Globally, Mother’s Day breakfasts are all a sweet treat

Catherine L. Kaufman

Catherine L. Kaufman

Mothers are honored around the world on different days with distinct cultural customs and foods. Here’s a rundown on what assorted countries do to celebrate their special women and what they’d serve for a Mom’s Day breakfast or brunch.

American Woman

In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Mother’s Day a national holiday to be observed the second Sunday of May each year. Today in this country, Mother’s Day is the most popular day to dine in a restaurant, squeezing out Valentine’s Day. According to the National Restaurant Association 75 million people are expected to dine out Sunday May 8, one-fourth “doing brunch.” Some All-American choices include peanut butter and jelly stuffed French toast; veggie or seafood egg scramble with home fries; and bagels, cream cheese and lox. Mimosas or pomegranate juice will wash it down nicely.

Japan’s Haha no hi

Also celebrated the second Sunday in May, haha no hi derived from hahaoya meaning mother in Japanese, was first observed during the Showa period to commemorate the birthday of Empress Kojun, mother of Emperor Akihito. In happier times, Mother’s Day was celebrated with great fanfare, one of the busiest restaurant days of the year. In Japan, a Mother’s Day breakfast might include miso soup, grilled fish, tamagoyaki (rolled omelet) or a raw egg, pickled veggies, seasoned nori (dried seaweed), nattō (fermented soybeans), and rice porridge with a cup of green tea.

Mum’s the Word

In England during the 1600s, “Mothering Sunday” became a festive day when children spent time with their moms, presenting them with home-baked almond or simnel cake, aka a “Mothering Cake.” Today Mother’s Day is celebrated the fourth Sunday in the month of Lent. The Brits pay homage to their moms with bouquets of chrysanthemums and the “Mothering Cake.” A conventional British brekkie might include bangers (sausages) rashers (bacon) and oozing sunny side up eggs, mopped up with buttered toast or crumpets, followed by sweet scones and a strong cup, or two, or three of English tea.

Fete des Meres

The French celebrate Mother’s Day the last Sunday in May. A home-cooked family dinner is traditional, while mother is presented with a cake resembling a floral bouquet. A customary French breakfast tends to be more sweet than savory with such fare as a brioche, pain au chocolat, an almond croissant, a tartine (buttered baguette) to dip in café au lait or chocolat chaude (hot chocolate). For the savory-toothed French diner a Swiss cheese and mushroom omelet with seasoned potatoes would be fantastique.

Canadian Mother’s Day, eh?

On the second Sunday in May, moms are bestowed with boxes of iconic Laura Secord bonbons, pampered with luxurious breakfasts in bed or hearty family dinners, the Stanley Cup Playoffs likely blaring in the background. As Canadian cuisine is a melting pot of cultures, typical breakfast items include Canadian pea meal bacon and sunny side up eggs, porridge or oatmeal, and flapjacks with Canadian maple syrup.

Ole Madre

Mother’s Day in Spain is celebrated on Dec. 8. Spaniards honor their own mothers and the Virgin Mary. Breakfast known as el desayuno usually includes café con leche, a strong espresso coffee blended with frothy, hot milk, accompanied by sweet rolls or magdalenas, lemony cupcakes or sugary-doused churros. Mother’s Day in Mexico is also celebrated on a fixed day, May 10, with special church Masses. Mothers early morning treats include tamales and atole. Other breakfast foods include nuevos rancheros, breakfast burritos and tacos.

Almond-crusted French toast

Almond-Crusted French Toast


2 eggs

1/3 cup shredded coconut

1/2 cup almond meal or crushed almonds

1/2 cup crushed corn flakes

1/4 cup almond milk

1 to 2 tablespoons butter

1/2 teaspoon almond or vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

4 slices thickly sliced egg bread or challah

Directions: Combine the shredded coconut, almond meal and corn flakes in a bowl. Transfer to a flat container. Beat the eggs, milk, extract and cinnamon. Dip the bread into the egg mixture, then coat with the dry mixture. Melt the butter on a griddle and add fry until golden brown, turning once. Garnish with powdered sugar, and serve with pure maple syrup, hugs and kisses.

Something special: Join me for a free Mother’s Day cooking class for dads and kids (moms welcome) at Whole Foods La Jolla, 11 a.m. Saturday May 7. RSVP at (858) 642-6700 or e-mail

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  2. Market in La Jolla hosts month of special fun for foodies
  3. Give it up for our globetrotting gourmet — now a Master Chef of France!
  4. Going gluten-free? Here’s the scoop on why you might want to!
  5. Go Green with these yummy ways to ‘recycle’ your turkey

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Posted by Staff on May 6, 2011. Filed under Columns, Editorial Columns, Food, Kitchen Shrink. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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