Home » News

Mother's Day: Good mothering means good food

Published May 7, 2013 8:59 am

Memories • Readers talk about dishes that remind them of Mom.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The Salt Lake Tribune asked readers to tell us about the food that reminds them of their mothers. We received nearly two dozen submissions including:

Ed Blake can still remember his mother, Velma Blake , working in the kitchen at night before bedtime to prepare the next day's meals, including overnight egg casserole. "It increased our anticipation for the next day knowing that we were going to have a splendid breakfast or dinner," the Salt Lake City resident wrote.

Janalee Tobias said her mother, Phyllis Smith , is famous for her fruitcake "because people actually eat it." (see recipe.) The South Jordan resident has helped her 86-year-old mother make it since she was in preschool.

Marion Steiger likes her mother Frankie Ezma King Copeland 's thin corn bread so much, she wrote about it in a children's book. Steiger, from Draper, calls the smell of it "made-in-Southern-heaven sweet."

Maryan Egan-Baker , of Millcreek, said her mother, Erma Egan Baker , always doubled the three-pound "ham loaf" she made for Easter and Christmas to make sure there was enough for sandwiches the next day. It was "delicious and it became a staple for our family dinners."

Eva Cornish says her grandmother's home on Sunday was a flurry of flour while Ladeen Bourne made bread, noodles, cakes and cookies for the coming week. The North Salt Lake woman's favorite meal was her grandmother's macaroni and cheese because of the "love it represents." Cornish remembers stealing the noodles from the pan as they fried in butter. "That would usually lead to a whack with the spatula if you were caught."

Shelley Barron learned how to make a simple chicken pot pie when she joined a mother's club 25 years ago. The Sandy mom made it throughout her son's childhood and even this winter, when her now-college senior had the flu. "He assured me it healed him," she wrote.

Nancy Starks says for years her extended family has gathered to make cloob or klubb, Scandinavian pork-filled potato dumplings, under the "insistence and direction from our mother whose memories and methods have made this feast a treasured event." Pat Gunderson recently passed away. "It was always her joy to get all of her loved ones around the cooking pot in anticipation of another good meal," the Salt Lake City daughter wrote.

Jeanne Konishi recalls her mother, Chiyo Matsumiya, standing over three coal stoves, baking bread and then frying the leftover dough and dipping those scones in sugar for an after-school treat. "After I had gotten married, and had people over for dinner or to play cards, she would always make bread to give a loaf to each couple," the Murray woman wrote.

Jeneal Wilson , of Millcreek, says one of her mother's signature dishes was her homemade spaghetti sauce. Marjorie Wilson 's recipe, from a spaghetti noodle box, was heavily stained with tomato juice and used at least once a month. "Every so often my mother would set the newspaper she was reading down, walk over to the stove, remove the lid on the simmering sauce, and give it a stir. What a heavenly aroma," Wilson wrote.

Juanita Marshall 's favorite traditional Greek dish from her mother, Maria Salopoulos Lively , is the lasagna-like dish pastitio. When her children were grown, Lively would bring it along when she went to visit them out of state. This winter, Marshall, from Park City, said she was surprised when she returned home from work and her visiting children had made their grandmother's meal. "It was a gift I'll never forget."

Shari Meyer said her mother, Edna Karczag , was not a cook. She usually cleaned up the dishes during the 15 years she lived with her daughter after her husband died. But on the rare occasion she needed to make a meal, Karczag turned to her homemade macaroni and cheese, a "delectable dish that spells comfort down to the last cheesy bite," wrote Meyer, from Centerville.

Candace Jacobson can't eat commercially made potato salad because she's had what she considers the best, Beverly Fifield's . "Throwing in the celery, radishes, and carrots made her think it was actually good for us," Jacobsen, from Provo, wrote. "My mom has been gone for half my life and I still miss her every day."

Beth Greene makes her mother's latkes recipe every Chanukah, and the smell of frying potato and onion brings back memories of Robin Weiner , who died in 2004. "Pouring through her recipe files and seeing her handwritten notes makes me miss her so much," Greene, of Salt Lake City, wrote. "But cooking the foods from my childhood with my family … makes me feel like a part of her is still with us."

Leisa Tischner always thought that the nights when her mother made "schmarn" — a pancake-like food that was cut up and soak in bottled tomatoes — were a treat. In reality, her mother, Frances Tischner , made it at the end of the month when money was short and she needed to fill her family of eight. "My mother never let us know that she was making the money last, but made us feel this was a very special dish for us," Tischner, of St. George, wrote.

Mary Thompson inherited her mother's recipe book and poured over every page. The Murray woman submitted the one that shows her mother, Rose Burke Byrne, had a sense of humor: A recipe for Elephant Stew that calls for cutting the elephant into bite-sized pieces, which should take two months, cooking it for four weeks, to serve 3,800 guests. "If more are expected, two extra rabbits may be added, but do this only if necessary, as most people do not like hare in their stew." —

Phyllis Smith's Fruitcake

2 cups cold water

2 cups white sugar

2 cups grated carrots

2 cups seedless raisins

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 1/2 teaspoons allspice (optional)

1/2 teaspoon cloves

1 teaspoon ginger

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 1/2 teaspoons nutmeg

4 cups flour

4 scant teaspoons of baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 pound chopped walnuts

1 pound chopped dates, optional

1 pound chopped glazed candied fruit, such as pineapple, cherries or orange gumdrops, optional

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 3 to 4 (9-by-5-inch) loaf pans.

Place water, sugar, carrots, raisins, oil, allspice, cloves, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large kettle. Bring to a boil.

Let boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely.

Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl.

Stir flour mixture into cold mixture of spices and carrots.

Add walnuts. If desired, add dates, and candied fruit.

Add more or less of these ingredients according to your tastes.

Pour batter into prepared loaf pans, allowing room in the pan for the dough to rise.

Bake for 70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Servings • 3-4 loaves

Source: Janalee Tobias