Mother’s Day exists historically as an occasion to celebrate the women who deal with your shit day in and day out. Unfortunately, for most of our childhood, what this essentially meant was having to smile while receiving a heart-shaped card made of sugar paper, and watching your offspring do handstands for an hour in a “Mother’s Day handstand show.”
Mother’s Day also usually includes some sort of breakfast in exchange for all that unpaid labour. What this actually looks like: your mum shovelling down mouthfuls of cold beans and ketchup while proclaiming, “Mmmm. LOVELY, darling. Thank you so much!” when the appropriate response would be smashing the plate on the ground in disgust and demanding a Dishoom breakfast.
We asked people for the terrible meals they cooked their mums as kids.
Daisy Jones, managing editor, Noisey
I have a very distinct memory of making my mum "breakfast in bed" for Mother’s Day when I was seven. I put a few dollops of peanut butter on a place mat (not even a plate) and stuck breadsticks in them. I served it with a glass of orange juice. When she saw it, she just started properly cracking up and wouldn't stop for ages. I didn't understand why. She ate the breakfast though.
Meriel Armitage, chef and founder of Club Mexicana at The Spread Eagle
I used to turn the house into a hotel and make my mum check in at “reception” (my room). Once she’d checked in, I'd cook her breakfast, which was always baked bean hot pot: a mixture of beans, peppers, and tomatoes. Oh, and I used to wear a grey suit and gel my hair back so it was slick. I was the hotel manager!
Dhruv Mittal, chef and founder of Lucknow 49
When I was about ten, I loved making cakes and used to spend weekends learning how to bake with our cleaner, Sheila. Once, she taught me how to make a Victoria sponge, and so on Mother's Day, I decided to make that for my mum. The only thing was that I somehow managed to add an extra “0” on every amount in the recipe for the buttercream, so after I made the cake, we had six boxes full left. I froze them away for safe-keeping.
Tshepo Mokoena, editor, Noisey
Not proud of this, but until I was in my early twenties, I didn’t know how to cook breakfast food beyond “scrambled eggs” and “last night’s pizza, but revived with some olive oil then put in the oven.” I blame growing up with someone employed to do housework while my mum did her thing as our home's primary breadwinner. So every year, for about eight years, poor Mum would be greeted with the same “surprise” Mother's Day meal: scrambled eggs on toast, a glass of juice, and one rose—all prepared/picked by my older sister and I. Years later, I’d learn she never liked her eggs as well-done as we’d make them. She never said a thing :’).
Manu Canales, executive chef of Kebab Queen
Trying to make an omelette for my mum on Mother's Day as a young kid, I mistakenly used sugar instead of salt, giving my Mum a sweet omelette, something in between a bad omelette and a bad dessert. To this day, I’m still convinced my older sister facilitated the bowl of sugar next to the eggs…
Judy Joo, chef and founder Jinjuu
My sister and I used to wake up ridiculously early, and get up to mischief in the kitchen before our parents woke up. I used to climb up the cabinets and pull down all kinds of things from the shelves. We decided it would be so great to make our mum peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for her special Mother’s Day breakfast. Out comes the addictive Jiffy Crunchy Peanut Butter, the rather gelatinous and exceedingly saccharin Welsh’s Grape Jelly, and of course, my much loved and versatile white Wonder Bread.
So, lesson one was realising that it is extremely challenging to spread thick crunchy peanut butter on fluffy pillowy white bread without ripping it apart into small pieces and it sticking to the knife with a vengeance. We basically went through the entire loaf of bread making a big mash of a mess—a wondrous peanut buttery sticky sculpture that we decided to bedazzle with gobs of purple jelly in Jackson Pollock style. I think we even left a couple of knives and forks lost in the masterpiece, symbolic of our hard work (and we reasoned that then Mom wouldn't have to use her hands to eat it.)
For some reason, we decided that our pet goldfish had to be on the tray too. And I specifically remember this: using my hands to grab our happy bright orange google-eyed goldfish and putting it in a teapot that went alongside her PB&J showpiece. I didn’t even put water in the teapot, I didn’t know I had to. I killed it for her, in some sick (or amazing) Mother’s Day breakfast sacrifice.
We brought it all upstairs and got a smile and then yelled at for killing the fish.
Happy Mother’s Day!