Mothers and Daughters
Voices Past and Present
Stories and Recipes
A mother and stepmother share many characteristics—both pretty, proper, and politically concerned. But one had a mental illness that created chaos and guilt.
Mom wanted to make her famous Swedish meatballs for a host of holiday parties, turning the kitchen into a military operation. But wait—man down!
Awakened from sleep, a little girl heard her mother say,“Put your shoes on, we’re leaving.” That was the start of an odyssey from Ethiopia to Israel to America,
Megan A. Pastore
Mom didn't have the best upbringing for being a mother. But when her voice in your head says you can’t do anything right, even deviled eggs are hard.
A German opa was not happy that Dad had married a “foreigner" and made Mom’s life difficult. But at Christmas, there was peace, with culinary highlights.
Remnants of a pioneering mindset run through a family, from mother to daughter, recalling a time when dining and the role of women were different.
The kitchen was where mother and daughter spent time together, where they could discuss a difficult decision, not unlike one that Grandma had faced.
After yet another miscarriage, a woman on a fertility journey finds herself thinking about her “Ma Lizzie" and a family secret she needed to uncover.
What happens when a mother and daughter, once close but now locked in a rocky relationship, camp out together under the stars?
Jenny Tallent and Hannah McKee
Mom grew up picking dandelions for rich people’s salads, in a family that failed to protect her. Creating a secure, loving family of her own was an act of will.
Mom was known as The Cossack, born in a small town near Kiev, Ukraine, and she had fighting spirit. But she couldn’t cook worth beans.
Aunt Virginia, holding fast to her Sicilian ways. Aunt Theresa, openly scoffing at tradition. And Mama, the buffer between them, whose secret they kept.
A cross-country drive, with bungee cords holding a mattress on the roof of the car, let mother and daughter discover some of the stuff they’re made of.
How does it happen that teachers, neighbors, doctors, and relatives turn a blind eye to an obviously undernourished child who’s always crying?
Among the five sisters in the family: one who couldn't tell a lie if her life depended on it—and two whose mischief was the usual reason for a coverup.
Lillian Yates Duggan
Mom and the church ladies carried out a devoted ritual of making their pillowy treats. Then the priest wanted to know why she stopped attending church.
Motherhood was a surprise for a young songwriter, who nourished her daughter both in and out of the kitchen and found a way to immortalize her in music.
Mom’s spaghetti Bolognese was spicy and messy, meant to be shared and enjoyed. But when she could no longer enjoy it herself, it was too much to bear.
Mom was trim, slim, and proud, and never gained a pound with any of her pregnancies. Guess who picked up the message about feeling fat?
A lack of storytelling and lack of family recipes seem linked—a loss of inheritance as a daughter and granddaughter. But that can change.
Mom would indulge in the forbidden fare of her childhood, then sit back with a contented smile on her face and a greasy smear of butter on her chin.
In a peripatetic childhood, Mum's practicality kept everyone grounded, housed and homed, and fed—no matter the country or family finances.
The words and physical manifestations of love seemed absent from Mom's vocabulary, but could be surmised—just not with food.
It was her mother’s voice—about drugs, drink, and “rolling with the homies”—that a daughter heard when she needed guidance.
Aimee Lee Ball
Bathing suits and summer dresses showed off Mom's great legs, and although didn't want to get her hair wet, summer, with luscious pleasures, was her season.
Tenacity and adventure (evident in a move halfway round the world) informed a woman who passed the traits along to her daughter and granddaughter.
Jillian Van Hefty
Mom’s beloved beverage, forfeited when a stove or microwave buttons were beyond her ken, returns for a glorious tribute in her honor.
Mom didn’t inherit Grandma’s love for baking. But sacrosanct Sunday visits ensured that her recipes were passed on to another generation.
Mom lived in panic that someone under her roof might not be fed. But when her daughter tried to recreate her recipes, the yummy factor was missing.
Hani Malaika M
An immigrant from Somalia, determined to leave behind her mother’s paycheck-to-paycheck life, learns about the sacrifices that were made.
Dented cans and day-old bread filled the grocery cart of a mother who grew up during the Great Depression. Her daughter had a different world view.
A classic recipe inspires a reverie about Mom—her beauty marks, her throat-clearing cough—and about the hope that nothing will go wrong.
Both mother and daughter felt unsettled by a move to Texas. But a yeasty recipe from another group of displaced people brought solace.
Cindy Roos Young
Sorting through Mom's clothes and jewelry in the weeks after she died was one thing. Looking through her cookbooks was something else.
June P. Middleton
A plate of food waiting on the back burner when the library closed at midnight was just one of the ways Mom helped her daughter's dreams come true.
