Ah to sing the song of you, my matron mighty!
My sacred one, my mother.
—from “Delicate Cluster” by Walt Whitman
Ah to sing the song of you, my matron mighty!
My sacred one, my mother.
—from “Delicate Cluster” by Walt Whitman
By Barbara Beltrami
The five classic sauces that are often called the Mother Sauces of French cuisine are béchamel, velouté, espagnole, hollandaise and tomate. From them are derived many other sauces that we’ve all most likely tasted at one time or another.
The béchamel is that creamy white sauce made from a roux of butter and flour with hot milk and with cheese added becomes a Mornay sauce. A velouté is another creamy white sauce made from meat or fish stock, cream and egg yolks. That brings us to hollandaise, a blend of egg yolks, butter and lemon juice or vinegar. A sauce espagnole rarely used on its own but often as a base for other sauces is a rich emulsion of a dark brown roux, browned bones and meat, vegetables, brown sugar and various seasonings. And finally is the one we’re probably most familiar with, sauce tomate, which consists of pork, a roux, herbs and seasonings and of course, tomatoes.
Why am I telling you all this? Because there’s nothing like a savory classic sauce to jazz up an otherwise ordinary dish. And because for Mother’s Day and every day, Mom deserves something jazzy and elegant crowned by one of the Five Mother Sauces. Fancy names aside, these pillars of French cuisine aren’t famous and popular for nothing. Here are three of those five sauces for you to try.
YIELD: Makes about 2 to 2 1/4 cups
2 cups milk
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons flour
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, scald the milk, then put over very low heat to keep it hot. In another medium saucepan melt butter over low heat and when it is bubbling, whisk in flour, nutmeg and salt and pepper and cook 3 to 4 minutes until golden. Whisking constantly, pour in milk slowly but steadily and keep whisking and stirring until sauce is thickened, about 10 minutes. Use for creamed veggies, mac and cheese, lasagna, moussaka or anything that would taste better with a cream sauce.
For variation: Whisk in 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese to make a Mornay sauce.
YIELD: Makes about 2/3 cup
8 ounces unsalted butter
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon water
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice or to taste
Set a large saucepan with a few inches of water on low heat to simmer. Place butter in a glass measuring cup and set in simmering water until butter is melted, but don’t let water come to top or get inside cup. Carefully skim white residue off top, reserve clear yellow liquid and discard white on bottom of cup. In a small saucepan, using a wire whisk, vigorously beat egg yolks with a tablespoon of water. Place saucepan in a larger saucepan of simmering water, beating constantly, and, continuing to beat constantly, add clear yellow liquid from butter. Keep over simmering water and continue to beat until mixture thickens and has the consistency of a thick liquid. Stir in salt and pepper and lemon juice; combine thoroughly and serve immediately over poached eggs, steamed asparagus, cooked lobster pieces or crabmeat or poached salmon
YIELD: Makes about 2 cups
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons flour
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 cups hot chicken broth
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in flour, salt and pepper and cook, stirring constantly, two minutes. Whisk in chicken broth, half a cup at a time, until smooth. Bring mixture to a low boil, reduce heat to low and cook, stirring frequently, about 15 minutes, until thick and smooth. Serve over fish, shellfish, or poultry with a delicate green salad.
Kyle Barr – Deborah Barr
She was working even when she wasn’t. After coming home from her job as a secretary for an attorney in Riverhead, my mom would fret about what my family was going to eat for dinner. It didn’t matter if most of the people left in the house were self-sufficient, Mom was going to make something for everyone, she was going to vacuum the floor, she was going to start the laundry, and by 10 p.m. she would be snoring on the couch, as if her batteries were depleted and no amount of coaxing would get her to restart without a recharge.
I think I’ve got my sensibilities toward work from you, for either good or ill. By your example, I finish what I start, even in times like this. I don’t do things halfway, because each thing should be treated with care.
That is, at work, at least. I know you would still be ashamed to see the way I keep my home.
