas. I am saving them for birthdays and Christmas as I have this mothers day under control.

My mum and I will be breakfasting with the family and then the girls (mum, me and little Anais (4) will be having a pedicure x3 together) I decided I wanted to have an together experience for mothers day this year.

I love the rich chocolate recipe also… YUMMMY!!!

Super terrific story, have a great day with your mum on Sunday xx


Conor May 23, 2011 at 7:42 am

Oh yes I know the men. It seems I’m constantly trying to slightly curb my behaviour enough just to keep them off my tail. My figurative tail. If I had a real one I’d probably get some different men in jackets coming after me.

Family breakfast then a pedicure is a brilliant idea. Buying a voucher for a beautician’s is another idea for my Mum, and I think my sister did that this year, but going on a visit for pampering together is great! How cute to have Anais going along too, I can only imagine how tiny her toenails are :) Hope you girls had a ball.


Kitchen Butterfly May 7, 2011 at 4:54 pm

I like the search for the meaning of the day – Mother vs Mothers. We have motherly people….and I like you will lean towards the plural possessive.

I haven’t come across that black sweater…and if you find my CD of e cookbooks, please let me know! LOL


Conor May 23, 2011 at 7:44 am

Hooray, glad for your endorsement too!

I will surely be adding your CD to my list of lost things that I’m always secretly looking for. I rewatched Pirates of the Caribbean 3 last night, so now I’m wondering if all these things are floating around Davy Jones’ Locker?


anthony May 7, 2011 at 9:06 pm

I think we spent much of 2008 doing our heads in on goats milk and 2010 on farmers markets.

Cheers for the plug for our nice little mag – big hit with the mums, well our mums at least.


Conor May 23, 2011 at 7:48 am

I think that might well be an accurately assessment. I see no problem with this though. I look forward to a fixation on goats milk product farmers markets.

My pleasure! Very happy to give the mag some lovin’. I draw the line at making it breakfast in bed though.


msihua May 8, 2011 at 10:48 am

I’m goin with both Mother’s and Mothers’ Day :) It’s a celebration of both really! I usually just give her some money to take herself out for a good dinner with my grandma (given that I’m not there with her!)
msihua´s last blog post ..SYDNEY- Bourke Street Bakery @ Alexandria- NSW


Conor May 23, 2011 at 7:56 am

Fair enough, both have merit and it’s always good to cover all your bases!

Good idea too, to task someone else with the joy of eating on your behalf. I hope the vicarious eating was enjoyable :D


pierre May 8, 2011 at 4:30 pm

mother day? not yet in France !!
pierre´s last blog post ..Asperges- mousseline de coriandre et petite sauge


Conor May 23, 2011 at 7:58 am

It would be easier if we all shared the same days for these things, but I guess this way Mothers might possibly get celebrated a few times if they have well-travelled children or travel around a lot themselves. Some people travel to follow the sun.. I wonder if anyone travels to follow Mothers’ Day.


Evelyne May 10, 2011 at 12:02 am

What a wonderful post celebrating mothers. And so many great gift ideas Conor! I have been leaning towards food based gifts too lately. Love your drawing from when you were 5…that is awesome!
Evelyne´s last blog post ..Not all trade is fair


Conor May 23, 2011 at 8:01 am

Thank you! Food based gifts are hard to beat, I think, as they can cover many senses and you can enjoy them together, and well… it’s food. What’s not to love.


Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite May 10, 2011 at 9:04 am

You have no idea (actually you probably do) how much it’s been bothering me, all the “Mother’s day” all over the shop this past week. Grrrrr. And people tweeting “Happy Mother’s Day all Mom’s” Augh!

This is a lovely post. However. You didn’t tell me you had a brother called Shane. Where does Conor fit into this family? The others have such Aussie names…
Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite´s last blog post ..Forever Nigella 4- Street party roundup


Forager @ The Gourmet Forager May 17, 2011 at 8:16 am

Adore your drawing! Although the first thing I thought was also, I wonder why you’re bald and your eyes get to be big when everyone else gets small dots for eyes. Kids are weird. Love your list and a great idea for friends as well as mums I think! Anyone else think that Audrey Gordon looks like she’s channelling Nigella Lawson there?
Forager @ The Gourmet Forager´s last blog post ..Putting Carlton Draught’s beer-fed wagyu beef to the test


Gift Baskets Adelaide August 26, 2011 at 6:39 pm

Nice dear..I read your article.this is all about the mother’s love your mother so much and you suggest a nice blog for mother’s day gift.i appreciate with you.I want to go through your way and keep some nice moments.thanks dear.


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