A Cuban immigrant to the United States makes next-level rice out of economic necessity. What's her secret?
One of Mom's meals might be a candy bar, canned soup, or the “river stew” of her Tennessee childhood. But in other ways, she was curiously domestic.
When a little girl learns the provenance of her favorite fast-food chicken nuggets, her animal-loving mother rethinks family meals.
A beloved daughter was struggling with a learning disability. A magical cake made all the difference.
It seemed a typical ‘50s childhood, with tomato soup and tuna fish for lunch, and Mom on the radio giving advice on raising children. But that was just for show.
It took a village to raise the only child of a single mother, but one benefit of being with friends and family was seeing how the women cooked.
A daughter recognizes an oxymoronic truth: that she has stolen her mother’s life of freedom, but also that her mom wishes she were needed more.
There was a rift in the family, the source of which nobody seemed to know. But a cache of lost recipes offered a chance for reconciliation.
A special mother/daughter bond is like the Indian street snack of panipuri—simultaneously sweet, savory, and salty.
A long-awaited mother/daughter visit, after a pandemic separation, renewed an important question: whether chocolate is a vegetable.
Kresha Richman Warnock
A daughter inherits both her mother's love of cooking and fear of fat—a legacy passed down particularly through female branches of the family tree.
Mom didn't always have answers to her daughter's questions, but had a perfect response when asked: How can I be mad at you and still love you?
A German mother in a bunker at the end of WWII, with almost nothing to eat, clutched her two babies and swore she would never have more.
A poignant poem reflects a daughter who wanted to be accepted as she was, and tried running in the opposite direction from her mother, to no avail.
A dear friend recreates a recipe from Mom's culinary intentions gone awry, burnishing memories of the burnt dinners thrown into the sink.
A Jewish mother's attitude toward religion was all-encompassing: Any holiday that included friends and food was worth celebrating.
Mom had an infectious laugh that her daughter longed to hear again. Closest thing to it was her aunt's voice, but religion got in the way.
A heritage of soul food travels from pre-Civil War slaves to Mom's kitchen in Haight-Ashbury and breaking bread with the Black Panthers.
There are loving surrogates for Mom, not incidentally following her credo: that if you knew someone liked a dish, there was no greater joy than feeding it to them.
Although her mother was from Szechuan, China, she grew up in Germany, knowing: Die Liebe geht durch den Magen: Love goes through the belly.
Mom thought a nutritional breakfast was nicotine and caffeine. But for holidays, she perfected one dish, made in a bowl with almost mystical powers.
A teen whose mom works late hours in health care sometimes has to cook dinner, but is inspired by her mother’s strength, compassion, and zest for life.
After her family fled their homeland, with jewels and papers stuffed into her underwear, Mom grew up believing that she was too special to cook or clean.
Mom was raised on a menu that was strictly kosher, utterly utilitarian, and verging on penitential. It was no surprise that she did not teach her daughters to cook.
Mom's kitchen counters were a magnetic field that mirrored her life: envelopes, oatmeal, Tylenol, a few dog collars, a stuffed blue owl....
An African-American odyssey: from South to North, from water fountains marked "colored" or "white" to new opportunities—and from mother to daughter.
Jennifer Joan Fay
A high-risk pregnancy, in the middle of a pandemic, presented plenty of stress. But preparing the "big sister" for the new arrival was also a priority.
She was usually indulged, but when she didn’t get her way with her mom, she’d pack a bag and threaten to run away to her true protector: Grandma.
An accidental immigrant at age two, a Korean girl was embarrassed by the kimchi buried in the yard, but had an enduring taste for homeland comfort food.
What's an expectant mother to think when the sonographer wielding the wand over her growing bely announces, "It's a hamburger!"
A reunion meal (with calculations of who ate what and how large the portion was) becomes a metaphor for generosity, family ties—and retaliation.
A second-grade teacher was great with her students, but her own six kids were another story. Maybe she was just exhausted by the time she got home.
Gaby Glass Aizenman
In apartheid South Africa, the family cook grumbled as mother and daughter interfered with his dinner prep to make a cake from The I Hate to Cook Book.
JoAnn Ross Cunningham
A state fair champion bread maker finds delicious independence in the big city. And her ticket to ride is the recipe for Orange Rolls perfected by her mother.
Mom couldn’t afford the Chanel or Lacroix clothes prized by the industry in which she worked, but French food was accessible to all.
A daughter who stopped eating meat hears the dreaded question from Mom: "Then what are we going to do on Christmas Eve?"
The stove outside her childhood home in the Philippines made a young girl conclude that cooking well was extremely difficult and best left to experts.