“My mom makes the best Reuben sandwich, and my grandma makes the best pies,” proclaims my husband. I reckon the statement, “My mom / grandma makes the best …,” says a lot about how moms and grandmas shape the development of our palate and food preferences. For this Mother’s Day, I talked to nine members of the Right at Home team, who shared their favorite dishes to honor the important ladies in their lives.
Jeff Vavricek, Chief Financial Officer
Apple / Cherry Pies of Grandma
"My grandmother was the stereotypical farmer’s wife who lived through the Depression and maintained her frugality for the remainder of her 102 years of life. She loved to make apple and cherry pies and that was partially driven by the fact that Grandma and Grandpa had a small apple and cherry orchard on their farm.
“The twist to my story is that as a kid, I hated her pies. For some freak reason of nature, the apple and cherry trees never seemed to produce a good harvest in the same year. Therefore, to stretch the apples in a bad apple production year, she would add cherries to the pies, which typically did well in those years. Conversely, she would add apples to cherry pies to stretch the cherries when the cherry trees flopped.
“Essentially, she fed us the same pie with a different name (she would occasionally put red food coloring in the cherry pies to trick us). This source of annoyance as a child remains today as one our top stories we love to tell at family gatherings. My grandma was a special person.”
Kimberly Folk, Project Coordinator
Stollen Cinnamon Roll of Mom
“My favorite thing my mom makes is a Stollen Cinnamon Roll. It only shows up for certain holidays because of the time and effort that go into making it. The recipe takes two days to complete. The dough needs to rise for a day before you can bake and ice it. My mom would always have a big Stollen ready for Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s—it makes the holidays all the more special! It’s a crowd favorite too—which is why I have tried to make it several times, but it never quite tastes as good as mom’s.”
Michelle Koester, Vice President of Franchise Learning and Coaching
Potato Salad of Mom
“It was a Fourth of July tradition, and my family always appreciated Mom’s potato salad more than me—until the year when my mom fell ill just after July Fourth. Her illness turned into a five-month hospital stay with some scary moments when we nearly lost her. Thanks to the great people at St. Elizabeth’s Regional Medical Center and the University of Nebraska Medical Center, she gradually bounced back. Since that time, our whole family is beyond grateful when we get to enjoy HER and her potato salad.”
Pat Boyd, Vice President of Marketing
Italian Sausage Stuffed Squash of Mom
“Leave it to my Scotch-Irish mother to create (or copy) an Italian dish that is seared into my memory (much tastier than the boiled potatoes for which the Irish are famous). Her Italian Sausage Stuffed Squash (acorn squash primarily, but she also used other varieties) is a wonderful mix of spicy and mellow, with the butter-infused baking process providing a caramelized texture. Onion, garlic, parmesan, peppers, and salt and pepper provided the seasoning to make this a recipe par excellence.”
Rita Ude Kellen, Corporate Communications Specialist
Cinnamon Rolls of Mom
“My mom made cinnamon rolls from scratch on special occasions like Easter morning. They took a lot of time to make, but the result was worth it. They tasted so sweet and just melted in your mouth. When I was a kid, I don’t think I appreciated the time my mom took to make them, but as an adult, I realized that she did it out of love for her family and the memories that were made on those special holidays.”
Lorraine Grote Johnson, RN, BSN, Director of Care Quality
“My mom and grandma did not use recipes. They made everything from scratch and by memory. But my mom’s homemade buns, rhubarb pie, fried chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, home-grown sweet corn and apple salad make the best dinner ever!”
Diane Huffer, Director of Franchise Development
Pineapple Upside-Down Cake of Mom
“My mom had a special iron skillet in which she made the pineapple upside-down cake. The iron skillet made the cake turn out extra special. She made it for every bake sale or special event.”
Katrina Markel, International Online Marketing Manager
Toasted Cheese Sandwich of Grandma
“My grandma was from the Midwest, but a different part of the Midwest than me, and she was born in 1909, so she had different names for things. A purse was a ‘pocketbook,’ a couch was a ‘davenport,’ and a grilled cheese sandwich was a ‘toasted cheese sandwich.’
“Her toasted cheese sandwiches were my favorite. First of all, I think she used real cheese and none of the processed stuff. Then, she added tomatoes and super-crispy bacon. I’m sure there was a ton of real butter on the bread, too. The crispy bacon definitely made the sandwich special, but I also think that the sandwich tasted good because I knew that grandma was going to a little extra effort to spoil me with something rich and yummy.”
Mary Henderson, Administrative Assistant
Mac and Cheese of Mom and Lentils of Grandma
“It is hard for me to choose. My mom made a delicious mac-and-cheese dish, and my favorite part was the crushed cornflakes she put on top.
“My nonny’s (grandma) recipe of lentils unfortunately died with her, but I remember being very little and loving it—I still can remember the bacon, tomatoes and onions she put in it, but, alas, no one in the family got the recipe from her. I still love lentils to this day, but I haven’t found any recipe that can compare!”