Stories 2020
(Click on the photo to read a story.)
Te Brugge, Lana

Life Lessons

Lana Te Brugge

A mother who was brought up in apartheid-ruled South Africa passed on a sense of right and wrong (plus her recipes) to her own daughter.

Montgomery, Joy

A Pandemic Pregnancy

Joy Montgomery

Only one person could help cushion the bumpy road to a blessed event.

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A Model Daughter

Evie Hirschhorn

Mom gave her soul to the community, but she hated anything connected with nesting or caretaking, and she never stepped into the kitchen.

Stalder, Cathy

Generosity and Guilt

Cathy Stalder

Food was Mom’s strategy to cope with loneliness and longing for the years gone by. But her very British sense of humor was evident.

Alter, Cathy

A Signature Dish

Cathy Alter

A working mom provided a lesson in the good life. It did not involve frying anything up in a pan.

Blackburn, Eleanor May

A Squish A Day

Eleanor May Blackburn

A poem about safety, comfort, and home—and food as a wondrous remedy for lockdown.

Aber, Dana

Newlywed Nerves and

Corningware Cornpone

Dana Aber-Torres

The new bride's once-crowded calendar is nearly empty, and she longs for the comfort of Mom’s table. 

Michaela, Esme

Bye-bye Barbie

Esme Michaela

Hearing Mum call her "chubby," she wrapped clothes tightly around her dolls to accentuate their tiny waists—and created a complicated relationship with food.

Berry, Emily

Little Potatoes

Emily Berry

Quarantining with Mum has its advantages (home-cooked meals!), but it’s hard to handle codependency after seeing more of the world.

Azorlibu, Dian

Against All Odds

Dian Azorlibu

Poetic gratitude for a mother who has been a queen in shining armor,  never giving up on providing hope, joy, and laughter.

Clancy, Megan

Preemies

Megan Clancy

A mother went to extraordinary lengths to protect her premature twins—and to ensure that their childhood was different from her own.

Shepherd, Sarah

A Matter of Trust

Sarah Shepherd

When a mother believes that her degree in child psychology qualifies her to analyze her daughter, it creates guilt and anxiety for her vegan daughter.

Brett, Sally

Three Candy Bars

Sally A. Brett

Mom believed in sharing among siblings, in making things "even." Turns out, she had a special, private reason.

Thorburn, Linda

No Shame in Baking

Linda Thorburn

For an adopted daughter who has been through many failed placements, hoarding food became a crisis reaction. Mom lured her from her stinky room.

Brian, Bex

The Elixir

Bex Brian

Mum had great faith in the healing properties of a vile health drink. Decades later, as ammunition against a pandemic, it returns in a different guise.

Moravec, Maya

A Sweet Thing From A Time of Pain

Maya Moravec

The funeral and “enlivening” ceremony for her grandmother lets a daughter adopted from Guatemala continue a family culinary legacy.

Russ, Stephanie

But Please With Sauce

Stephanie Russ

For a girl with a dreamy personality, German precision and discipline were difficult, but an extra dollop of sauce at dinner meant extra love.

Alvarez, Clisver

Dear Mother, Dear Daughter

Clisver Alvarez

A letter of gratitude, to a mother who provided valuable lessons and sustenance, and to a daughter still too young to know the importance of those gifts.

O'Connor, Candace

Doing Her Best

Candy O'Connor

Mama had a pervasive air of sadness (and frequently a cigarette dangling from her mouth), but she was always a good listener, followed by a warm hug..

Hancock, Carlota

A Push-button Life

Carla Hancock

The Philippine tradition is: A child must “give back” to her parents. It’s a debt of gratitude. But the fantasy of an easy-peasy American life was tempting. 

Clyburn, Aubrey

The Quiet Rebellion

Aubrey Clyburn

An offer of healthy recipes has tacit meaning: a mother's way of apologizing, a daughter's way of accepting.

Thompson-Corley Family

Eva Caisey Thompson, Maria Thompson Corley, and Kiana Corley

A trilogy of stories from three women who admit that food plays second fiddle to their music.

Quigley-Piechotta, Claudine

Mission Impossible

Claudine Quigley-Piechotta

The compromises and guilt for a mother of teens, combined with zero enthusiasm for pandemic grocery shopping.

Denison, Allie

Losing My Religion

Allie Denison

A school assignment about World War II revealed an extraordinary family history—a choice between heritage and survival.

