Either you can say “I love you” this Mother’s Day, or you can let a synthetic bread bag say it for you. Of course, not all moms or mom-like figures in your life care deeply about food and cooking, but if they do, use this holiday as a time to sweep them off their feet with the cornucopia of Mother’s Day packages and samples being pruned just for the occasion, from CBD gummies by Martha Stewart to MVP gift roundups on gastro-Disneyland (not in an Disney Adult way, calm down) sites such as Food52.
Food gifts are kind of foolproof, if you think about it. If you’re giving someone an edible present, you’re also giving them the gift of more personal time spent not cooking, which means you’re also giving them the gift of feeling seen and valued and in need of a break. It is a very emotionally loaded cookie, my friend. And we love it. As the prime ragazza of our life, it feels really good to give something like that to mother.
We’ve made a short list of the best gifts for mom this Mother’s Day that revolve around food, from personal cheese-melting machines, to a poetic 1970s Bay Area cookbook; olive oil that could star in its own AD home tour video, and some other ideas for making her feel totally love-toasted.
A big sharp knife!!!
[Rifling through papers] We can’t find the scientific study proving it right this second, but it’s well-established that all moms are the best cooks in the world. However, what’s mysterious to us, their brood, is how they manage to make everything taste so damn good while using the oldest, most beat up kitchen tools on the planet, from cracked wooden spoons to never-sharpened knives. The level of frustration on a bystander is on par with that of trying to teach them how to correctly email a PDF attachment, which is to say, very high. This year, it’s time to treat your precious mother to a really good knife. You can go with a do-it-all classic like the Miyabi Evolution Chef’s Knife, which is a five-star powerhouse (the countless glowing reviews include notes such as “I am a professional chef and can honestly say this is the best knife I have used in my career”)—and as an added bonus, it’s 20% off right now at Sur La Table. Or, ball out on a three- or five-piece set of Misen knives, which hold their razor-sharp edge seemingly forever and reduce everything you need, from chopping to paring to slicing bread, down to five essentials.
The pan their entire crochet club is talking about
Unless you’ve been in total isolation for, like, a year—oh wait… many of us have… well, whatever—you’ve probably heard about the highly Instagrammable, much sought-after Always Pan, which has become thee direct-to-consumer cookware item for many a home cook hoping to finally master a Dutch baby or shakshuka. Available in a variety of soothing Millennial-friendly colors like “Blue Salt” and “Terracotta,” the pan is meant to replace all the junky, scratched-up discount-store pans that are probably infusing non-stick coating into all of your meals and to serve as your one-stop bopper for frying, sautéing, steaming, sauce-making, or making ASMR TikToks. And wowee, it’s accrued 4.5 out of 5 stars from more than 14,000 reviews. Good news: it’s on sale right now for the first time in a long while, so what better time to make your mom into an influencer?
The coolest brutalist espresso maker we’ve ever seen
Like, just look at it. OK, it’s kind of a zillion dollars but this thing will make any kitchen in which it is placed. In addition to being a true marvel of design, it also has a lot of cool features, like a detachable steam wand, a PID-controlled brewing temperature of exactly 199.4 degrees Fahrenheit, and a “15-bar ULKA pump with pressure gauge” and while maybe we have no idea what that means, we assume it is very important and amazing. This thing is a rock, and also rocks.
Make a smorgasbord brunch from her favorite restaurants
This is just the best idea, honestly, because a lot of freshly vaccinated parents are probably feeling hesitant to start eating out again, or have grown accustomed to staying indoors (same). Assemble food from the best restos around the world by scourging pages of Goldbelly, and order up a Mother’s Day spread with Hot Honey Chicken & Cornbread Waffles from Marcus Samuelsson’s Streetbird in Harlem, New York, or with the chewy, malty bagels from Utopia Bagels in Queens; Ship in a pink donut as big as her face from Minneapolis’ Angel Food Bakery, or give her a dozen Vesekla sauerkraut and mushroom pierogi pillows upon which to put up her feet.
Keep the wine flowin’
We aren’t vineyard rats nor the angels from UB40, but even we know that natural wine has no pesticides or herbicides, and overall fewer sulfites in it (thus reducing the likelihood of wine-induced tiredness, headaches, and hangovers). Whether your mom loves to hit the sauce, or only sips on occasion, a good natty wine is like having a very drinkable, Best In Show adult juice box that is somehow socially acceptable. “Every wine we put in [our] natural wine club,” say the people over at wine curators at MYSA, “includes personalized information on the producer, notes on the wine, serving suggestions, and (our favorite part) food pairing suggestions.” You can opt to order her the three-bottles-a-month subscription to be a good kid, or 12 bottles a month to become the favorite kid.
How to BBQ when space is an issue
Now that things are heating up, the cicadas are cracking their eyes, and our bedroom looks like Flavortown, we’re in the mood for some fingerlicking BBQ… but don’t have enough outdoor space for a standing grill (nor the budget for a wumbo grill) and so we have quite simply fallen in love with the Main Character Energy of this indoor-outdoor kettle smoker. “Its high dome allows you to pack a lot in, and it doesn’t hurt that it’s such a compact little looker.” You don’t even need storage for this cheery red bean—how nice would it look perched atop your—I mean, mother’s—fridge? How jovial would it be to pass a J around this rib-filled smoker on a Sunday?
