It's magic. Undeniable magic. A meal can be great -- but it is made more so by a mother's love.
I bore witness to this culinary phenomenon earlier this week at my pal Claire's West Village home. Arriving for dinner, I met her parents, who had come to call from Yorkshire, England. Lucky for me, besides bringing the usual parental glad tidings, Claire's "Mum" had brought along her all-time favorite recipe for Lamb Roast with Potatoes and Onions.
Pictured above, this was a marvel of a dinner. The lamb was so tender that it fell off the bone with the gentle touch of a fork. The potatoes were a toasty deep brown, crisp and soft all at once, and the roast onions were caramelized and addictive.
Still, I had to wonder if the meal would have been quite as comforting if I hadn't been sitting next to the beaming "Mum" chef who served us with such pride and pleasure.
After giving it a bit of thought, I concluded that the answer on that score has to be "nope." It was "Mum's" presence, her unmitigated motherly joy in preparing and serving the dinner that gave it a maternal je ne sais qua that took a very good meal into the marvelous zone.
That said, if anyone has similar tales to share when it comes to Dad-made fare, I'd love to hear about it. Equal-opportunity parental cooking fans, it is your time to shout out!