Williams, Deborah L_

Doing the Work

Deborah Lindsay Williams

A recipe for dill bread is linked to a bygone world of Chicago politics, when Mom took her daughter on door-knocking expeditions.

Sherman, Ivy Baer

Ever A Teacher, Ever A Student

Ivy Baer Sherman

The art of cooking was not one of Mama's many skills. But the daily sharing of stories around the kitchen table was its own form of comfort food.

Nunis, Julie

Just the Essentials

Julie Nunis

Stepping foot into a grocery store was paralyzing, and quarantine cooking was emotionally exhausting. Then a lime green postcard arrived in the mail.

Hale, Chanell

The Feast

Chanell Hale

Newspaper on the table, a pile of crab legs—Mom knew how to make life seem good.

Keable, Olivia

The Skinny Elephant in the Room

Olivia Keable

A daughter confronts truths, gingerly forges independence, and tries to convince her mum that her unconditional love hasn't changed.

Kenick, Maiya

Gratitude

Maiya Kenick

Recovery from two different health crises allowed mother and daughter to put aside past grievances and celebrate life together.

Rane, Samantha

Mending With Each Plate

Samantha Rane

Mother and daughter were best friends until a youthful push for independence created a rift. But a shared pandemic kitchen created a new dynamic.

Noonan, Tracey

Wicked Good

Tracey Noonan

Her beloved daughter became dark and withdrawn. A suggestion to try cake decorating together proved to be the recipe needed to move back into the light.

Brian, Bex

Magic Mushrooms

Bex Brian

An Englishwoman goes foraging, and her daughter unexpectedly falls under her spell.

Spraggins-Dismuke, Fallon

Binge

Fallon Spraggins-Dismuke

Comfort food in her childhood was out of the question, unless her mother was able to find the road to recovery.

Balents, Natalie

Bathtub Eel

Natalie Balents

Mom drove herself to the hospital in high heels when she went into labor. In December. In New England. She had a few culinary tricks up her sleeve too.

Iscaro, Lucy

A Need To Knead

Lucy Iscaro

Fear of contagion kept a grandmother, mother, and daughter apart, but bread, technology, and love brought them together.

Felicity Jolly

The Lodger

Felicity Jolly

Quarantine is intimidating while living with housemates, where the dining table is rarely used. But Mum is there to share recipes over FaceTime.

Dinerman, Diana

A Solo Act

Diana Dinerman

A pediatric nurse worked long shifts taking care of other people’s children. But if her daughter saw eggs and butter on the counter, it was time to bake.

Dockery, Meliora

Channeling Mom In A Bridge Boudoir

Meliora Dockery

Reluctantly, her mother had learned to play bridge, and reluctantly, she learned it too. Now she plays virtually, stopping only for a plate of spaghetti.

Reeves, Sian

Heart On A Plate

Sian Reeves

A daughter navigating adulthood pushes her mother away—just like her mother did to her own mum.

Raffaele, Vanessa

Watch and Learn

Vanessa Raffaele

There were always lessons to be learned by observing Mom, whether painting the perfect eyeliner or pulling off a perfect meal.

Williams, Marilyn Joshua

Bell and Banana Man

Marilyn Joshua Williams

Since the kitchen was a place for conversation and support in her own childhood, a mother determined to continue that tradition with her daughter.

Ballinger, Barbara

Passing the Mantle

Barbara Ballinger

Two daughters get cooking instruction from their mom with different results, but both learn from the failures and rejoice with the successes.

Lewis, Dana M_

Sadie's Feast

Dana M. Lewis

Culinary skills in the family go back for generations, to a "scandalous" great-grandmother in a Louisiana parish populated by freed slaves and sharecroppers.

Romano, Tori

Tori Romano

A lifelong work ethic was established on the family farm. And baking bread with her mother and grandmother drew a sassy teen back to the kitchen.

Biswas, Sutapa

A Passage From India

Sutapa Biswas

A mother worries about her daughter, a doctor who is an essential worker in London. But her delicious recipes for a busy schedule help more than ever.

Kirk, Laurie

The Fixers

Laurie Kirk

A mother raises her children as she wanted to be raised herself, and lock-down is a good opportunity to talk about the mistakes of past generations.

Kendig, Diane

The Bereavement Dinner

Diane Kendig

Mom cooked for friends at church for many years. And when she died, they all gathered to eat her food.