Your passport to Paris is this bubbling Euro cheese machine
This machine will become her everything, and your everything. It’s not fondue, nor quite a dipping situation—the art of la raclette is in a cheese league of its own. Just heat up some fromage in the miniature shovels (C U T E) until it starts to bubble, whilst Mom’s favorite charcuterie sizzles on the mini grill above. This Euro tradition takes its name from le highly meltable, eponymous cheese that most Swiss and Frenchies use, but we also suggest melting a Gruyère, Manchego, Morbier, or any cheese with a nice, punchy salt crystal situation for pouring over your meats and baby boiled potatoes. Present it all to mom on a checkered bistro tablecloth with a bottle of natural wine, and tell her it’s a precursor for resuming that trip to Normandy you had to cancel last year.
… And if you’re going full raclette: Get this giant French cookie trivet
This is just too good for the tablescape to leave behind. There are a few of these floating around the web, and the LU Petit Beurre cookies feel both broad reaching yet specific in tone to make a lot of moms across America go, “Aw. You remembered that’s what I fed you when you were a weed bean.”
EVOO so beautiful, friends will think it’s booze
Well, that’s just damn pretty. If you could distill the personality of everyone who can get away with a perfect middle part into an olive oil, it would live in this glass, UV-ray proof (AHOY?!) jar. “It’s consciously produced in California using olives that are harvested right on-site,” and while that bottle sunscreen treatment may seem extra, it’s supposed to protect the flavah of your heritage olive oil by banishing the sun. A true countertop stunner.
A cooler way to caffeinate
She’s tried the drip, dies for the Bunn, and fucks with a French press on occasion. Coffee Mom is BORED and needs a new version of a drinkable stick shift, because she lives for the thrill of bean grind. Nguyen Coffee Supply’s Phin kit is one of the most delightful ways to prep coffee, because “Vietnamese coffee is low-acidic, strong, and smooth [and] all beans are a medium roast,” and prepared with a small metal drip filter with medium to coarse beans for a more even, robust taste.
Aesthetic CBD gummies
Martha is looking GOOD these days, casually wearing her new CBD gummies as a necklace in a way that juuust might make thine CBD-curious (but shy) mother feel like she is being seen and catered to, because she is. Martha’s Valentine’s Day sampler has 72 artisanal, gourmet fruit gummies cooked up by the Saint of DIY Wreaths herself, with flavors like black raspberry, passion fruit, and rhubarb (to name just a few) that will send mom’s mouth to a small, summertime farm in East Hampton.
Lord Jones dropped a Mother’s Day gift set that looks like something Princess Diana might enjoy, were she around today. The floral cherry blossom gumdrops make for an ideal tub-side snack, in the bathroom you can now refer to as a home-spa thanks in part to sage, mint, and green citrus scented CBD bath salts and body lotion. Namaste.
This extremely comforting “simulation bread” pillow
Why is Simulation Bread absolutely the name of a CD that has been under our bed since 2004? This is a squishy dumb treat that, not unlike the cult of the ROMWE crossbody chicken bag, brings us immeasurable joy.
This Japanese cheesecake is in a league of its own
We would like to see a feature film about the bouncy, regal glory that is the purple cheesecake from Keki Modern Cakes in New York, by way of Osaka. They’re always made with locally sourced, fresh ingredients, like Amish cream cheese and butterfly kisses. Perfect for the mom who has a kinda-sweet tooth, and is here for something other than a sheet cake.
She’s not like a regular mom. She’s a cool mom.
Monday through Friday, this is a cake stand for brownies, cannolis, what have you. Saturday through Infinity, it could be a dumping ground for cocaine, or a really dramatic backdrop for those Sylvanian Family TikToks. Choose your adventure.
The cookbook that’s basically poetry
“‘Extraordinary,’ ‘poetic,’ and ‘inspired’ are only a few words that have been used to describe the food at Chez Panisse,” reads the Ratatouille narrator of this cookbook spiel, and while it’s hard to summarize the impact chef Alice Waters has had on American cuisine, this Arts and Crafts-aesthetic tome by Paul Bertolli and the lady herself does a pretty good job. “Since the first meal served there in 1971, Alice Waters’s Berkeley, California, restaurant has revolutionized American cooking, earning its place among the truly great restaurants of the world. Renowned for the brilliant innovations of its ever-changing menu, Chez Panisse has also come to represent a culinary philosophy inspired by nature–dedicated to the common interest of environment and consumer in the use of gloriously fresh organic ingredients.” Perfect for the mom seeking a little more culinary inspiration, who sips her wine after work just like Nicole Kidman in Big Little Lies.
This noodle purse
It’s opening night at the opera house. All eyes are on the most emotional part of La Traviata, when suddenly, a single, velvet gloved hand steals the show by trifling through a gleaming, faux-instant noodle purse (you didn’t think we’d skin a real cup-o-noodles!) for those stupid baby binoculars everyone uses. CHE SPETTACOLO! That’s your mamma, alright. And no one has a clutch quite like her, except all the other disturbed children on Wish.com.
Happy munching, and smooches to la mamma.
The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story. Want more reviews, recommendations, and red-hot deals? Sign up for our newsletter.