Tags Posts tagged with "Mother’s Day"

Mother’s Day

Photo by Gerard Romano


Gerard Romano of Port Jefferson Station took a photo of these pretty tulips just in time for Mother’s Day. He writes, ‘One of the things enjoyable to photograph are spring flowers after the long cold winter. After my daily walk I was surprised to find the nicest arrangement planted by our own landscapers.’

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Stock photo

On Sunday, May 9, millions of people will celebrate the special women in their lives, particularly the mothers, grandmothers and stepmothers who often tirelessly care for those they love. 

Created by Anna Jarvis in the early 20th century and designated an official United States holiday in 1914, Mother’s Day is a special day in many families. Apart from birthdays, primary female caregivers may not always get the recognition they deserve, nor be entitled to a day to kick back and relax and let others take the helm. Mother’s Day entitles them to something special.

Even though the way people have been living has changed during the COVID-19 pandemic, Mother’s Day may be the first holiday on the calendar when the world can finally regain some sense of normalcy. But caution should still prevail during Mother’s Day celebrations. Thankfully, there are plenty of creative ways to celebrate mothers and mother figures this year.

Get involved together. An especially meaningful way to honor a mother who is always giving her time and love is to become involved in a difference-making organization. Joint volunteerism is a great way to spend more time together working toward a worthy goal.

Dine truly “al fresco.” Outdoor dining has become commonplace, and even before it was a safety measure, enjoying a meal on a sun-soaked patio or overlooking a body of water was popular. If you’re worried about limited restaurant space or crowds, plan a picnic at a scenic location, such as a botanical garden or county park. Include Mom’s favorite foods and enjoy the fresh air and delicious foods together.

Create a photo slideshow. Digital photos have eclipsed prints in many people’s hearts. But too often digital photos never get seen after they’re initially taken. That can change when you compile a slideshow of favorite photos from childhood and even present-day photos that Mom is sure to appreciate. Use sentimental music or Mom’s favorite songs as the soundtrack, and include some inspirational quotations or personal voiceovers. This is one gift that can be shared in person or over group meeting apps.

Enjoy her hobbies and interests. Devote a day or more to trying Mom’s interests and hobbies, whether they include hitting the links, knitting, singing in the church choir, or digging in her garden. 

Send an edible gift. If you can’t be there to celebrate with Mom in person, have a special meal delivered to her door. Then enjoy the same foods with her via Google Meet, Facetime or Zoom. Don’t forget a tasty cocktail so you can toast the special woman in your life.

Mother’s Day celebrations can be unique, heartfelt and customized based on family needs.  

'Fried Green Tomatoes'

Celebrate Mother’s Day with the 30th anniversary screening of Fried Green Tomatoes. The film heads to select cinemas nationwide on Sunday, May 9 and Wednesday, May 12, courtesy of Fathom Events, Turner Classic Movies and Universal Pictures. 

Photo courtesy of Fathom Events

Academy Award® winners Kathy Bates and Jessica Tandy star with Mary Stuart Masterson and Mary-Louise Parker in the inspiring drama adapted from Fannie Flagg’s best-selling novel. When an unhappy housewife (Bates) befriends a lady in a nursing home (Tandy), she hears a remarkable tale of laughter, devotion and a special friendship that defies all obstacles in this heartwarming film from acclaimed director Jon Avnet. 

The screening includes exclusive insights from TCM host Ben Mankiewicz.

In our neck of the woods the film will be screened on May 9 at the AMC Stony Brook 17, 2196 Nesconset Highway, Stony Brook at 3 and 7 p.m. and Island 16 Cinema de Lux, 185 Morris Ave., Holtsville at 3 p.m. On May 12 the film will be screened at Island 16 Cinema de Lux and Farmingdale Multiplex Cinemas, 1001 Broadhollow Road, Farmingdale at 7 p.m. Running time is 2 hours and 40 minutes. Rated PG-13. To purchase tickets in advance, visit www.fathomevents.com.

