Happy Mother’s Day! Share your Mom memory-

This is me and my mom, a few years ago on Cape Cod, in Massachusetts.

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This is me (on the right) and my mom – and sister, brother, and dad – one long-ago Christmas.

Somewhere in between those two snapshots in time, my mom taught me to bake.

Mom wasn’t the world’s most avid baker, and never claimed to be. She was more the handyman type (since Dad proclaimed himself a “mechanical Christian Scientist”).

Mom could build shelves, fix bikes, repair the washing machine… AND bake homemade bread and cookies and pie. White bread. Apple pie. And oatmeal cookies, snickerdoodles, chocolate crinkles…

Now that I think about it, Mom baked quite a lot. Back then, baking wasn’t a leisure time activity; it was just something moms did. For the bake sale. For your lunchbox. For your birthday, of course.

And on Sunday, back when that day was an actual day of rest. No shopping; the stores were all closed. It was fancy breakfast, church, and big midday dinner.

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Our Sunday breakfast was always one of two things: cinnamon-streusel coffeecake, or cinnamon buns. The coffeecake I loved because Mom always let me have the sugary crumbs in the bottom of the pan, after it was served. The best part of cinnamon buns? Licking the spoon after she’d spread on the icing, of course.

I watched. I scooped peanut butter cookies and made the fork marks on top. I poured muffin batter into the pan, spread butter on top of just-baked bread to keep the crust soft, and (haltingly) rolled out pie crust. And always, licked the beaters and bowl, learning to associate baking with yummy flavors and Mom time.

And gradually, I became a baker. No formal lessons; just osmosis, and the constant passing of wisdom from parent to child.

Now I bake every day. I’ve gone way beyond those initial cookies and breakfast sweets; now Mom reads this blog. And (she says), learns from me.

But I’d never be where I am today unless someone, long ago, took my hand and showed me the way. With patience, guidance, and love.

Thanks, Mom. I owe it all to you.

Oh – and if you want to re-create those Sunday cinnamon buns, I’ve worked up a recipe I think you’ll love: Now or Later Cinnamon Buns. We’ll make them together next time I visit, OK?

Happy Mother’s Day, to our mothers everywhere!

Readers, please share your family baking memories in the comments section below. We look forward to hearing from you.

[Ed. note: It’s late in the evening of Mother’s Day, and I’d like to thank each and every one of you for the wonderful stories you’ve posted in the comments section below. Funny, bittersweet heartwarming… And at the end of the day – particularly this special day – what it all boils down to is this: love is the answer.]

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!

comments

  1. Jean

    Hi,

    I have been looking for cinnamon pecan coffee cake recipe similar to the old Sara Lee Coffee Cake. The inside is buttery sweet soft bread like with a cinnamon pecan swirl throughout and a confectionery sugar drizzle. Most recipes are more cake like. I am not sure if the SAF gold would be what I would use. I have made sour cream coffee cakes, but that is not the texture I am looking for. I would be grateful for any suggestions you can give me. Thank you.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      With your given description, Jean, we’re thinking our Chocolate Almond Coffeecake might be a great place to start. You can, of course, eliminate the almond and chocolate filling and instead use pecans. The SAF Gold yeast would be perfect in this. Happy baking! Annabelle@KAF

  2. sports jerseys

    I really enjoyed this post, especially the “examples in this post” portion which made it really easy for me to SEE what you were talking about without even having to leave the article. Thanks

    Reply
  3. KimberlyD

    My dear sweet Mom, god rest her soul (passed away in 2002), I remember as a child, she would send me and my 3 older brother to go pick apples from the farmer next door (he let us) and she would make apple dumplings, or apple crisp or pie, or just hollow out the middle stuff with cinnomon and brown sugar and bake them like that. We use to make cookies together. She taught me how to make a whole Thanksgiving dinner. I cooked one when I was 16 yrs old, and no one died…LOL!

    Reply

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