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Who is Mother’s Day for, really? As adults, we feel the importance of showing our moms that we get it. They were there for us. But our own kids have Mother’s Day dreams, too. As a kid myself, I’d ask my mom if I could bring her breakfast in bed. She didn’t want it. She wanted a day without messes or bickering. Sadly, I doubt my brothers and I ever gave her that gift. But it also felt sad to me, as a kid. I wanted to do something that felt special. So now, I open my heart to my own kids’ efforts to please me.
We all know the routine: a little extra sleep, then the sound of whispering, giggling children. Maybe they’re a little clumsy as they tiptoe that breakfast into your room. Take a deep breath. Never mind that the special bed tray pins you down so you feel like a prisoner in your own boudoir. You’re a mom. You know how to play along. And by now, you probably know that this is how they practice for the big stuff later in life.
I know it’s likely to be mostly moms reading this column, so the first part is addressed to them. But Mom, after you finish, clip the rest and hand it off to the person most likely to make your Mother’s Day dreams come true. If you’re like me, you know by now to keep those dreams modest. But a dream is a dream, no matter how small. If they know how to make you happy, everyone wins.
So kids, this part is for you and whatever grownup is going to help you make the magic happen. Here’s your list. Read it well before May 11th. • Plan ahead. Send cards to your grandmothers, without your mom reminding you. And do your grocery and gift shopping before Sunday. • Plan to leave the kitchen clean. • If you get flowers, arrange them in a vase. • Carry the tray carefully. If someone drops it, respond with kind helpfulness. Do not yell and rage. Not on Mother’s Day. Just clean it up and start over.
Some moms might crave pancakes, eggs, bacon, and syrup. Others don’t want to get stuck under the tray like Winnie-the-Pooh after he eats all of Rabbit’s honey. There’s no one-size-fits-all Mother’s Day breakfast, but don’t let Mom emerge from her luxury lie-in to find the kitchen a mess. Unless your cooking and cleaning skills are top-notch, keep it simple.
Here’s what I want: Greek yogurt, lightly sweetened and flavored, then layered with red berries and chocolate cookie crumbs. If Mom’s an early riser, assemble these the night before.
adapted freely from Nigella Lawson’s Feast. enough for 4, because you need to eat, too.
1 pint Greek yogurt, preferably 2 percent or whole-milk honey and vanilla extract 1 pint fresh or frozen strawberries 1-2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar crispy cookies such as oatmeal (the original recipe used these to stand in for granola), ginger snaps, vanilla wafers, or Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the yogurt with ¼ teaspoon vanilla and 1 tablespoon of honey till smooth. It shouldn’t be too sweet.
If you’re using fresh, wash the strawberries and pat them dry with a clean towel. Using a small but sharp knife, slice the leafy tops off. If frozen, cut larger berries in half. Whiz them in the blender with 1-2 tablespoons of confectioner’s sugar, to taste. (Again, not too sweet.)
Place 8-10 cookies in a paper or plastic bag, and gently crush them with a rolling pin, to make about ½ cup of crumbs.
Line up four medium glasses or half-pint jars. Spoon 1 to 2 teaspoons of berry puree into the bottom of each cup. Follow with several tablespoons of yogurt, then sprinkle with some cookie crumbs. Repeat till glasses are full. If you assemble these the night before, save the last batch of crumbs to sprinkle in the morning, so they’ll be nice and crunchy. Garnish with mint leaves or little flowers.