Hand-Selected Recipes and Stories Straight to Your Inbox

Ranji McMillan's mom baking pies

Photo courtesy of Ranji McMillan

Ranji McMillan's mom baking pies

|

Read these Mother's Day shout-outs from the Southern Kitchen staff

Mother's Day is possibly the most important holiday in the South, because as you know, nobody loves Mama like we do down here. So in the spirit of showing love to the ladies who raised and reared us, in good times and bad, a few Southern Kitchen team members decided to share a few thoughts on their moms, praising her like we should.

Ranji McMillan
What’s the best thing about your mom that you know more than anybody else in your family?
My mom is a problem-solver. She’s smart, quick, and resourceful. It was a struggle to make ends meet when me and my siblings were kids. She was a single mom and she made sure we were well-fed and happy at all times. She can pull a rabbit out of a hat at the exact moment you feel all hope is gone.

What piece of advice did your mom give you growing up that’s been the most valuable to you?
“Don’t make yourself a liability. Document everything. Know where your files are.” It sounds serious, but that practice has gotten me very far. I’m never fumbling to find a receipt, the minutes of a conversation, or proof of insurance. I once combatted a citation in court and the counselor said he had never seen someone as prepared as I was that day. I told him, “I get it from my mom." He said, “Well she would be very proud”. Naturally, I won my case.

What’s your favorite dish that your mom cooks, and why?
Chicken and rice. I know it seems simple, but it's absolutely perfect. It “sticks to your ribs." The chicken is perfect and juicy, and the rice very well-seasoned.

A few years ago, I got bad case of bronchitis. My mom wasn’t happy with that diagnosis. I woke up the next day with her at my door, with a whole chicken and a bag of rice in a duffle bag. She simply said, “Where are your pots?” I slept like a baby that night. I was glad she invited herself over and took over my kitchen.

Anything else you’d like to add about your mom?
My mom is the best mom a girl like me could ask for. I’ve always been a different, awkward, and eccentric artist. My mom never tried to change that. She has four kids between 30 and 42 years old, and we are all very different. But thanks to her we all seek true happiness, love, and laughter, and we all belong to the same Wonder Woman.


Elisabeth Schrock

What’s the best thing about your mom that you know more than anybody else in your family?
I’ve always admired that my mom is never afraid to be her true and full self, no matter the circumstances. If she’s near live music, she will be dancing and singing without a care in the world! Full disclosure… this used to be totally embarrassing, but now it’s just awesome.

What’s your favorite dish that your mom cooks, and why?
My mom is Italian, so I’ve got to say her Italian wedding soup. It’s pretty dang good. It really hits the spot when it’s cold and gloomy out. But you absolutely cannot eat it without a piece of lightly buttered Italian-style bread (and no, you cannot substitute a different type of bread).

Anything else you’d like to add about your mom?
Happy Mother’s Day, momma! Love ya.


Kate Williams

What piece of advice did your mom give you growing up that’s been the most valuable to you?
Always eat three colors. When I was in middle school, my mom went back to work and didn’t want to have to keep cooking every weeknight for our entire family. So she split up cooking duties between her, my siblings and me, and my dad. We each had to cook one night a week, and the only rule was that dinner had to include three different colors of food, and shades of brown didn’t count. It was a good way to make sure we actually ate vegetables, for sure, but it also helped to cement the idea in my head that we experience food visually, not just by eating it. I still feel like I’m not eating a balanced meal unless it has at least three colors. This may sound kind of trivial, but it has helped me stay relatively healthy throughout a career in food writing, and it has helped me think about my own recipe writing in a similar light.

What’s your favorite dish that your mom cooks, and why?
My mom is a really good cook, but she doesn’t have many signature dishes that I can draw from. She’ll experiment with new recipes fairly frequently, but they’ll almost always be healthy and vegetable-forward. (See above.)

However, she always makes the same two cookies at Christmas every year: angel bars and pecan puffs. The angel bars are a nutty, coconut bar cookie, topped with a lemon glaze that are pretty much the only cookie I can’t say no to.


Author image

Mike Jordan is Southern Kitchen's former associate editor. He was also the host of our podcast, Sunday Supper. His work has appeared in a variety of publications including The Huntsville Times, American Way, Upscale, Time Out, NewsOne, Fatherly and Thrillist, where he served as the founding Atlanta editor. He lives in East Point, Ga., with his amazing wife and daughter, and loves writing, playing alto saxophone, cooking, craft beer, and cocktails. He is admittedly much better at these things than basketball, so never choose him for your pickup team.

Next Article:
How to throw the best cookout ever