Celebrate Mother's Day With A Cook-off

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Ronnie Fein
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Hot and Spicy Wings

We haven’t gone out to a restaurant on Mother’s Day in years. I can’t handle the crowds, the rushed service, the same old tired food. And frankly, now that we have 5 grandchildren, we also don’t want to make them wait and – perhaps – become restless and cranky, which only makes it more stressful for us (and everyone else in the restaurant).

It’s just easier at home.

I don’t mind cooking. It’s more relaxing than the restaurant scene. My daughters and sons-in-law also like to cook. My husband likes to pour the wine and make the drinks. So we have Mother’s Day at my house with a cook-off every year. We choose a theme: one year it was chocolate chip cookies, one year burgers, another year pasta with red sauce. Like that.

Each participant (it could be one of them or a couple together) tells me in advance what ingredients he or she needs (the actual recipes remain a secret) and I do the shopping. We get busy early afternoon and a few hours later (and a few glasses of something alcoholic) we are all happy and ready to eat.

All the recipes are different, so everyone is bound to find a dish they like, even the picky eaters. And everyone is a winner. First prize for most creative. First prize for most visually appealing. First prize for most comforting. Like that.

This year I’m thinking – maybe we’ll have a chicken wings cook-off.  Or maybe grilled cheese (I’m also thinking that my grandson Zev, now age 14, may want to take part in the festivities and do some cooking and he doesn’t eat chicken). We have to have a family vote. Whichever we do, I’ll provide the side dishes and salad, plus dessert. Ed will be in charge of the beverages.

My kitchen is always a mess at the end of one of these cook-offs (then again, after the kids and grandkids visit it’s always a mess). But honestly, I can’t think of a better way to celebrate Mother’s Day.

If we decide on chicken wings or grilled cheese, these are the recipes I’ll cook.

Hot and Spicy Wings

My Hot and Spicy Wings are always a hit. The Sriracha sauce gives the wings a perfect spicy kick.

Grilled Cheese

There are never leftovers of my crispy and gooey Grilled Goat Cheese Panini with Charmoula Dressing. The recipe is easy and designed for one serving but you can make as many as you would like.