In Praise of MA

Lemon Polenta Cake, photo:

I am dreaming of being with my mother today. We would sit amongst the “darling buds of May” in her garden, the one designed and created by my sister Julia, who would be there, too, with her children. My extraordinary 96-year-old grandmother, the matriarch of our large, vibrant family, “Nana the Great” to all our children, would also sit with us, commenting on the vibrant color of a prairie cone flower perhaps, or the unique blossom of a native species that is my sister’s specialty and my mother’s pride.

With my cousin Marc, “Nana the Great” and my mother

We would tell my mother what a great mother, friend, example, inspiration she has been and continues to be. How soothing her comforting wisdom is even now. She’d say “No, no, it is you children who have given me so much…” because that is the way she is. But we’d keep trying to let her know with our words, our hand-holding, our little gifts, our kitchen labor, our watchful presence, that she has meant everything to us. If we tried to enumerate the details of that everything, we’d get teary, so we stick to the generals and deeply breathe in the joy of being together after too long apart.

Expecting her fifth child

Since my mother, and my Aunt, were artists and great cooks, I consider at length just what I’d prepare for Mother’s Day. I’d want it to delight her as well as express the depth of gratitude I feel, but it needs to be simple so that we are free to enjoy our time together, unconstrained by cooking complexities.

Millet Muffins, photo by vsimon

Britta from Suzie’s Farm gave me a great idea this week: dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free Millet Muffins for Mother’s Day Breakfast. I’d add a dash of cardamom to the batter, and serve them hot from the oven with a warm blackberry preserve.

Nikki’s Healthy Cookies, photo:

For a healthy and heavenly snack, “Nikki’s butter-less, flour-less, egg-less, and potentially sugar-less Cookies” at Heidi Swanson’s 101 look scrumptious. No doubt the children would love them, and they would be great in the afternoon with a cup of Earl Grey.

My mother visited me when I lived in Florence, Italy and numerous times while I was in London, so I like the idea of the Lemon Polenta Cake, pictured up top. Coming from Nigella Lawson, it is a twist on British and Italian standards, so would elicit many sweet memories. It, too, is gluten-free and with Earth Balance instead of butter, could also be dairy-free.

David Lebovitz’ French Jam Tart

Or, since my mother is so healthy, we could go all out. Of course, she is absolutely worth it, so maybe I’d splurge and make a French Jam Tart, remembering the days we walked all over Paris trying to find one Museum that was open and finally surrendered for warm pastry and tea. We found then that the treasure of Paris is really there: in the cafes and patisseries, on the streets, and in the parks. “In the everyday; just like life,” we might have said.


Every day is Mother’s Day on this Blog, since it is a site entirely devoted to celebrating the wise and loving gifts of Mother Earth. But on this one day of the year, our official Mother’s Day, I celebrate my own mother whose mothering simply astounds me.


Thank you, Mom, for your endless and selfless gifts! I am so blessed to have your love, devotion, wisdom, forgiveness and support. You, and the brother and sisters you gave me, sustain and encourage my life in countless ways. I send you waves and waves of love today and every day.

Happy Mother’s Day!


Amy & Kathy Eldon

On this important day, I would like to invite you to watch a short video on Extraordinary Moms, hosted by Julia Roberts and created by my extraordinary friends Amy & Kathy Eldon, who, like my mother and your mother, are themselves extraordinary mothers. For every 20 times this XO MOMS Video is viewed, Humanity International will provide a mosquito net to a mother, and family in need, in Ghana to prevent Malaria.


15 thoughts on “In Praise of MA

  1. Laura,

    I am so touched and moved by this. How very beautiful! Thank you for the love in your words and cooking. It’s truly special.


  2. Laura,
    Not only does you writings and lessons give deep meaning to wholeness and loveliness, your words inspire and ignite love~
    Shanti Om~

    1. Thank you, Mae Rae! Happy Mother’s day to you – a phenomenal woman and mother yourself!

  3. Wow – this is gorgeous, as was your tribute to your father. Both of your parents are so beautiful. I see where you get it from. Thank you for the delicious recipes. My sons are big fans of millet muffins and I am going to try the cardamom twist!

    Happy Mother’s Day to you too! Jai Ma!


    1. Thank you, Pamela. The sacrifice military families make never fails to astound me. You have so much to teach and share, Pamela, in regards to the life of love, generosity, service. I salute you and encourage you on your path of the heart.

  4. I’m new to your blog referred to me by dear Kimball Pier! I love the way you articulate the purity of a soulful, natural, fulfilling, nutritious existence!

    1. Hello Holly and Welcome ~ I love the way you articulate, too. Saw your website and am enticed by the photograph of an elegant, outdoor dinner in the embrace of the Sierras. Hope to one day enjoy a delightful, delicious meal by your Heychef masters. What a complete celebration of nature it looks to be!

  5. My dear Laura
    I remember when I first met your mother after one of your yoga classes and then again at your Om home and then when she welcomed me at her own home in Chicago. Such a beautiful loving sweet ma! I saw how she passed on so many attributes to you as you reflect her every day- Jai ma!
    I am totally in love with the idea of lemon polenta cake and also the image of the sweet cafes in Paris- just lovely imagery and a delight to the senses.

    1. I love you, Dawna. We are so together, despite geo distance.

      Chloe is lucky to have such a wonderful mother in you, and I really looking forward to meeting her.

      Happy Mother’s Day, Dawna-Ma!

  6. Really enjoy reading your posts and enjoy classes at Ginseng also. I made Nikki’s Healthy Cookies yesterday. I knew I had to use those ripe bananas sitting on my counter and then was reading your blog! Wow! I have been trying to cut processed foods out of my diet for quite awhile, but still have a sweet tooth. The family likes the cookies, they are a soft cookie. I followed the recipe and even ground my own almonds. The only issue I had was trying to get them to stay together. This recipe will be a keeper in our house.

  7. You, your mom, your family, your bounty are all so beautiful, Laura. I can smell the love wafting from her kitchen. Thank you for this ode to your mom ~ just like the salute to your dad, I better understand from where such a graceful woman as you is born! Thank you, too, for introducing me to the Creative Visions Foundation. Love this!

    1. Thank you, Rebecca. I have always felt you knew them already. Funny that. I guess you live in that same part of my heart, where we all ramble about our separate lives together.

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