Our mothers are often the cooks in the family, showing their love by nurturing and feeding us. They made us little snacks and bagged lunches, comfort food when we needed it most, prepared holiday meals for umpteen relatives, and baked cookies and cakes for birthdays. So many family memories revolve around gathering to eat, and our mothers are usually at the center of that experience, making things happen in the kitchen. Today we share some personal stories from our staff about their mothers and grandmothers and the powerful food memories associated with them.
We want to honor and thank all the mothers who cooked for us … and instilled in us a love for food. Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there!
How Duck a l’Orange Changed Kristen’s Life
Kristen told this story on her job interview at D’Artagnan. We’re not saying that it got her a job, but it’s a great story.
I am an only child and a childhood cancer survivor, so I was totally spoiled. When I was about 2 years into remission from Hodgkin’s disease, I decided that I wanted to make duck a l’orange for Christmas. My mother indulged me, of course, and we found a D’Artagnan duck at the store – I clearly remember the logo and everything. Yes, I overcooked it – because I was 12! And I used Saucy Susan, which I’m mortified to recall, instead of making my own sauce. But my mother let me cook it myself, making sure I didn’t burn the house or the dinner, and it was an empowering experience for me. Honestly, that’s when my interest in food really took root.
Kristen – Sales Manager
Try your hand at making duck a l’orange with our easy-enough-for-a-12-year-old recipe (we bet Kristen could have used this!).
Christophe in the Kitchen with Grand-Mère
Our corporate chef is from Lyon, where food is virtually a religion. His grandmother opened his eyes to the power of fine food and inspired his destiny in the kitchen. Don’t you wish everyone had a grandmother like that?
I have sweet memories of my grandmother, always in the kitchen behind the gas range, cooking typical dishes from Lyon: quenelles of pike with sauce Nantua, saucisson brioché, and gateau de foie (a kind of savory flan made with duck liver), and many more! She often made the famous tarte aux pralines for dessert. Thanks to my grandmother, I developed a passion for high-quality products, like those we got directly from the farm, at the market, and in the family garden.
I remember watching her cook for hours. She was what we call a real “Cordon-Bleu,” meaning an accomplished home cook. She carefully explained to me how to mix flavors and combine various products. Because of my grandmother, I got the taste for authentic and fine cuisine. She is the reason I am a chef today.
Christophe – D’Artagnan Chef
Mom’s Sofrito Seasoned Samantha’s Childhood
It’s all about the seasoning. If you can get that right, you’ve got it made in the kitchen.
Being from the Dominican Republic, rice and beans are a BIG part of our diet. My mom used to let me rinse the rice, soak the beans and help gather the ingredients to make sofrito, which is the primary seasoning used in practically every traditional dish. Sofrito is made with green peppers, red peppers, yellow peppers, onions, garlic, oregano, cilantro, lime, and I still associate the bright colors and flavors with being in the kitchen with my mother as a little girl.
Samantha – Inside Sales
Adeline Lends a Helping Hand
Kids love to help in the kitchen and those that are given the chance to do so make lifelong memories … and sometimes end up working in the food industry!
Growing up, the kitchen was always a place where I was welcomed and encouraged. My parents never told me to get out of the way because it would be faster to get things done without a child at their feet. My mother would encourage me to grab my little red stepstool and stand alongside her while she chopped, or mixed, or seasoned. Both of my parents were good cooks, and let me be part of the fun. My mother would, for holidays and special occasions, bake braided cardamom bread, topped with delicious coarse sugar crystals called Pärlsocker (a Swedish product). The strong, sweet yet spicy scent of cardamom filled the kitchen when it baked, and I remember the tang of yeast mixed in with those smells when she would let me help knead the dough. She still makes cardamom bread when she’s feeling like a kitchen project, and I often go home with a loaf or two tucked in my bag.
Adeline – Social Media Manager
Peter Misses Mom’s Sauce Recipe
The food that mother cooked for you has that extra ingredient- her love. Let this poignant memory inspire you to write down all of mom’s recipes.
My mother made the most amazing meat sauce for pasta, but would never give up the recipe she had locked away in her brain. She always said that one day when she was too old to make it we would learn how. But that day never came, as cancer took my mother a few years ago. Even with all of her cooking magazines, Paul Prudhomme books, and binders full of recipes, this is the one she never wrote down. I remember her making 18 quarts at a time, and freezing it to give to my brothers and me when we came home from college. We all hoped that after she passed we could find some sauce hidden in the freezer, but alas, no. To this day, my family craves that sauce, and we try every year to figure out her recipe. We’ve made some great sauces, but have never been able to match hers. Maybe one day.
Pete – Inside Sales
Michael Passes Food Traditions to the Next Generation
Keeping traditions alive is important in a family, and food is often the best – and most enjoyable – way to carry them to the children.
Growing up in my house, pork chops with rice and beans were a staple meal. We always began with an appetizer of tostones (fried plantains) and black bean soup. It was during these meals that my love affair with food began. I enjoyed spending the time with my family because my Abuelo (grandfather) was always happiest when eating. He was a Puerto Rican immigrant and gave his mother’s recipe to his wife, my grandmother. Over time, this recipe was passed down to my mother and then to me. Today when I make pork chops with rice and beans for my children, I feel the presence of generations past and know that I am sharing an important part of my own childhood with them.
Michael – Director of Sourcing
Thanks for reading! Do you have any strong memories of food associated with your mother or grandmother? Share with us in the comments.
Since 1985, D’Artagnan has been at the forefront of the farm-to-table movement, producing superior tasting products by partnering with small ranches and farms. We are committed to free-range, natural production, sustainable and humane farming practices and no use of antibiotics or hormones. That’s why D’Artagnan products have been revered by America’s most renowned chefs for over 30 years. We offer the same high-quality products to home cooks at dartagnan.com, along with recipes and guides to help you live the tasty life.