Courtney and Caroline Biondo – Johness Kuisel
To us, Johness is Mom and Granny.
My mom is the driving force not only of my life, but for 44 years has been the heart and soul of Times Beacon Record newspapers. She is the epitome of class. She teaches me to always be my very best and always put forth my very best effort, more importantly as a mother myself.
Our Granny is the one to watch college football with on Saturdays, the NFL on Sundays and basketball during the week. Granny is always up for a trip to the beach to lounge in the sun and collect shells. Granny likes to sit with a cat in her lap after a long day and sip a Bloody Mary. Granny teaches us to never give up, because you’re often closest to succeeding when you want to forfeit. She teaches us to explore through travel and to always be eager to learn new things.
Daniel Dunaief – Leah Dunaief
When I was young, my mother started these papers. When I called her at work, Mrs. Kuisel answered, much as she does now. “Can I speak to my mom?” I asked. Mrs. Kuisel asked me who my mother was because so many mothers worked at the papers. The question is one I’m happy to answer every day. I’m proud to say that who I am and who my brothers are begins with being numbers 1, 2 and 3 sons of Leah Dunaief. Sure, my younger brother and I might argue about the order of importance, but we are all grateful to have learned numerous important lessons, including never to wear jeans in the ocean or to use apple juice to clean our faces, from a woman we’re fortunate to call mom. I wish her and all the other moms dealing with the ever-fluid new normal a happy Mother’s Day.
Rita J. Egan – Rita M. Egan
When I was a kid in Queens, more mothers were beginning to go to work full time, outside of the home. My mother was no different. At first, she worked as a cashier at Alexander’s Department Store, but she knew she needed to make more money, and she soon took a night class to brush up on her typing and shorthand. After a few different jobs, she eventually found herself working for Con Edison in its transportation department. She lived in Queens when she first began working there but eventually moved out to Smithtown. She would be up before the sun, even leaving before sunrise to catch the train, and while she soon became part of a carpool, the more convenient ride didn’t stop the early morning rush to be at the office by 7 a.m. I may not have inherited my mother’s knack for getting up before the crack of dawn, but I would like to think I take after her when it comes to getting up every morning and doing whatever it is that needs to be done, even when times are rough.
While Mother’s Day may be celebrated a little bit differently this year, here’s hoping we can all find some way to celebrate all the special women in our lives.
By Leah S. Dunaief
“When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d” is a poem written by the great Walt Whitman as an elegy for the great Abe Lincoln, who died around this time in May of 1865. For me, it too honors my mother, whom I also regard as great, as I guess we all do our mothers, if in a more personal context. I think of my mother whenever lilacs bloom because she loved the flower, with its heart-shaped leaves and its perfume fragrance, and because she died right around Mother’s Day when, to me also in her honor, lilacs bloom.
My mother grew up in the earliest years of the 20th century in Corona, a then-countrified section of Queens in New York City. She told us that on her way to elementary school, she sometimes had to wait for the cows in front of her to finish crossing the road, which is certainly a different picture than what I saw of the neighborhood when I was shown the house in which she and her siblings, parents and maiden aunt lived. (That last is an expression from a century ago.) She also lovingly described the backyard as “completely filled with lilac bushes whose scent filled the entire block.”
My mother was the bridge for her parents and older siblings between the Ukraine, from which they emigrated, speaking not a word of English, and America, the repository of their dreams. She was probably 4 years old when they arrived and moved into the house on Corona Avenue, and she was sent off to school where she learned the language and brought it home, along with the ways of the new country. That she was bright must have been apparent to the teachers because she was skipped grades twice during those early years and graduated from junior high or middle school when she was 11. Although she yearned to go on to high school and college, her father had suffered a debilitating stroke, and she, along with her older brother and sister, were obligated to work and support the family of nine. She won a scholarship to what was then called a “business school,” where she learned in record time to be a credentialed bookkeeper and was hired as such by a man named Mr. Mosler, a member of the well-known family that made Mosler Safes and Vaults.
