Mother’s Day is upon us, it seems, and this Sunday will find innumerable matriarchs around the country being gifted with bubble bath, flowers, and jewelry–of both the macaroni and the more luxe varieties. They’ll most likely also get taken out to brunch. Now, the gifts I have no problem with–though I think Tiffany & Co. is missing a trick by not introducing a sterling silver pasta charm collection. I am talking to you, Elsa Peretti.  Brunch, however, is more problematic. Specifically, the going out part.

For starts, much like Valentine’s Day, everyone’s out doing the same thing at the same time, and reaping the predictable results of upcharges, downgraded service, and overflowing dining rooms. What makes Mother’s Day brunch even worse than a Valentine’s Day dinner are the very reasons that I generally think that brunch should be held at home in the first place. First of all, eating out on Sunday morning is just a bad idea. All the best chefs will have worked the Saturday evening before and will not be willing to give your mother’s eggs Benedict the cosseting they deserve the following morning–especially on the busiest brunch day of the year.

Second of all, brunch foods are, I think, best made and consumed at home. For the most part, brunch foods are either easy and can be done in advance, or are highly persnickety and must be done a la minute to ensure Mom-worthy results. In the former category are luxurious, eggy casseroles and stratas; tender, sweet-salty baked hams; prettily glistening fresh fruit salads; and golden coffee cakes streaked with tender fruit and crunchy crumble toppings. From the latter are made-to-order omelets, bacon crisp from frying pan, crepes, and hot, flaky biscuits. Regardless of which end of the brunch spectrum you land on, if you do it yourself with proper care and attention, you’ll have a meal fit for mom and perhaps the good karma to counteract a year of leaving your socks on the floor.

What follows is my standard brunch menu, which is quite lovely for Mom, and is great for showers (wedding, baby, or otherwise) as well.  It offers a mix of do-ahead and last-minute items that all go well together, and I’ve found it makes just about everyone happy. Items in parenthesis are good swapping options. Do, of course, feel free to mix things as your whimsy takes you, but be cognizant of balance–between sweet and savory, hot and cold, etc. For smaller groups, omelets made to order with pre-prepared fillings can be fun, as can a crepe-based brunch. I will post the recipe for Eggs Mornay, THE go-to eggy brunch dish for 3 generations of my family, shortly. It’s totally sinful, and far less work than one might imagine.

Super Awesome Brunch for Mother’s Day, And Further Seasons or Reasons

Coffee, Tea, Mimosas, (Bloody Marys)
Eggs Mornay (Savory Breakfast Strata)
Breakfast Sausages (Bacon, Vegetarian versions thereof)
Buttermilk Biscuits
Asparagus (Green Bean) Vinaigrette
Fruit Salad
Coffee Cake
(Thematic Sweets–Decorated Sugar Cookies, etc.)

Oh, and clean up? That’s on you too. Dirty dishes are definitely not PassionFruits-approved Mother’s Day gifts.