This Mother’s Day, I put together and orchestrated a menu for my mom and aunt that I was extremely proud of. I’ve slowly been enjoying hosting and putting together delicious spreads more and more. Reflecting on how it came to be this way, I remembered that my mom was always a star at hosting guests. My siblings and I would look in the fridge and complain about how there was nothing to eat, a guest would be on their way and within a matter of what seemed like minutes, my mom would whip up something scrumptious.
But this skill didn’t only come out when we had guests. This skill shined every Sunday when my family would gather for brunch after church.
Before I lived in New York City during the summer of 2014 and discovered that brunch was synonymous with bottomless mimosas, brunch held a different meaning for my childhood. I was reminded of it this morning as I fried two eggs and put coffee on fire. The familiar scent of the two smells mixed together to take me nostalgically back to our home in Southern Maryland circa 2000s.
Brunch Growing Up
Almost every Sunday after church, my mom – and eventually us kids as we got older – would whip up a large delicious brunch set on various serving plates and accompanied by lots of laughs and the mesmerizing tunes of various Jazz musicians. (Sundays in our house was classical music as we dressed to go to church and Jazz or Nigerian oldies during brunch – and most of the afternoon). It would of course be followed by a family siesta – only after we kids washed all the dishes. Just try to stay awake after a meal like that.
While my family and I often had dinner together during the week, Sunday brunch was special because it was a long drawn out affair. It took some time to put together and we would linger around the table since we still had the whole day ahead of us. After brunch, you were usually good for the whole day. But in case you still wanted dinner much later, my mom would cook rice and stew that would last us most of the week.
So what was on menu of this amazing family brunch that left us in food comas? It varied from Sunday to Sunday but it would usually include several of the following items. Mix and match them for your own awesome Sunday brunch:
1. Pancakes or Toast
We often had Nigerian pancakes, aka crepes and would rolls jams and other yummy items into them. Other times we made fluffy American style pancakes. From time to time, we would just serve toast. We usually had an assortment of butter, jam, peanut butter, marmalade, jelly and syrup – depending on what is on the table that day.
Eggs were a staple in our Sunday brunch. More often than not, we would have friend eggs. Sometimes it was omelet or scrambled eggs. My dad preferred poached egg so that was often on the table as well.
3. Bacon or sausage
Sometimes both. Later on, we also started having turkey bacon.
4. Baked Beans
We usually just made the ones from the can and my mom would heat it over the stove top. This was particularly delicious on days when toast was on the menu.
5. Sautéed Veggies
We always had a mix of veggies sautéed to perfection, usually onions and tomatoes. We cut them into big pieces so that when they shrivel up in the pan, they are still a large size. Other days we also had carrots, green beans or other veggies. We sautéed and served them separately, so it was never mixed veggies.
6. Tea or Coffee
We are big tea and coffee people in my house. Growing up though it was mostly coffee for the adults and tea for everyone else.
7. Orange Juice
Half the house liked lots of pulp and the other half like no pulp. SO my mom alternated which one she would buy. At one point we had an orange juicer and would just have fresh orange juice. This is the part where you can just go ahead and add champagne if you insist you need a New York brunch.
There you have it. My family brunch menu. What meals do you look forward to the most in your house and which traditions do you feel you’ll continue?
Mother’s Day Feast
And if you are wondering about the spread I made for Mother’s Day this year, it was this:
- crackers and cheese plate with olives, grapes, Rose and ice tea available
- a summer salad with spinach, arugula, carrots, cucumber, avocado, tangerines and pecans, served with Sunflower Honey Loaf bread from Harris Teeter
- Yassa Poulet (a Senegelese chicken and onion dish that I keep getting better at!) served with rice and red wine
- Homemade cheesecake with raspberry topping served with Rishi Turmeric Ginger Tea
The appetizer was served outside on the porch around 3pm. Dinner (salad then yassa) was served at the dining room table around 6pm. And dessert was eaten while watching The Greatest Showman – which is an AMAZING movie I knew everyone would enjoy.
It was really fun putting together this Mother’s Day feast for my mom and aunt and I applaud my mom for having done this for so long.
How do you spend Mother’s Day?