Mittleman, Debra

At the Ballet

Debra Mittleman

At five years old, her response to her first ballet was classic: She wanted to be a dancer. And her devoted mother found her the best studio in town. But….

Krauss, Goldie

Handled With Care

Goldie Krauss

Mom was a nervous person. Life had taught her that something bad could be right around the corner. But she was fearless in the kitchen.

Miyoko Sakatani

Camping

Miyoko Sakatani

Consigned to an internment camp in World War II, a Japanese mother prepared traditional foods, trying to maintain dignity, and maintain the family unit.

Margolies, Malka

The Marriage Test

Malka Margolies

One condition predicated the marriage of the rabbi's wife: She had to learn how to make her mother-in-law's kugel.

Bailen, Gloria

Gloria Bailen

A woman eager to leave behind her working-class roots embraced the post-WWII American dream of prosperity with a domain of domesticity.

Carlston, Lydia

Calm in the Kingdom

Lydia Carlston

With daughters at the age of explosive growth and multiple interests, a woman who has become “boring Mom” finds some gifts in quarantining together.

Fieldsteel, Patricia

Crimes in the Family

Patricia Fieldsteel

Asparagus was a crucible in the family. Nana ate it from a jar. A beloved aunt mulched and slurped the fresh stalks like a savage. Mother did not approve.

Salamon, Julie

Keeping A Lost World Alive

Julie Salamon

Mom was always exciting, sometimes maddening, occasionally embarrassing, like trying to bribe a cop with the homegrown tomatoes in her trunk.

Celikkol, Derya

Perfect Rice

Derya Celikkol

Mom’s advice and lessons were like “cheat codes”  in video games to get to a higher level. And she knew what her daughter needed for comfort in a pandemic.

Allen, Yolanda

Back On Track

Yolanda Allen

Bad relationships and poor choices meant Mom was not setting a good example for her daughter, until they both figured out there was no time to waste.

Paula T. Lin

The Belle of Chinatown

Paula T. Lin

A child of Chinese immigrants “married well,” but the emotional scars from a childhood of poverty and hunger stayed with her.

Brian, Bex

Doodlebugs

Bex Brian

A daughter muses about her mother’s life during the bombing of London and finds similarities to today’s world. What would Mum think now?

Roever, Andreina

It Takes Three to Tango

Andriena P. Botto Roever,

Valentina Roever, and Sophia Roever

A mother who made a new life in America teaches her three daughters how to make a difference.

Scott, Crystal

A Pregnant Pause

Crystal Scott

A young mother-to-be feels the stress of knowing that her womb will not always be shelter for her child from the dangers of the world in the time of coronavirus.

Willmes Désirée

Mother's Day on Lock-down

Désirée Willmes

Food has always been Mom’s passion. Now she and her daughter exchange recipes and celebrate the occasional happy hour—only on FaceTime.

Smith, Keira

When Mum Is Essential (Not Just to Me)

Keria Smith

Mum is an ambulance technician. To alleviate worry and missing her, a daughter away at college practices the healthy cooking Mum taught.

Magee, Mary Kate

Cooking Our Way Through Quarantine

Mary Kate Magee

A mom who taught her daughters to be goddesses reinforces her advice from afar, including her belief that there is a dish to solve every problem.

Currell, Meg

Recipes By Mom

Meg Currell

The food of her childhood in her mother’s recipes was written in a shorthand that rendered the information undecipherable.

DiCosmo, Nefertiti

Bittersweet Lullaby

Nefertiti DiCosmo

Divorce caused a rift between a Mama’s girl and her Mama. But when the daughter became a mother herself, she found a way back through her own child.

Moss, Thylias

Seeking Acceptance

Thylias Moss

Her family “immigrated” in shackles. So she married into a family that had decided to come to America, as a proud choice. And then she adopted his food.

Burns, Cherie

Passing the Baton

Cherie Burns

When the pandemic made it impossible to travel for the birth of a grandchild, the connection between mother and daughter continued via video-conference.

Uhry, Amanda

Parenting and Pound Cake

Amanda Uhry

A particular orange pound cake was deeply symbolic, a reminder of the sudden loss of family. It became grief, and then a vehicle for overcoming it.

Bolton-Fasman, Judy

The Empty Plate

Judy Bolton-Fasman

Dinner in a Cuban Sephardic Jewish family provided a gift from one culture to another.

Turner, Suzanne

Corona Birthday Cake

Suzanne Turner

Coronavirus lockdown + deeply fabulous mom = a genius way not to miss her daughter’s birthday tradition.

