FOOD: Every day should be ‘Mother’s Day’ |

FOOD: Every day should be ‘Mother’s Day’

Lee Mathis
Free Press Food Columnist
Lee Mathis
Staff Photo |

Probably the only thing I do not like about Mother’s Day is that it almost lends its name to a thought that mom’s only get that one special day of recognition. In my case, the last thing my mom would have wanted was recognition.

Mom passed last June and as such this will be the first Mother’s Day without her. It will be strange and hard, but I choose to think back and remember all that she did, not just for me and my sister, but for pretty much everyone she was around, both personally and in her careers.

As many of you may have already guessed, I was not the easiest youngster growing up and for those of you who know me, stop laughing!

But mom was always there. Whether it was driving me to Scouts or sports, whether it was picking me up when I was down or giving me that look when I thought I was “all that,” Mom was always there.

And in her own way, she helped me on my culinary adventures, though it took me 30-some years to realize how much I loved to cook and get back on that track. Whether it was showing me how to make Sizzle Burgers (basically hamburgers fried in a little butter and Worcestershire sauce), to helping dad in our back room, to the creamed chipped beef on toast that she always made for their New Year’s Day parties, to the sauerbraten that she made on the holidays, Mom was always there. And even while mom and dad tended to go to the better restaurants in the area, mom was just as happy with a cheesesteak or a breakfast at a small local place. Mom was great and we miss her!

So, while I still think that Mother’s Day should be almost a daily event, if you are lucky enough to still have your Mom around, I hope you sent her a card, sent her some flowers, called her or if she is in the area, take her out to brunch, something/everything to let her know…. Thanks, Mom!


This week I’m featuring the Food Network, which has all kinds of recipes to help make Mother’s Day food! The Recipe of the Week is in memory of my mom: sauerbraten by Alton Brown!


2 cups water

1 cup cider vinegar

1 cup red wine vinegar

1 medium onion, chopped

1 large carrot, chopped

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt, additional for seasoning meat

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 bay leaves

6 whole cloves

12 juniper berries

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

1 (3 1/2 to 4-pound) bottom round

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/3 cup sugar

18 dark old-fashioned gingersnaps (about 5 ounces), crushed

1/2 cup seedless raisins, optional

In a large saucepan over high heat combine the water, cider vinegar, red wine vinegar, onion, carrot, salt, pepper, bay leaves, cloves, juniper and mustard seeds. Cover and bring this to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Pat the bottom round dry and rub with vegetable oil and salt on all sides. Heat a large saute pan over high heat; add the meat and brown on all sides, approximately 2 to 3 minutes per side.

When the marinade has cooled to a point where you can stick your finger in it and not be burned, place the meat in a non-reactive vessel and pour over the marinade. Place into the refrigerator for 3 days. If the meat is not completely submerged in the liquid, turn it over once a day.

After 3 days of marinating, preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Add the sugar to the meat and marinade, cover and place on the middle rack of the oven and cook until tender, approximately 4 hours.

Remove the meat from the vessel and keep warm. Strain the liquid to remove the solids. Return the liquid to the pan and place over medium-high heat. Whisk in the gingersnaps and cook until thickened, stirring occasionally. Strain the sauce through a fine mesh sieve to remove any lumps. Add the raisins if desired. Slice the meat and serve with the sauce. Served 4 to 6 servings.

Recipe courtesy Alton Brown, 2005

Lee is the founder and owner of Decadence Gourmet Cheesecakes and Catering. He can be reached via email at, on the web at, or by calling 970-256-4688. Also, find him on the web by searching Facebook, Pinterest or by visiting Twitter (@decadenceGJ).

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