Mother’s Day (Happily) Spent in the Kitchen

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By Paula Deen

Over the years, Mother’s Day celebrations with my boys have taken many forms. There were breakfasts in bed, flowers handpicked from the garden and countless cards that managed to say “I Love You, Mom” in a hundred different ways. Every Mother’s Day has been special, ya’ll, but not for the reasons you might think. It was never about the presents I received as much as it was about delighting in the little hearts that did the giving.

I got an unexpected Mother’s Day surprise this year when my grandson Jack announced that he wanted to open a restaurant in my home. He’s been talking about starting up the “Rooster’s Café” for some time now. Whenever we cook together, we pretend we’re in his café, preparing meals for hungry patrons.

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Not someone to deny a child his dream—especially when it comes to openin’ up a successful restaurant, I willingly obliged. Jack showed up to my house in a darling chef’s coat and hat, and that lil’ stinker remained in character the whole darn time. As usual, my house was bustling with friends and family, and he welcomed each guest like a perfect gentleman. “Let me show you to your seat,” I overheard him say. “Okay, may I have your order?”

Once he got their order, Jack would run back into the kitchen to tell me, his “assistant,” “Order up! Hurry! Hurry! We gotta keep these customers happy!”

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Luckily, the menu wasn’t complicated. Rooster’s Café, as it turned out, had one signature dish: burgers, fries and frosted sugar cookies. 

I learned right away that you never challenge a chef in his own kitchen. I was told in no uncertain terms that our burgers would not have tomatoes and that we must offer cookies in a rainbow of colors. Jack tasted the orange frosting and he was surprised that while the color had changed, the taste stayed the same. “It tastes just like real icing,” he said, “but just dyed orange!”

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“That’s right, it looks like a dreamsicle,” I said. “You know you’re my little dreamsicle, right?”

Jack smiled that dimpled, toothless smile that melts my heart, and then he grabbed my hand and escorted me outside to the porch where he had a special table reserved just for us.

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Before we dug into our beautiful burgers—without tomatoes—I asked Jack if I could propose a toast. Jack shot up and said, “Toast? You want some toast? Hold on, I’ll go get some!” And off he ran.

Jack and I shared a wonderful day together. It was unexpected, playful, messy and absolutely perfect. I’ve never had a bad Mother’s Day, but I’ve never had one better than this.

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Reader Comments:

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That has got to be the cutest little thing ever! smile

By Linda on August 17, 2013

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Oh paula I do hope you get this note. I love you and watched you daily. I am not watching food network anymore. just do not talk to anyone except your lawer now. I do wish I could have told you not to talk to anyone at all from the getgo. well it is done now so keep your head hi and keep doing what you need to do. I am praying for you and your family.I have a grand daughter with down syndrom and we cook alot from paula deen's cook book. love it and thank you for everything Leta

By ome on July 02, 2013

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Loved hearing about you and Jack in the kitchen and how special Mother's Day can be. I am a grandmother to three grandaughters, Jillian, Kelsey and Hailey. We have spent many hours in my kitchen because the girls and I just like to hang out in the kitchen together. And, what better way to do that than make food together. I call it "Gran's Cooking School." We have enjoyed making many recipes together. We even made a video one time while cooking in the kitchen, that was so fun! Love all the Deen Family Food Network Shows, the Cookbooks, magazines and the food we had at The Lady and Sons. Hope to return to Georgia again sometime. I love the south!

By Carolyn Dreibelbis on July 16, 2012

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Hi Paula, What a wonderful story. I loved it and at the same time it broke my heart. I used to spend a lot of time in the kitchen with my 2 wonderful grandchildren. And then their parents moved them away to New York. That was 8 long years ago. Since then there has been such heart break for us and the kids. We get to see one another but it is months between visits. We do a lot of loving when they get to come and a whole lot of crying when they leave. It breaks my heart that they still want to come "Home", someday I pray God will answer that request. You are a very blessed lady. I to am blessed with them in my life, my heart just cries and I hope God lets me live long enough to have them back in my life more often. And just wanted to say, Jack in so beautiful !!!!!!!!!!!!! Much love to you !