Strawberry, Spinach, Orange and Almond Salad

By Barbara Beltrami

Moms love salads. They order them in restaurants and for take out and carry them to work in plastic containers. They probably try to get you to eat them. So why not make Mom a special salad or two or three for her special day? It’s a project that accommodates lots of chefs and sous chefs and is fun to prepare and assemble. Here are some out of the ordinary salads that are sure to bring a smile to Mom’s face and lots of hugs to the kitchen crew.

Tomato, Watermelon, Cucumber and Feta Salad

YIELD: Makes 4 to 6 servings


1/4 cup orange juice

Freshly squeezed juice of 2 lemons

1 shallot, minced

1 tablespoon simple syrup

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

2 ripe tomatoes, cut into 1” cubes

1/8 seedless watermelon, cut into 1” cubes

1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut into 1” cubes

3/4 pound cubed feta cheese

1/2 cup chopped fresh dill


In a small bowl whisk together orange juice, lemon juice, shallot, syrup, oil, salt and pepper till thoroughly emulsified. In a large salad bowl combine tomatoes, watermelon, cucumber, feta and dill; when ready to serve toss with dressing and serve with toasted pita bread.

Strawberry, Spinach, Orange and Almond Salad

YIELD: Makes 4 servings


1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons minced red onion

Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

7 cups baby spinach, washed 

1 1/2 cups sliced fresh strawberries

1 large orange, peeled, cut into bite-size cubes

1/2 cup sliced toasted almonds


In a small bowl whisk together the oil, vinegars, onion, salt and pepper. In a large salad bowl toss together the spinach, strawberries and orange. When ready to serve toss with dressing and top with almonds. Serve with sliced grilled boneless chicken breast, lamb chops or steak and baked potato.

Southwestern Chopped Salad

YIELD: Makes 4 servings


1/4 cup  freshly squeezed lime juice

2 teaspoons grated lime zest

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons honey

1 garlic clove, smashed

1 teaspoon chopped fresh jalapeno pepper

1 teaspoon ground coriander

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1 head Romaine lettuce, washed, chopped

One 14-ounce can black beans, rinsed, drained

1 medium-large tomato, chopped

1/2 cup peeled chopped jicama

1 cup fresh, frozen or drained canned corn kernels

1 red onion, finely chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

1 avocado


In a small bowl whisk together the lime juice and zest, oil, honey, garlic, jalapeño, coriander, salt and pepper; let sit and before using, remove and discard garlic. In large salad bowl toss the lettuce, beans, tomato, jicama, corn, onion, bell pepper and cilantro. Immediately before serving, peel avocado and dice, add to salad and immediately toss with dressing. Serve with tacos, nachos, hamburgers, pizza, steak or anything grilled.

Asparagus, Pea, Radish and Bibb Lettuce Salad

YIELD: Makes 4 servings


1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

2 to 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 to 2 teaspoons honey

Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed

1 head Bibb lettuce, washed and torn into bite-size pieces

1/2 pound snap peas, cut into 1” slices

1 bunch radishes, washed, trimmed, sliced

2 tablespoons snipped fresh chives


In a small bowl, whisk together lemon zest and juice, oil, honey, salt and pepper. Steam asparagus until barely al dente, about 3 to 4 minutes; immerse in cold water to stop cooking. When cooled, place in large salad bowl and toss with with lettuce, peas and radishes. When ready to serve toss with dressing, sprinkle with chives and serve with meat, fish or poultry. 

