LIKE MOST GUYS, I credit my momma for having a strong effect on my mind, my heart and my soul. Yet when it comes time to show some appreciation to Mom, I invariably think about my stomach.
What gift can I get Mom, I ask myself, that will help her cook?
This means that in my effort to thank Mom for her labors, I end up giving her a present that sends her right back to the kitchen for more work.
Recently I made a mental list of the gifts my three brothers and I have given our mother over the years. The list reads like an order form from a kitchen-supply house.
There was an electric skillet. That's right, we gave Mom a skillet for Mother's Day. Of course, she ended up using it to cook us a big fried-chicken dinner.
Another year the big gift was a knife sharpener. How's that for sentiment? There were a series of mixing bowls, primarily replacements for bowls that my brothers had dropped and broken. Along the way a toaster or two has been passed off as other signs of our undying filial affection.
I would like to say that such kitchen-oriented gift-giving occurred only in the foggy past. Not so. Just a few months ago my brothers and I pooled our funds to buy Mom a big present.
It was not a trip around the world. Nor was it an oil painting. It was a new dishwasher. We immediately tested Mom's gift by loading it with dishes that had been generated by a massive roast beef and potato feast that Mom had whipped up.
It must be said that the idea of thinking a "mom gift" was anything that could appear in a kitchen was encouraged by my mom. I remember, for instance, one time when the family refrigerator conked out and she counted the replacement fridge as her Christmas present. I was a kid at the time who couldn't comprehend how anyone could regard an appliance, especially one that other family members could use, as a present. Since then I have learned.
I also think maternal wisdom played a role in the development of her Mother's Day list of kitchen gifts. When faced with the prospect of having her sons either venture into boutiques looking for something artistic or sending us to the housewares department armed with a list of kitchen supplies, Mom picked the safe option. The gift that came from housewares might not be striking or creative. But chances were slim that it would have to spend its life hiding in a closet.
Nowadays when I ask my wife for suggestions for gifts that the boys and I might give her, I usually end up with a list somewhat similar to the one Mom used to give me and my brothers.
Last Christmas, for example, the guys and I gave my wife some spiffy measuring spoons, a cutting-edge spatula, and several dozen thick drinking glasses that replenished the ranks of ones that had been shattered in everyday duty. Makes you misty-eyed just reading that list, doesn't it?
We also gave her a new salad spinner. It turned out that the salad spinner we picked was too small for the big batches of lettuce we wash for our salads. So now my boys I have a chance to make amends. Mom will get a bigger salad spinner for Mother's Day.
Who knows, the guys and I might even go so far as to spin the salad greens ourselves, and do all the cooking for the day. But such culinary enthusiasm is not likely to last beyond Mother's Day.
Tomorrow, the celebration will be over. Tomorrow she will to have to spin that salad herself.
Pub Date: 5/11/97