By Katy Cloer on May 13, 2012

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Thanks to Paula's shows I get to share these times with my granddaughter all the time...she loves playing Paula and saying "what u want u'll"..lol. I love spending time in the kitchen with her and sharing all my memories with her of my time in the kitchen with my Mom! Thank you for all the great shows and all the memories I'm making with my granddaughter!!! Cindy Thomason PS....Thanks for the picture...had to get it in a frame for her....she carries it everywhere.

By Cindy Thomason on May 11, 2012

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I really like that you appreciate the small things. How happy you look and how happy your grandson looks. Very nice. It made me smile and think of my 5 year old son.

By Marla on May 10, 2012

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Absolutly the best Mother's Day/Grandmother's Day anyone could have and I envey you mine are all grown.

By Mary Miller on May 10, 2012

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paul how do you make mothers day special for a mother has everything... what do ya do ? cook? make her somthing ...but what?

By amanda on May 10, 2012

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I just love, love this post. Special day! Beautiful photos!

By Christine on May 09, 2012

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OMG! Ms. Paula, How much weight have you lost!!! You look even more beautiful!

By Tracy Cooper-Grice on May 09, 2012

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Paula you and your grandson are just the cutest thing ever here! By the way girl, whatever you're doing keep it up ! You look FABULOUS! Hpe you have a wonderful Mothers Day weekend! You deserve girl! xo

By Keely on May 09, 2012

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What an absolutely sweet story! You can tell Jack loves his "Ginny". Loved the pictures. Thanks for sharing this with us, Paula.

By Natalie on May 09, 2012

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Love the article and pictures. How old is Jack, seems like the other day he was two. Where can we find a table and chairs like that?

By Joyce on May 09, 2012

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OH MY PAULA HOW VERY PRECIOUS. I KNOW JUST HOW U FELT, I HAVE 6 GRANDAUGHTERS AND 3 GRANDSONS AND HAVE EXPERIENCED SUCH A MOMENT U HAD WITH JACK OFTEN. I AM 69 AND YOUNG JUST LIKE U AND LOVE, SO LOVE BEING GRAM-MA-MA. WHAT A WONDERFUL TIME WE HAVE WITH OUR GRANDBABIES. I WATCH U AND BOBBI OFTEN. AM A BIG HUGE FAN. YOU KEEP DOING WHAT U ARE DOING MY DEAR LADY, WE NEED MORE OF PEOPLE LIKE U, I WAS RAISED IN THE OZARKS OF ARK. AND I AM TRUE BLUE SOUTHERN AND EVEN THO I NOW RESIDE IN CT. I WILL BE SOUTHERNFOREVER. HUGS. HAPPY MOM DAY TO U AND BROOKE ALSO, SHE IS A SWEET PRECIOUS LADY AND WE LOVE HER AS MUCH AS WE LOVE YOU. ROSIE IN CT.

By RoseMarie Herdman on May 09, 2012

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Paula, I loved your "Day" w/Jack. I can't believe how big he's got. I truly remember when he was born. Aren't grandkids the best? If I had of known how much I'd enjoyed mine, I would have had them "FIRST"!!! LOL. I Love you, your show & your family. I plan to come over for your book signing in August. Hope to see you then.

By windycitygirl on May 09, 2012

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Love watching your show and getting ideas. I just love watching you with your grandson. I too am a grandma with a 15 month old and can't wait until he is old enough to get in the kitchen with me. My daughter can't wait either. she was 1 when we started her in the kitchen in a chair just watching and playing in dough and stuff. She was a cheerleader and in competition cheer and sometimes I would have 15 or so girls in my kitchen at once trying to help with cookies or whatever. She is now 27 and her friends still talk about those times in my kitchen and her B'day parties as her b'day is dec 21st and I always made her b'day party different. We had a masquerade ball one year that even the parents still talk about. The things we can do with our children and teach them are the most precious thing in the world. I just so wish that all parents could have fun with there children and grandchildren like us. They truly are a gift from God. Hugs