My mother worked all her life, arranging her work hours somehow around the responsibilities of caring for my father and three children. She was well ahead of her time, of course, as a “businesswoman,” but apparently neither she nor my father thought it odd that she should have a work life outside the home. It was apparent to me at an early age that she was different from the mothers of my friends. She didn’t bake cakes or cookies, was a terrible cook — except during holidays when she focused on preparing delicious meals — didn’t knit and didn’t seem interested in stylish clothes. Indeed, it would have been strange had she been restricted to the home for all her adult life since she was both worldly and had a manner that I would today call “commanding,” despite her short stature. She was occasionally asked if she were a lawyer.
For all of that veneer, my mother was generous, warm and affectionate with all of us, had a great laugh, had a close and supportive relationship with my father, and together they provided a safe and nurturing home in which we were raised.
My mother reaches the level akin to sainthood, in my opinion, because of the way she welcomed and raised my younger sister, who had Down syndrome. Despite the prevailing attitudes then, in 1942 when my sister was born, of stigma and institutionalization, my mother insisted that my sister had a right to a “normal” life within the family and to learn and grow to the fullest extent of her capability.
Again, my mother was way ahead of her time.
By Diane Caudullo
When asked, most would express their admiration for their own mom. I am no different.
Forty-five years after kindergarten, my answers are still the same. My mom, Patricia, is the best person in the world. I love her this much — insert crayon drawing of stick-figure me with my arms stretched out wide. A large red heart placed properly on my mini-me’s chest. Now in my fifties, and with young adult children of my own, my admiration continues to grow even deeper for my mom, an appreciation which seems to regularly confuse my mother as to why I feel this way about her.
My mother, now 78, simply has no idea of how smart and how strong she is and always has been. She comments more often than she should, how she believes she didn’t really teach us much, my brother and sister and me. I couldn’t disagree more.
My mother’s life has been a series of struggles, big and small; disappointments of similar, varying degrees; and so many accomplishments and successes that surprisingly look like everyday life. What she does not seem to appreciate is, she has been and still is a living lesson, a constant example of how to live this life right.
I watched as she cared for everyone in addition to her own. Her sacrifices were endless and seemingly without much reciprocation. If you were down, she was there. If she was down, she was down alone. I guess in all fairness, she never asked, she never let on. In some of her darkest days, she made decisions that were right for her family but wrong for her. I watched as she forgave those who wronged her, really wronged her. And she really forgave. She has taught quietly, by example, over a lifetime.
Other life lessons learned were that hard work and smart planning got you where you wanted to be; patience really is a virtue; slow and steady wins the race, but more importantly, there wasn’t really a race to win; and our treatment of others was your most important trait.
Mom was also the epitome of a “perfect housewife.” She ran the household like a boss. Dinner was on the table each night; the bills were paid, the house was clean and laundry and homework were done. And she did it all with love. It was her pleasure.
Full disclosure, I did not inherit her homemaking skills. Maybe it’s one of those genes that skips a generation. Let’s just say my talents lie elsewhere. But she watched as I raised my children to become loving and caring young adults. She sees me care for my family, immediate and extended, especially when problems arise. I volunteer in my community. I feel called to lift others up and make a positive impact in the world around me.
Nowadays, my mother looks at me in awe of my strengths and gifts. Funny how she doesn’t see the resemblance.
Diane Caudullo is the president of the Centereach Civic Association and a board member of the Middle Country Chamber of Commerce.
By Lyla Gleason
I’m turning into my mom, and that’s a good thing.
With nearly a decade of motherhood under my belt, it still surprises me that I sometimes feel like a newbie. I mean, motherhood is a large part instinct, a bit of luck and a whole lot of on-the-job experience, but without employer feedback and promotions, it can be tough to know how you’re doing. Raising a small human is definitely challenging, but luckily for me, I have the support of friends and family who cheer me on at every turn.
