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Holly Ebel: Show Mom you care

May 8, 2019 GMT

Don’t believe it when she says she doesn’t want anything for Mother’s Day. She does. Plus, wouldn’t you feel guilty if you didn’t acknowledge the day in some way?

The easiest is to order a spring bouquet, always welcome and appreciated. If that doesn’t appeal to you, there are other avenues to explore for fun, useful and appropriate gifts.

To get some ideas I recently covered all sorts of “gift” bases from Williams-Sonoma in Minneapolis to several options here in town — Hunt’s Drug, Counterpoint, the Nordic Shop, Macy’s and Barnes and Noble. (Does she really need another cookbook? Yes. See below.)


What’s more, I prowled the aisles at local grocery stores, T.J. Maxx and the farmers market.

Here are a few suggestions:

The Instant Pot still rules, especially at kitchen store Williams-Sonoma, where the store manager assured me they are still a big seller. Spoiler alert: There are some who say theirs is gathering dust next to their bread machine, though others — my brother included — swear by it. Ask yourself if she would use it, then decide.

On the other hand, food items always are appreciated and you can get very creative in what you choose. A collection of sea salts can bring some interesting and different tastes. Saltverk, a Scandinavian company, has an interesting variety including birch-smoked, lava and licorice (Amazon).

Closer to home, look in Counterpoint at the Shops at University Square. If you stop in the second floor shop, you could easily have a challenging time choosing — there are shelves and shelves of food items and gadgets as well as high-end home and kitchen accessories. You likely won’t walk out empty-handed and your mission will be accomplished.

Is coffee a favorite beverage? She might enjoy a French coffee press, a very cosmopolitan and easy way to brew a cup or two. A collection of coffees, along with the press or on their own, is also an idea. Maybe add a coffee mug.

A really good bottle of olive oil makes a fine and useful present. Just make sure it’s cold-pressed and extra virgin. Local markets have large and interesting selections — check out what’s available at Peoples Food Coop and the new Hy-Vee on West Circle Drive.

What caught my eye was an Italian import at Williams-Sonoma, packaged in a decorative bottle showing fish or an octopus painted on the outside. (Pricey at $39.96.) You could also add a good balsamic vinegar or one or more fruit blend vinegars, all of which take a salad up a notch.


Other thoughts: A celebration box with a bottle of Mom’s favorite wine, a few snacks, maybe cocktail napkins and a bag of popcorn from Carroll’s Corn in the Subway. A cook can always use a few new wooden spoons or spatulas.

Nordic Ware has an emoji pancake griddle with smiley faces ($26), a fun addition. Kitchen towels? We all need fresh, unstained ones. You can pick these up everywhere, from Hunt’s Drug to T.J. Maxx. A popular gift are those Swedish dishcloths at The Nordic Shop for just $7.

Sheryl Ness, a local woman, has a lovely book just out, “Love in a Tuscan Kitchen.” A memoir, it includes authentic recipes from that region provided by her chef husband. A feature on her is coming in a few weeks, but in the meantime that book is one that Mom will surely enjoy.

And finally, one last place to search out a treasure or two: the Rochester Farmer’s Market. You can put together jams, jellies, cheeses, flowers, soaps or lotions and if you come across morels, a half-pound of those would likely make you her favorite child.