Sunday, May 06, 2001

Make Mom breakfast in bed

Experienced mother advises kids on how to uphold a Mother's Day tradition

By Polly Campbell
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Note: The following is for children who live at home with their mothers. Moms don't need to read it.

        Are you planning to make Mom breakfast in bed for Mother's Day next Sunday? It's a wonderful tradition, I know your mother deserves it, and any kid can do it.

        You don't have to be a great cook. Your mother will love whatever you do. If you're little and cute, say under 8 years old, you could bring her an underdone Eggo and instant coffee with the hand print artwork you made at school and she'd think it was great.

        If you're older (not that you still aren't cute), you might want to work a little harder to make a breakfast that stands on its own merits.

        As a mother who has enjoyed many Mother's Days getting crumbs in my sheets, I can give you a few insights into what makes this delightful tradition a success. (Your own mother won't tell you, naturally. That would be ungracious.)

        My first suggestion: You might want to ask a few subtle questions to make sure she really likes breakfast in bed. Then:

        1. Find out how to make the coffee, if she drinks it. You can burn the toast and get shells in the eggs, but if the coffee's the way she likes it, everything's going to be fine.

        2. Dad can help (especially with the coffee), but remember, it's Mother's Day, not Wife's Day. This one's up to you.

        3. Don't make her wait too long. It's hard to lie in bed, listening to strange sounds from the kitchen, without wanting to get up and see what's going on. And if it sounds like everybody's having fun without her, Mom will wish she were in on it.

        My favorite Mother's Day was one year when my mother was visiting. She got in bed with me in the morning and kept me company while my daughters fixed both of us breakfast.

        4. Don't expect Mom to pretend to be asleep. If she's awake, you might bring her some juice and the Sunday newspaper. Let her get up, visit the bathroom, wash her face and get back in bed.

        5. Flowers. Breakfast in bed requires flowers on the tray. But don't make a bouquet out of the flats of petunias she just bought and was going to plant today.

        6. You know what will really make your mother happy, don't you? Cleaning up the kitchen after you fix breakfast. Enough said.

        So keep it simple, but make it special.

        If you have any experience with baking, you'll find this recipe for homemade biscuits is easy, because you stir in cream instead of cutting in butter. Make sure you buy heavy cream ahead of time. And if the rule in your house is to get help with the oven, then don't put the biscuits in the oven or take them out by yourself.

        You can serve just a big basket of biscuits with jam in a glass dish (pancakes make a simpler substitute for younger cooks), or add scrambled eggs or a cream cheese and ham omelette, maybe a fruit salad (sliced strawberries and kiwis with chopped mint is nice). And the coffee. She'll be so proud.

Quick Cream Biscuits

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups heavy cream

        Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees.

        Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in medium bowl. Add 1 1/4 cups cream and stir with wooden spoon until dough forms, about 30 seconds. Transfer dough from bowl to counter top, leaving all dry flour bits behind in bowl. Knead by hand just until smooth, about 30 seconds. (To knead dough, fold it over and over on the counter, pushing with the heel of your hand.)

        Form the dough into a rough circle (about 8 inches across) and cut into 8 wedges with a knife. Transfer to baking sheet and bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Be careful taking them out of the oven.

        — Adapted from Cook's magazine

Cream Cheese and Ham Omelette

2 eggs
1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup diced ham
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 package (3 ounces) cream cheese

        In a small bowl, whisk together eggs and milk. Add ham to the bowl and stir to combine.

        In a small frying pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Pour the egg and ham mixture into the center of the frying pan.

        Slice cream cheese into small cubes. Roll into small balls and dot them on the surface of the omelette. Cover the omelette with a lid and cook until the top has completely set.

        Carefully transfer omelette to a serving plate.

        — Adapted from The Sleepover Cookbook (Sterling; $9.95) by Hallie Warshaw


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