Felcone, Andrea Santo

Queen of the Freezer

Andrea Santo Felcone

Mom's favorite book for party prep included recommendations for the slow thawing of dinner, like “taking in a movie” and a long soak in the tub.

Rose, M.T_

Good Cooker

M.T. Rose

Mom turned supermarket shopping into an adventure, overlooking her daughter’s stealth purchases of unauthorized snacks.

Jung, Jae

Tiger Mom

Jae Jung

The tiger in Korean fables is an unbeatable figure. And Mama Kim was not happy when her daughter wanted to become a chef.

Roach, Erin

Culinary DNA

Erin Roach

Mother and daughter both love travel, shopping, theater, fashion, and a well-crafted sarcastic remark. But they never bonded over cooking.

Prakash, Chandini

Magic Wands

Chandini Prakash

At a summer home in India, generations of women gathered in the kitchen, cooking, singing, teasing, telling stories, and teaching math.

Coopersmith, Haley

A Bite Out of History

Haley Coopersmith

The signature recipe of a Jewish festival is passed down through three generations—and shared with kids celebrating their own cultures and traditions.

Reynolds, Mahogany

Big Judy's Joy

Mahogany Reynolds

Mom could match any Hollywood diva with her sassy attitude. But her daughter knew that something else made her mother hard to handle: mental illness.

Cherie Kephart

Sauce Day

Cherie Kephart

Mom was calm, kind, and funny, but the heated side of her lineage showed when she cooked. Never come between a Sicilian mother and her sauce.

Winch, Fiona

Lovin' Spoonful

Fiona Winch

With any fight, heartbreak, or major transition, Mom brought tea, with enough sugar to please a major sweet tooth.

Sultana, Shanta

At My Mother's Tent

Shanta Sultana

Tasting her mother’s wonderful Indo-Persian food, she convinced herself that she was loved. But it was her only opportunity to feel some kind of belonging.

Clare, Janet

Easy to Please

Janet Clare

Digging around in a mess of recipes, mostly never made, a daughter comes across a message from her mother that she wishes she could answer.

Brian, Bex

A Tale of Two Mothers

Bex Brian

One sister was allowed to eat between meals and eat with her hands. The other had cloth napkins, Friday night steak, and dinner served promptly at 7 pm.

Ball, Aimee Lee

A Valentine's Day Do-over

Aimee Lee Ball

V-Day decadence, not just for lovers.

Turner, Suzanne

Night of the Singing Fiddles

Suzanne Turner

A work of fiction, informed by a Southern childhood and a mama who was hometown royalty, prettiest girl in the Delta, but considered a “hick” up North.

Coo, Elizabeth

A Recipe To Life

Elizabeth Coo

Ah-ma’s modest potsticker shop is the culmination of a journey that goes from resisting foot-binding in China to claiming a piece of The American Dream.

Patricia Fieldsteel

More Is Better

Patricia Fieldsteel

Clever Grandma, perennially dieting, ran a dress shop where women were always thinner (a size 12 became a size 10), but she cooked with abundance.

Fradella, Angela

Who's the Boss?

Angela Fradella

Deciding who's in charge can be a challenge when an adult mother and daughter are sharing a household.

Rubin, Jen

Learning the Secrets

Jen Rubin

Grandma carried a sewing machine on her back in Russia, and carried her recipe for challah to America, where she played tricks on her daughter.

Wilson, Theresa

The Impossible Dream

Theresa Wilson

A mother realizes that she is her daughter’s first teacher and mentor, challenging her to be part of something big.

Bunk, Anna-Rosina

The Perfect Shape

Anna-Rosina Bunk

A daughter struggles with body shaming on the road to acceptance from (and of) her mother.

Vitello, Suzy

All Of A Kind

Suzy Vitello

A young woman goes to meet her boyfriend's family and finds a new mother.

Stanfill, Laura

Soup On A Tray

Laura Stanfill

A daughter with mysterious childhood illnesses manages to grow, even thrive, with her mother’s skilled resourcefulness.

Lesseos, Mimi and Sophia.jpg

Badass

Mimi and Sophia Lesseos

Her traumatic childhood was the opposite of shows she watched on TV. But she determined to raise her own children differently. And she became fearless.

Reese, Stella Chase

What Would Leah Do?

Stella Chase Reese

The woman behind the stove at Dooky Chase’s learned to read from books that her father salvaged from the trash at a school for white children.