Now that the terrible toddler years have long passed, and the dramatic tween time is upon me, I find myself thinking more and more about my school years, and I’m seeing my mom in a new light. How did she manage two kids when I am exhausted with just one? How could she pack our lunches every day without the slightest hint of annoyance? How could she cook every night? Every night! OMG!
I’m sure this is true of every generation, but I’ve developed a newfound appreciation for my mom, Myra Naseem, and all that she managed to juggle as I was growing up. As a single mom raising two girls in the 1970s and ʼ80s, the odds were definitely stacked against her, but I had no idea. Our lives were full of kid-focused activities and outings, baked treats and visits with friends and family near and far.
When my mom tired of her home economics teaching job and decided to start her own catering business out of our kitchen, my sister, Kaneez, and I got to watch her leadership skills develop right before our eyes. She treated her employees as family and spent so much time explaining the right way to do things, just as she had with us. She was still teaching, explaining to “hold it from the bottom,” but in a mom-boss way.
As my sister and I headed off to college, my mother’s catering business Elegant Eating moved into a Stony Brook storefront, and my mom and her business partner Neil were well on their way to becoming known throughout Suffolk County. Business flourished, parties grew larger, and they moved into a bigger space with room for cooking classes and luncheons in Smithtown. Elegant Eating has catered hundreds of parties for the local community, celebrities and politicians, and they have managed to remain on top of the trends in this challenging business.
Over the past thirty years, I’ve watched my mom successfully raise her business and enjoy her newest job as Mama Myra, grandmother to Giselle. I am happy for her accomplishments, but best of all, I’m happy that I can now appreciate all her mom-boss tools that I’ve inherited.
I may not see the physical resemblance everyone else notices, but I do see our similarities more and more, and I’m cool with that. My mom’s patience, flexibility, understanding, ability to put others first and determination have helped me become the person I am today, and hopefully, I’ll be able to pass these qualities along to my daughter.
Lyla Gleason is the founder of the blog Globetrotting Mommy.
By Barbara Beltrami
Have you noticed how moms are always eating salads? They have them for lunch, they order them in restaurants, they serve them with a lot of things they cook and they even try to get you to eat more of them. Yep! Moms love salads. So how about preparing a super-duper salad or two for her on Mother’s Day? Here are some that she’ll love — for breakfast, lunch or dinner. So take your pick … or do all three. And if you join her in eating them, she’ll be oh, so happy.
Tropical Fruit Salad with Coconut Yogurt
YIELD: Makes 6 to 8 servings.
½ pineapple, peeled and diced
1 mango, peeled and diced
½ ripe cantaloupe, peeled, seeded and diced
¼ ripe honeydew, peeled, seeded and diced
2 kiwis, peeled and diced
1 cup raspberries, washed and dried
1 cup blackberries, washed and dried
1 cup blueberries, washed and dried
¼ cup honey
Zest and juice of one orange
1 pint coconut yogurt
1 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted (optional)
In a large bowl, combine the pineapple, mango, cantaloupe, honeydew, kiwis and berries. In a medium bowl, whisk together the honey, orange zest and juice and yogurt. Cover and refrigerate both mixtures until 30 minutes before serving. Do not prepare more than 4 hours ahead of time, though. Spoon fruit onto fancy dish or in large wine glasses; top with yogurt mixture, then almonds if desired. Serve with muffins or biscotti.
Lobster-Stuffed Tomato with Shrimp and Israeli Couscous
YIELD: Makes 4 servings.
