We ate only meals that were made from scratch. We did not know the meaning of "takeout" food. When I occasionally would eat dinner at a friend's house, I always was aware it was different, not disagreeable or bad, but not the same. I would return to our table the next night with full appreciation of my mother's cooking and our family tradition.
I wish I could report that tradition is alive and well in our home in Nahant, but modern-day occupational reality is a fact of life. When you own a restaurant business such as Periwinkles, your husband is a firefighter and your daughter is hellbent on conquering the business world, it is very difficult to plan meals.
A big difference: My mother would cook one meal for eight people; I sometimes cook three meals for the three of us. Our daughter, Alexa, doesn't eat red meat. My husband, Eddie, enjoys a balanced meal including meat, salad, vegetable and starch. Me? Although I love good food, having my family together for a meal I prepared from scratch, just like my mother did, gives me the greatest joy. It is a time for us to reconnect at the end of our day. Maybe that is why Norman Rockwell's illustration of "The Family Dinner" was one of the most popular Saturday Evening Post covers ever published.
Mother's Day is the perfect day to remember the past, celebrate the present and plant the seeds for future family dinner traditions. Time, togetherness and good food allow family to share conversations, plans, ideas and love in a stress-free atmosphere.
Here is a simple, springtime favorite side-dish recipe from my home.
Peas and Prosciutto Salad
- 2 T fresh lemon juice
- 1 T dijon mustard
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 3 T olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 1 1/2 C fresh or frozen green peas
- 3 C trimmed snap peas
- 6 C mixed greens or spinach
- 3 oz. prosciutto, thinly sliced
- 2 radishes, thinly sliced
- Whisk first five ingredients together to make vinaigrette dressing. Season with salt and pepper.
- Cook peas and snap peas in a large pot of boiling water for two minutes. Immediately drain, and transfer to a bowl of ice water. When cold, drain and pat dry with paper towel.
- Add green peas, snap peas and mixed greens or spinach to serving bowl. Toss with vinaigrette dressing.
- Garnish with sliced radishes and thinly-sliced prosciutto.