Reporting Jay Lloyd
Mothers come in most ages and attitudes. One size does not fit all. Put 10 random mothers in a room and you’ll likely find different lifestyles, tastes, interests and favorite ways of celebrating Mothers Day. For example, let’s start with mine.
My mother was born in 1899 on the lower East Side of Manhattan. When she turned 30, America was in the grip of a “Great Depression.” Money was scarce. So, by the time she became a mother in 1934, she wanted to hang on to every penny. Dad didn’t argue. But Mom still wanted to have a restaurant treat. As my sister and I were growing up, a family of 4 could have a wonderful celebration at a Chinese restaurant for under $3. Ever since, I’ve associated Mothers Day with Won Ton Soup, Egg Roll, Chow Mein and ice cream. I do not force it on anyone else.
KIDS TAKE OVER
For many mothers, having spent the better part of their adult lives, joyfully tending a stove to bring amazing food to a table of offspring, they now want reciprocity. They want to know that their adult kids are ready to put the same care into providing a conversation starting meal to mom. It’s even more thrilling if a son does the cooking. If this is your mom, here’s one idea that covers all the bases. With the weather becoming more stable around Mothers Day, an outdoor barbecue can fill the bill. If you have a backyard, that’s the venue. Apartment dwellers in city and suburbs can launch an old fashioned picnic in the park, where grills are often provided or at least allowed. Focus on something for everyone. For traditional minimalists, go for ribs and chicken, dogs and burgers for the kids. Upscale it with lobster tail and filets. Let mom make the choice and urge her to whip up one of your childhood favorite sides – like mac and cheese.
MOMS OF THE FIFTIES
If your mother is a woman of the Fabulous Fifties, she probably would be thrilled in a pampering setting of crystal on the table while seated on comfortable banquettes in a stylish eatery, serving familiar food. The William Penn Inn fills the bill. I’ve been enjoying birthday and anniversary celebrations here for over 30 years. The Mothers Day menu, both buffet and full service is composed of all the traditional favorites that a fifties era mom would relish – no surprises. Prime Rib has always been consistent, onion soup is rich and cheesy. There’s roast turkey on the buffet, lamb chops, salmon and filet on the full service menu – even meat loaf.
There are sentimental moms who want to return to where it all began – the capstone on those date nights with dad as a teen or 20 something when frugality and pure optimism ruled the occasion. It likely was a movie and then an ice cream soda or coffee and pie at an all-night diner. The older one got, the diner visit morphed into an Applebees, TGIF or neighborhood favorite for a drink and an app. The Melrose Diner in South Philly was a city favorite for that late night snack after a movie or game. It still is. What can you say about a diner that’s been around, nurturing young love for over 80 years. It’s still the place to linger over shared midnight munchies – even a milk shake. If mom’s romance got a boost there, she may want to return on a special day. And, of course, there were and still are iconic suburban diners where the flickering romance began.
Motherhood does not signal an end to the adventurous spirit – the drive to be active – even while enjoying a special occasion. She might be biking, hiking, zip lining or sky diving. So how about a combination gift certificate to a tree-top adventure or a leap from a plane. The Zip Line is at Spring Mountain, the jump at Skydive Collegeville Hiking and biking on the Perkiomen Trail is of course, free. I choose these spots because they are all within minutes of the Woodside Lodge with a lively bar, comfy lounge and a restaurant that will refuel mom’s caloric burnoff in a homey atmosphere and from a well conceived and executed menu of traditional fin, fur an feathered fare, prepared with a creative flare. NOTE: No dinner here on Mother’s Day and the brunch may be sold out. But this combination of activity and dinner, might be better enjoyed the day before. Then plan a Woodside overnight and a Mothers Day breakfast at the Inn.
There are moms who love to re-live vacation days as the kids are growing up. Whether at the shore, mountains or bay. A weekend return for Mothers Day re-kindles wonderful memories. Ours are of Cape May as the kids played in the surf, were thrilled to win tchotchkes at the arcades, eat ice cream on the boardwalk and then have dinner at the Lobster House. For us it’s still an incomparable place for pleasant days and memories. Pick your own favorite spot. It might just be the right recipe for Mothers Day meandering.