Photo from Pixabay

By Leah S. Dunaief

Leah Dunaief

Strange as it may seem, I always wanted to be a mother. Even before I was in elementary school, I remember hoping someday to be a mother. Thinking back on my early years, I was really more of a tomboy, playing stoop ball and stick ball on the block with the other kids. I did have one doll that I loved. It was quite a progressive doll for its time. I could give it a bottle, and it would subsequently pee. My mother would make sure the baby bottle that had come with the doll was filled with water and not milk. But other than that, I wasn’t particularly given to imaginative girly games like playing house or cooking. I just knew that when I grew up, I wanted to be, among other pursuits, a mother. The idea, of loving a child, teaching a child, nurturing a child, made me happy.

Then I grew up, married a man who also loved the prospect of having a child, and in a short time, we had three. That is, we had three boys within four years and two days. Ever hear the old adage, be careful what you wish for? On the one hand, I adored my boys. I fed them, bathed them, dressed them, played with them and hugged them a lot. On the other hand, I well remember a moment when I sat at the kitchen table, my head down on the crook of my arm, and cried. The three of them were screaming “Mommy!” and chasing each other around my legs with two of them needing diapers changed at the same time. There were dishes in the sink, the next batch of dirty laundry was behind me in a pile, waiting to be put into the overworked washing machine, I had not had a chance yet to change out of my nightgown, and I was seriously doubting I would ever get out of the kitchen alive. This from someone who was never much for crying except in sad movies.

They were exceptionally good communicators. I was convinced that they caucused every night before bedtime and arranged for each to wake me up during the night with a loud scream at a different time. One of my neighbors, catching sight of me putting out the garbage one morning, commented to another neighbor that he had never seen anyone look so tired. Yup, that was me.

But then there was the other side of the experience. They got a little older, made friends who, it seemed, always lived at the farthest reaches of the district, and of course I drove them frequently to play dates. It gave me a chance to meet lots of other mothers. I drove them to weekly music lessons, which enabled them to join the school bands and orchestras. We proudly attended their initially cacophonous concerts that over the years turned into remarkably good classical music and jazz performances. They played baseball, joined the swim team and the tennis team, and we thoroughly enjoyed cheering each at bat, each match, each meet, even if we sometimes melted in the heat or froze in the cold.

Their academic efforts gave us great satisfaction. They studied diligently and sometimes won contests and awards, which gave us vicarious joy. Of less satisfaction would be a trip to meet with the teacher for discussion of any less than perfect behavior.

Then it was prom time. And suddenly, for it seemed sudden, they stood before us in tuxedos, with young women on their arms who they were squiring to the dance. They were all grown up. It was the signal that they would shortly be leaving, eagerly leaving the nest and their parents behind. Yes, they came back regularly from college to have their laundry done and for some good meals. And I like to think for some great hugs. But they were off now, busy with their exciting lives, developing their careers, finding the women they would marry. And the best prize: grandchildren.

How lucky I am that my wish came true.

Members of the Harbormen Chorus in Stony Brook will serenade beloved mothers for Mother's Day.
Coming off a successful virtual singing Valentine program, the Stony Brook-based Harbormen Men’s Chorus is back in business with their offer of online entertainment for all beloved Mothers. Call 631-644-0129 to order this special Mother’s Day Love Song by an ensemble from the Chorus. It can be accessed at any time from any device for only $35. Satisfaction is always guaranteed. And Happy Mother’s Day! Also, you can keep up with the Harbormen Chorus at www.Harbormen.org

Hollandaise Sauce. Stock photo

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.

Béchamel Sauce

Béchamel Sauce

YIELD: Makes about 2 to 2 1/4 cups


2 cups milk

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

2 tablespoons flour

Pinch nutmeg

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.

Hollandaise Sauce

Hollandaise 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 

Sauce Velouté

Sauce Velouté

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.

Johness Kuisel with her granddaughter Caroline

Kyle Barr – Deborah Barr

Kyle Barr, right, with his mom Deborah and his twin brother, Kris

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

Johness Kuisel with her granddaughter Caroline

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

Daniel Dunaief with his mom Leah 

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

Rita Egan with her mom Rita

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.

Stock photo

By Leah S. Dunaief

Leah 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.