Why Is There No Such Thing As Traditional Mother's Day Food?

Many of the holidays we celebrate in the U.S. involve specific foods. For instance, we eat turkey on Thanksgiving and eat ham on Christmas. However, holidays like Mother's Day don't have any specific foods associated with them, at least not in the U.S.

Unlike holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, when we gather with family and friends to share food and celebrate, Mother's Day is arguably more about appreciating the sacrifices our mothers have made. In fact, Mother's Day was born amid the Civil War and its aftermath, at which time women poured themselves into not only home life, but also helping the war efforts in any way they could. In 1908, Anna Jarvis successfully campaigned for Mother's Day as a national holiday to honor the work of her mother and mothers everywhere.

Following Jarvis' lead, today we show our appreciation for moms by making them breakfast in bed or spoiling them with candy and flowers. We may not have traditional dishes, but at least we have a somewhat common theme in wanting to prepare the best Mother's Day breakfast recipes.

Other countries celebrate Mother's Day with traditional foods

Although the U.S. is a bit all over the place in terms of Mother's Day foods — with mom-requested dishes ranging from pastries to seafood to pasta — some countries do indeed have traditional Mother's Day dishes.

Demonstrating how the holiday is more about putting in the effort to show appreciation for mothers, Ethiopia celebrates Mother's Day with a hash. Each of the children brings home a different ingredient for the hash, and the mother cooks it together for the entire family to share. In the UK, on the other hand, families sometimes celebrate with Simnel cake, which is essentially a fruitcake made with high-quality ingredients. Nowadays, the Simnel cake is more commonly eaten at Easter, but who says you can't have the same cake twice?

All that being said, whether you take your mother out for brunch or make her some scrumptious Mother's Day desserts at home, what's really important is the love and effort you put into making the day special.