Article

Mother care

Categories: Reflections and opinions

Regular blogger Luke Mackay tells us what he’s got cooking for Mother’s Day

The third time that my dad met my now wife, he took her aside and, to her continuing horror, said “Do you know, Sara—Christine and I really like you. You’re so easy, we’ve never seen you leave anything on your plate.”

Now, unbeknown to her, this is the greatest compliment that a Mackay could possibly give you, for we are cooks and feeders all—but my poor wife-to-be turned bright red, went on an unnecessary diet and hasn’t cleared her plate since.

That last bit is a lie—she always clears her plate, still to this day, nearly seven years later. It’s one of the many reasons that I love her and married her. She claims that it’s the result of having a Scottish father and a mother from Yorkshire, both brought up after the war and characteristically thrifty. I’m not so sure, but she can clean the flesh from a chicken leg like no one since Henry VIII.

Deep fried Mars Bars
All of our early dates and holidays were based on a shared love of food: San Sebastian, The Ledbury, Borough Market, Rye—anywhere to sit at a table, eating great food, talking about great food and drinking too much wine. We got married in Edinburgh (haggis, venison and deep fried Mars Bars for the wedding breakfast) and fairly soon (ahem, nine months) after that we had wee Murdo Mackay and my wife was now a mother.

That pretty much put paid to regular restaurant outings and food-based travel. Now a climbing frame and a ball pit is more important than a Michelin star or decent pudding wine, and we eat at home much more—especially since Sula Rose arrived nine months ago. My wife is the best mum in the world; how she juggles the needs of a four-year-old, a baby, me, and preparing to go back to her job as a lawyer is completely beyond me. To say thank you, I always cook her requests for things like birthdays and Mother’s Day.

She’s pretty retro when it comes to death row meals. In the past, she has requested prawn cocktail, chicken kiev and last year, a cheeseburger. This year, ever the traditionalist, she has requested a lie in, eggs benedict and bucks fizz in bed “then I’ll open all my presents and handmade cards”.

‘Tis the season
For lunch, her all-time favourite—roast lamb (‘tis the season!) with roasties and I’ll make a green sauce, zingy with wild garlic, capers, mint and anchovies. She never, ever chooses pudding, but could tuck away a whole comte given half the chance so I’ll get some cheese in and have lemon tart and thick Jersey cream with the kids.

I might even invite my own mum round, but I’ll have to brief her and dad not to comment on what’s left behind (or not) on their beloved daughter-in-law’s plate…