4 large ripe tomatoes
2 cups cooked Israeli couscous
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
3 cups lobster meat, diced
¾ cup mayonnaise
1 cup finely chopped celery
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
8 leaves bibb lettuce
8 cooked jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
Slice enough off the top of each tomato to make a wide opening. With a serrated or sharp spoon, scoop out the tomato pulp. Mince flesh from tomato tops and combine with pulp. In a medium bowl combine with couscous, olive oil and salt and pepper; set aside. In a large bowl combine the lobster, mayonnaise, celery, lemon juice, dill and salt and pepper. Carefully scoop lobster mixture into hollowed-out tomatoes. Place lettuce leaves, curved side down, on four plates. On one lettuce leaf place the lobster-filled tomato; on the other leaf place a scoop of the couscous mixture. Top each scoop with a shrimp. Cover and refrigerate until 20 minutes before ready to serve. Can be prepared up to 4 hours ahead of time. Serve chilled with buttered multigrain toast cut into triangles.
Little Chef’s Salad
YIELD: Makes 4 servings.
1½ heads bibb, romaine, red or green leaf lettuce, washed, dried and chopped
1/3 pound Swiss or Jarlsberg cheese, cut into very thin strips
1/3 pound grilled chicken breast, cut into very thin strips
1/3 pound baked ham, cut into very thin strips
4 hard-boiled eggs, shelled and quartered or sliced
1 ripe avocado, peeled, sliced and doused with freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 green bell pepper, washed, seeded and cut into very thin strips
16 heirloom cherry tomatoes, halved
½English cucumber, finely diced
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 cup salad dressing or to taste
Arrange lettuce on four plates or one large platter. Lay cheese, chicken and ham in evenly spaced-apart diagonal stripes across lettuce. In between stripes lay egg and avocado and pepper and tomatoes; sprinkle cucumber over top. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 4 hours. Season with salt and pepper; drizzle with salad dressing. Serve chilled with crusty rolls and butter.
Mother’s Day is just around the corner. It’s a time to celebrate the most important people in our lives, the women who made us who we are. As is tradition, the editorial staff at TBR News Media has written short letters so that our moms know we are thinking of them.
Kyle Barr — editor
My mom is scared of being apart from me. She is sad she will leave her house behind, the one she helped raise me in for over 20 years.
Like many, they’re leaving because of Long Island’s high property taxes, and without the SALT deduction, it’s proved infeasible to remain. But still, to her, the house was the lodestone of her life for so many years. She decorated it with attention to detail, even dragging me to the attic to take down decorations for every New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Fourth of July and on and on until Christmas.
Now she is leaving her temple behind, and I feel for her. She can’t bring everything. Things will have to be sold or given away, and as she struggles with a bad back, picking out the leaves from the bushes in the front yard (all despite my pleas to let me do it instead). I see the frown set into her face like a jagged crack in the pavement.
Feel better, Mom. You may be away from me, but — hopefully — you won’t find a way from my words.
Rita J. Egan — editor
Mother’s Day brings with it a slew of memories. My mother and I have been through the best of times and the worst of times together, and that’s OK, because we are still here to tell our stories. There are the not so fun times to remember, such as walking around a Queens apartment wrapped in blankets to keep warm in the winter months because the landlady was too cheap to turn up the heat and tears shed over boys who didn’t deserve them during my younger years. But also, there are the memorable vacations, celebrating milestones and catching the concerts of both of our favorite celebrities from Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons to New Kids on the Block. So cheers to memories of all types and happy Mother’s Day, Mom.
David Luces — reporter
She’s been there all my life. Someone I can always count on. She’s my role model. She sacrificed so much over the years for my brother and me so we could go to college, and it’s something I am grateful for every day. I don’t say it enough but thank you, Mom, for everything you do. I know I could be a pain when I was younger, but I’m thankful for the lessons you’ve taught me. As I’ve gotten older and matured, I’ve realized the importance of your messages. So, on this Mother’s Day, I just wanted to give my appreciation to the greatest mom and friend a kid could ask for.
Lucky me, our Mother’s Day celebration this year included a trip into New York City to see “My Fair Lady.” Now this show, which I first saw on Broadway in 1956 just after it was launched, was a trip down memory lane for me. It was also a bellwether for how much our culture has changed. At the time of its premiere 62 years ago, the play was the “Hamilton” of its time, creating the adulation and frenzied response for tickets that we are familiar with today.