By Linda on May 09, 2012

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Paula, You're darling little Jack is just a dream come true, isn't he? I have two grandsons and I love to cook with them and create whatever they want. Once, we caught Dungeness crabs here in Puget Sound. They loved catching them in the traps (always along with a signature starfish in the cage to be thrown back). They learned which was male and which was female so we kept the males and they didn't think that was fair - but it's the law. ha ha. They loved getting the water ready and cleaning them, but didn't eat them. I guess the experience was enough at that time. The thrill of the catch. My youngest grandson has started a tradition of a family "hot dog hoedown" in their backyard in the summer with his handmade menu,(plain, catsup & relish, chili dog, etc) red and white plaid table covers, cartons, and side dishes of chips and coleslaw. It's so great to see them want to get involved in entertaining and be creative in the kitchen. Good luck to Jack and his Rooster's Cafe. Following in some great footprints!

By Alice Anderson on May 08, 2012

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Paula I have 4 grandsons and they are the joys of my life.My grankids have also helped me in the kitchen and with canning since they were young.I seen something the other day that I think you would like it said"You never know how much love your heart can hold till you are called "Grandma" Have a Happy Mothers Day from one grandma to another. Sally

By Anonymous on May 08, 2012

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Hi paula, I just love seeing you cook with your grandson. I am always cooking with my grandchildren. They love being in grandmas kitchen. We have a big Italian family so everyone is always in the kitchen. Just love cooking your recipies. Love ya Gloria Roberds

By Gloria Roberds on May 08, 2012

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Thank you, Paula, for sharing this wonderful story of your special day with Jack. I admire you so much and have been a fan of yours since the very beginning of your shows. I hope one day to be able to travel to Savannah and eat at The Lady & Sons and maybe even get to meet you in person. I feel like we're good old friends!

By Judy Hicks on May 08, 2012

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Paula Deen
Paula Deen
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hi! wink i was wondering if you could share the recipe for the chiken/grape salad-the one that is pictured on the croissant above? thanks! wink sandra
Sandra Neuheimer-Huller in Chicken Salad: A Southern Staple on April 19, 2014 at 10:37 am

Where do I buy these magazines
in A Basketful of Traditions on April 19, 2014 at 8:22 am

I WISH I COULD COOK. COULD I COME WORK FOR JUST ROOM AND BOARD AT YOUR NEW RESTURAUNT IN PIGEON FORGE FOR THE SUMMER? I WENT TO COLLEGE NOT FAR FROM THERE - HIWASSEE COLLEGE. YOU WOULDN'T HAVE TO PAY ME, I WOULD WORK FOR FREE JUST FOR THE EXPERIENCE. TAMMY LEVAN 19 SPENCER WAY KINGS PARK, NY 11754 HAPPY EASTER! CHRIST IS RISEN!
TAMMY L LEVAN in A Basketful of Traditions on April 19, 2014 at 4:31 am

Hi Bubbles, You have some great tips. Can't wait to read your other blogs! Please give Aunt Peggy a big hug from me and here is one for you! (((HUGS))) See you in May!
Jaci Pardun in 10 Quick Household Tips on April 18, 2014 at 11:05 pm

Paula, I am glad to know that I am not the only person who makes Easter Baskets for their adult children and mail them across the United States. My Daughter lives in Long Beach, CA and I not only sent her a basket but her husband and my granddaughter Reese. We also buy special Russel Stover Bunnies for each child too. My husband has the list in his phone... Sara .. Cookies 'n Crème.... Sidney and Stephen.. Peanut Butter Etc. It one of my favorite things to do for my kids.. no matter how old they get. And passing it along to my Grandchildren. It's even more special to me knowing we share a family tradition. Blessings and Happy Easter!!
Sharon Cason-Card in A Basketful of Traditions on April 18, 2014 at 11:03 pm