What would a progressive dinner look like in which each member of the Serious Eats staff brought their mother and prepared her favorite dish? It's a pretty thought, but my guess is that by the end of the meal, we'd be the only ones left tasting while the mothers would have banded together, formed a revolt, and headed off to the Popeye's to let us crazy kids do our weird food thing while they enjoyed chicken and biscuits.
I also didn't imagine that it would be a meal with an appetizer, a pasta course, a main course, AND SIX FREAKING DESSERTS. I guess our moms all have a sweet tooth. Or maybe I just work in an office full of people who foist their mom's off as an excuse to eat more dessert. For shame!
Here's what our progressive Mother's Day Menu would look like. You can click through the Slideshow above for nice big pictures, or just click through directly to the recipes here.
- Salad Course: Spring Vegetable Salad With A Poached Egg "My mother's far away (I can't remember the last time I got to spend Mother's Day with her) but if we could get together this weekend, I'd love to make her this delicious bright green spring salad. (Especially because I don't think she has a lot of experience with ramps.)" —Drinks Editor Maggie Hoffman
- Pasta Course: Penne Alla Norma "Mom is Italian, so I know I can always win her over with a good plate of pasta. She's also a huge fan of eggplant, so Pasta Alla Norma would be the perfect dish. To make it special, I'd substitute the mozzarella with some extra creamy burrata." —Sweets Editor Carrie Vasios
- Main Course: Easy Roast Chicken With Asparagus and Leeks "My mother still claims that she's never had a roast chicken as good as mine, and that means a lot, because in the Alt household praise-from-mom is not easy to come by. I roast or grill a whole chicken for her a few times a year. This one is extra special, with the addition of roasted asparagus and leeks." —Chief Creative Officer J. Kenji López-Alt
- Palate Cleanser: Lemon Verbena Granita "My mom LOVES lemon and, though she'll claim not to like/want sweets, I've watched her go to town (uncontrollably) on many a rich lemon dessert and regret it dearly later on. This refreshing Lemon Verbena Granita will to solve that problem—she can indulge as much as she wants and not feel too bad about it—and she loves verbena which makes this just perfect." —Cereal Bureau Chief Leandra Palermo
- Dessert Course #1: Chocolate Hazelnut Scones "My mother is the kind of woman who says she hates cake, but will surreptitiously take it wherever she can. She also considers herself a person of class and standards, and since I don't want to get written out of her will, I'll agree. (Just kidding; love ya, Mom.) If she could be embodied in a food, she'd be a scone: cake that isn't, classy but not overly so. She's also a madwoman at the sight of Nutella, so I think this chocolate hazelnut version would be just the thing for her." —Serious Eats New York Editor Max Falkowitz
- Dessert Course #2: Chocolate Souffle "My mom is a very healthy eater about 350 days of the year, but she's also very good at indulging when the occasion calls for it. And she's got a huge weakness for chocolate. So I'm thinking these chocolate soufflés would be perfect to cap off a Mother's Day meal. Though I've never made one, so I'd better get practicing..." —Senior Managing Editor Carey Jones
- Ice Cream Course: Vanilla Ice Cream Without The Machine "I don't think I've ever actually cooked for my mom on Mother's Day, but if I did, I know that dessert would be one of her favorites, a classic affogato. It's easy as pie (much easier, actually), but if you want to go all out, you could make the vanilla ice cream from scratch. And since Mother's Day is largely a brunch-centric holiday, I wouldn't have to worry about using decaf, which is really no fun at all." —Official Tech Wiz Ben Fishner
- Cookie Course: Espresso Buzz Cookies "My mom isn't a big coffee drinker but she loves her coffee-flavored desserts. Anytime we go out for ice cream, she orders whatever coffee flavor they have. Her nightcap of choice is Irish Coffee (which also might have
somethinga lot to do with her McCarthy heritage). So I've had my eye on Carrie's espresso buzz cookies to bake for Mum. That swipe of mocha buttercream between the two cookies sounds pretty amazing." —National Managing Editor Erin Zimmer
- Mignardises: Classic Shortbread "For better or worse, my mom and I love different desserts. Any time we eat out at a restaurant that serves tiramisu, she'll order it; I'll barely eat it. If I get ice cream, she won't touch it. (I know; who doesn't like ice cream? She doesn't have a problem with the flavor; she doesn't like eating super cold food.) Shortbread is on the list of "things my mom loves way more than I do." I'm sure she'd be happy if I made her some fat wedges of classic butter shortbread cookies." —A Hamburger Today Editor and Photographer At Large Robyn Lee
What are your Mother's Day recipe plans?
About the author: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is the Chief Creative Officer of Serious Eats where he likes to explore the science of home cooking in his weekly column The Food Lab. You can follow him at @thefoodlab on Twitter, or at The Food Lab on Facebook.