This past Sunday, at the tail end of a weekend in my hometown of DC, I made my mother breakfast. As she always asks for a list of food items I’ll want there my kinds of things available: Morningstar Veggie Patties, a cantaloupe, apples and red potatoes. Knowing that my mother is so rarely cooked for outside of restaurants and that she’s new to vegetarian products, I figured I’d give her a little treat.

So I sliced up half the cantaloupe into chunks and long with some apple eighth and garnished them around the plate. In the middle of that I made my red breakfast potatoes with place them in the middle. Then I quartered two patties and garnished them on top. Then I covered the plate and left a note for her that breakfast was served. I left a few potatoes in the pot, because I had a feeling.

An hour later, when I was on the other side of town letting my father’s dog out, I got a call from my Mommy to say that it was the best breakfast she’d had in a long time. It was so good that she even went back in the pot for the last few potatoes. That had been my little test. If it was really good, I knew that she would scrape the pot clean.

I don’t like cooking for myself, though I do it out of necessity from week to week. But there’s a sincere pleasure that comes from creating something that my family and friends love, that moves their taste buds while filling their bellies. As my mother spent half of her life making meals for me I love getting the chance to make her experiences special. My cooking is love in a pot. It fills me up when they scrape it clean.