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March 11, 2013 / tyandolivia

My Mother, the Model Gourmand

My brother-in-law kicked off birthday season in my family last weekend. Between Ty and I, we have something like 15 birthdays within our two families between March and May.

Today is my mother’s birthday. She is a runway model (for real) and an amazing cook. You may think those two things do not mix – eating and modeling – but for my mother, good food is an important part of life. Our family usually begins eating one meal while talking about what we’re going to eat for the next meal. Vacations are all about the food we will eat. I think her main reason for not wanting to visit certain countries is because she doesn’t like the food there.


In the kitchen cooking ūüôā

I’d like to say I’ve learned all I know about cooking by watching my mom. The truth is, I didn’t pay very close attention while I was growing up. She has a great recipe for a pie crust, but I’ve never been able to roll it out correctly. She makes the best Christmas cookies every year and all I can do is cut them out of the dough and decorate them (I think I’m seeing a pattern when it comes to rolling out dough…)

Nevertheless, I did pick up a few tips when it comes to food in general that I will share with you here:

  1. Portion control: As I mentioned, my mom is a model. A model who eats really, really good food. Some people may think she doesn’t eat or rather that she can eat whatever she wants. The truth is, she eats a little bit of everything. This is something I haven’t mastered yet, but it’s a habit I hope to develop in time.
  2. Read: I once asked my mom how she learned to cook and she said she reads cookbooks. She also has subscriptions to Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, Southern Living, Martha Stewart Living and Better Homes & Gardens. All of these magazines have recipes that she tries out each month. She doesn’t try¬†every¬†recipe – let’s not get carried away – but she is always trying something new based on something she’s read. I’ve tried to imitate this and have found that just¬†reading¬†recipes makes me a better cook because I have a better understanding for the basic techniques even if the measurements aren’t all the same or the cooking times vary.
  3. Stock up: I’m not sure if it’s a new trend or if I am just late to the party, but I feel like I hear more and more people talk about cooking with what they already have in the kitchen. My mom has taught me that the easiest way to do this is to actually have food in the kitchen, the pantry, the outside refrigerator(s) and extra freezer(s). Anytime there’s a major power¬†outage¬†due to one of Florida’s famous hurricanes, my parents are still eating gourmet food from what she has in the freezer that they cook on the grill. Whenever I go to the store now, I try to buy ingredients I know I’ll¬†eventually¬†need even if it’s not for a particular recipe. It helps me “improvise” later in the week so I don’t have to go to the store¬†every single day.
  4. Food is about people: Now that our families are expanding with babies and toddlers, dinner at my mom’s house is kind of a zoo – and she wants to enjoy every minute. She looks for recipes that aren’t so complicated they require her nose to the recipe and her stuck in front of the stove. Yet, every meal is delicious. She would rather have a juicy hamburger and fries from the store than miss time with her family cooking an extravagant meal fit for the Queen.
  5. Eat dessert: I love how my mom has some kind of dessert with every meal (except breakfast). Two peanut M&Ms after lunch, a fresh-from-the-oven chocolate chip cookie or a scoop of ice cream after dinner (see the portion control here???). We will never forget the Thanksgiving she put a slice of pumpkin (pecan? can’t remember) pie by her nightstand so she would be sure to have a piece at the end of the day before it was all gone. Dessert is important. It makes life sweeter.

So, happy birthday mom. Love you and all your delicious food!


Striking a pose in the kitchen (where else?)


Happy birthday!!



Leave a Comment
  1. Cindy Morris / Mar 11 2013 9:07 pm

    What a great tribute to your mom who is a wonderful woman! She has inspired many of us to be better cooks. I really enjoy your writings, Olivia:)

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