Posted: May 10, 2019
If you’re thinking about going out for Mother’s Day brunch on Sunday, gathering the siblings, in-laws and their kids to make the special mom feel special, you must do something first.
You must plan. Otherwise, Mother’s Day brunch will be a disaster.
And as a veteran of many such brunches, and as an American of Greek descent whose DNA affords him an insider’s perspective on the ins and outs of brunches and “relaxed family dining,” I have simple rules you should follow.
Everything will be perfection, don’t worry.
Before you gather your wife and kids in the car, with everyone properly dressed in their Sunday best, and with Mother’s Day flowers in hand, have them stand out on the driveway to take pictures.
While the kids are preoccupied with the only things they truly love — their phones — walk out on your lawn. They won’t notice you.
Now cut a big chunk of sod. Put it next to your lips.
And eat it.
Now feed some sod to your kids and more sod to your wife, since this is Mother’s Day for her, too, and to your mom, since, naturally, she’s your mom. Whether they like it or not.
Rush everyone back inside to brush their teeth. You can’t have gloppy eggs Benedict or “picked over” smoked salmon or bad steam table potatoes if you have sod dirt on your lips. Wipe that sod off. Rinse. Repeat.
And later, while at the crowded restaurant, be calm.
Don’t get upset (as usual) when all the in-laws show up late (as usual) and cop an attitude because you haven’t been seated yet.
Just remain calm as the extended family is jammed into the waiting area, also known as Mother’s Day Purgatory. I prefer the bar.
But that’s crowded too. Everyone sweats, the kids are hungry, and they’re fidgety. And a few announce they hate everything, and Grandma says, “Will you please have them put down those phones?!” and the kids stare at you.
Everyone hates you now. So just sit quietly. And when you’re told that it will take 45 minutes to an hour to be seated — even though you had reservations — don’t cry.
Merely pass out some extra sod for everyone to enjoy. Chew it. Chew it good. Use the back teeth, the molars, and chew like a mighty herbivore in a herd of mighty critters.
Notice your wife sitting there, in Mother’s Day Purgatory, whispering to herself, “Happy (bleeping) Mother’s Day,” or your mom; and then notice your sisters-in-law mouthing the same dang thing.
Happy bleeping Mother’s Day.
Eat some more sod, and say loudly so all may hear: “Moooooo!”
Because you’re cattle. Because you’re livestock. And you know it.
And if you’re going out for brunch on Mother’s Day, you’re nothing but livestock herded halfway to hell. How long will you wait for your table?
How long would it take to count all the grains of sand in all the beaches in the world?
“Oh, if only I had the wits to listen when John Kass warned me about Mother’s Day,” you might say, waiting to pay around $200 per person for the Mother’s Day brunch at the Peninsula hotel.
Moo cow. Moo.
You herded yourselves quite willingly, because you read something in the paper or on a website on “20 Great Places for Mother’s Day Brunch!!!”
But what will that get you? Nothing. It won’t even get you the Dutch Baby Apple Pancake.
No one in the restaurant business would go to Mother’s Day brunch for the thick, gloppy hollandaise and the cold toast and eggs as dry as your grandfather’s scalp.
Don’t go out for Mother’s Day. Are you crazy?
Go out the day before or days and days after and say it’s a Mother’s Day brunch. Your mom or wife will feel better.
I’m not going out. Because I hate being herded like cattle, in politics or food.
And the best chef in Chicago, Michelin star winner Carrie Nahabedian of Brindille (my favorite restaurant) isn’t going out on Mother’s Day either.
At Brindille, she’s having a Mother’s Day tea on Saturday. But it’s sold out. Sorry.
So book another tea on another date. If you haven’t the exquisite French-influenced desserts crafted by Brindille’s master pastry chef Craig Harzewski, you simply don’t know what you’re missing. Craig is a genius, and he’s from Buffalo.
Nahabedian’s family thought about going out Sunday morning. Her mom is 90.
“But then I thought, ‘Oh, no, wait a minute,’ I better cook for the family at home,” she said. “I just cooked two weeks ago for them at Easter, so what the heck?”
My easy brunch-at-home trick is to get a good coffeecake and serve killer Bloody Marys, but not from a mix. Make them from scratch.
And while they’re drinking, you make lunch:
Mother’s Day Roast Chicken and Potatoes ala Kasso. Don’t ask me for the recipe. I don’t have one. Just use the basic elements of all life: lemon, garlic, olive oil, pepper, salt, oregano.
Parboil the red potatoes, quarter, toss in the seasonings, in an aluminum pan. Put the pan on the bottom rack of the grill, with the live coals on either side.
On the top rack, set up chickens for, yes, Beer Can Chicken. Or go with roast lamb. The meat fat drips into the potatoes and bastes them.
It doesn’t taste like grass.
Give your wife some flowers, thank your mom for giving you life, watch some home movies when you and the kids were little. Laugh with each other. Enjoy each other.
And don’t forget:
Happy Mother’s Day.
By John Kass
May 10, 2019
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