“My Fair Lady” was a different sort of musical for its many-layered themes and clever, witty lyrics. It stood apart from the golden era of Rodgers and Hammerstein marvels like “South Pacific” and “Oklahoma!” that had preceded it. This wasn’t in the mold of a romantic musical but rather one about personal transformation and English class rigidity.
The play, by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe, had as its inspiration from the ancient world, Ovid’s “Metamorphoses,” and more recently George Bernard Shaw’s “Pygmalion.” This is the story of a sculptor, talented but alone, who carves a beautiful woman out of stone and then falls in love with her. He prays to Venus to bring her to life, and the goddess of love hears him. The statue becomes flesh and blood beneath his hands, and what comes next is the essence of the story.
In the Lerner and Loewe iteration, two high society phoneticians named Henry Higgins and retired army Col. Hugh Pickering make a bet over whether the way English people speak — their accents — lock them into their class and station for their entire lives. Higgins feels that if he can teach a low-born pupil to speak the King’s English, he can change that person’s life. Now we are in the time of Edwardian England, and the person who overhears the conversation and offers herself up for self-improvement is Eliza Doolittle. A Cockney flower girl in Piccadilly Circus, she is both terrified of what is to come and palpably ambitious, insisting that while she is a “good girl,” not looking for anything carnal, she desperately wants to learn.
So Higgins takes her into his elegant home and professorial life and works intensely with her in his laboratory for months while Pickering looks on and offers help wherever he is needed — after being assured by Higgins that there will not be any hanky-panky involved. Higgins vehemently asserts to Pickering that he is not interested in emotional relationships. The experiment between the high-born cerebral bachelor and the “guttersnipe” pupil thus begins. Will Higgins succeed and win the bet?
We know Eliza will succeed, even as we watch her anguished attempts to learn what Higgins is working so hard to teach. There are testing moments for her progress and teaching opportunities that include a riotously funny visit on opening day to Ascot Racecourse. Fun is poked unmercifully at the pretensions of the upper classes.
Finally, the big test arrives, a ball where Eliza is going to be introduced to and judged by those swells
assembled. She, of course, pulls it off and is thought to be of Hungarian royal blood. But is she congratulated? Well, you have to go see the play. I’m not about to spoil the ending for those unfamiliar with the plot.
But her triumph is not the point. Her future is. What is to become of this person who has transcended her class, with its freedoms, grime and penury notwithstanding, and is now locked into the bourgeois rules for women in an ossified society? Is she to become Higgins’ mistress? And what about him? She has now awakened emotions in him that he has long walled off from his daily life. Will he ask her to marry him? He, too, has been transformed.
The answer is that 1956 was quite different to 2018. Can you guess?
Thanks to all the children who entered Times Beacon Record News Media’s 2018 Mother’s Day Contest. Congratulations to Alexa and Caroline D’Andrea of Shoreham and Phoebe Powers of Northport for being this year’s winners and receiving a family four-pack of movie tickets to the AMC Loews Stony Brook 17. Special thanks to AMC Loews for being this year’s sponsor. Happy Mother’s Day!
Makes every day special
Treats me kindly
Helps me when I’m hurt
Everything is more fun with her
Really sweet and loving
— By Phoebe Powers, age 7
My mother is marvelous.
Opposite of mean!
The best mom ever!
Hugs me a lot!
Runs with me!
— By Alexa D’Andrea, age 7
My mom is so AWESOME because she does everything for me.
Outstanding, my mom is outstanding because she is 1 in 1,000,000.
The best mom ever, my mom is the best mom ever because she never says no!
Happy, my mom is always happy because she is a postive person.
Excellent, my mom is excellent because she doesn’t yell and is always nice.
Really nice, my mom is really nice because she listens to what ever I want to say to her.
— By Caroline D’Andrea, age 10