"I'LL TELL you why I love it, because it's the best cheesecake in the whole world. It's going to change the shape of the world; it has 1 million callories in it," said Bella Abzug, mother of two daughters, former congresswoman from New York and currently president of Women USA.
"When I get on the radio and talk about very important things like world events, and happen to mention my cheesecake (actually, it's Fanny Abzug's, my mother-in-law's recipe), the next week I'll get 500 letters asking for the recipe . . .
Famous working mothers: The world knows they can write legislation, float across a dance stage or belt out a song. But, just like the rest of the world, they have homes and kitchens, family and friends, children who need bedside chats, and their favorite home-cooked meals. When there's time for it, that home-cooked meal become a private moment; a time to relax and think about things other than work. The family's favorite recipe is usually simple, straighforward and homey. These are dishes the children will remember as family traditions and cook themselves for years to come.
Unlike most juniors at Georgetown University, Pearl Bailey, mother of two, does her own cooking whether she is studying for exams or on tour. Her favorite recipe, according to road manager, E. B. Smith, is her own version of macaroni and cheese. The recipe is simple, but one regularly requested by her dinner guests. Bailey says she loves it "because it has all the ingredients of life in it." The "secret" ingredient she reveals in her cookbook, "Pearl's Kitchen," (Hbj Publishers) is "tons of cheese." For 2 pounds of cooked macaroni, Bailey uses up to 2 pounds of sharp cheddar cheese and 2 sticks of butter. Mix with salt, lots of pepper, cover with milk and bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours, stiring once.
Joan Lunden, of Abc's "Good Morning America," has hired a live-in housekeeper. But Lunden does almost all the cooking because "it's an outlet." Her workday begins at 4:30 a.m. and doesn't end until late afternoon when she goes home to play with her 9 1/2-month-old daughter and to cook. If someone unexpectedly shows up for dinner, she'll go to the cupboard and pull out the ingredients for her mother-in-law's broccoli puff. "I've been making them for a couple of years, they're quick and easy to do and they're always a hit with people." She mixes chopped broccoi with a can of cream of mushroom soup, 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, 2 eggs, 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 cup mayonnaise, sprinkles with butter breadcrumbs and bakes at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
Ann Buchwald, literary agent and mother of three, makes her rib roast with thyme and salt pork when the family gets together because it's the "least fussy" recipe she can make and still have time to visit. "You just put the timer on" and walk away. Of course before that, you rub a standing rib roast with the juice of a lemon, slip halves of garlic cloves into two slits in the roast, rub with thyme and freshly ground papper, and lay on top 10 to 12 thinly sliced slabs of salt pork. For leftovers "you can serve it hot or cold the next day or turn it into a delicious hash by cutting up the leftover meat and adding to it boiled potatoes, green pappers, onions, a little cream and butter," she added.
Karin Von Aroldingen, a principal dancer with the New York City Ballet, only cooks during the off-season. Her cooking serves a dual purpose, "I love it and it helps keep my daughter off junk food." Born and raised in Germany, Von Aroldingen has adapted her mother's recipe for pork stew to her own version of pork stew in sauerkraut, which she often serves to friends and on holidays.
Debby Boone's favorite home-cooked meals are put together by her husband, Gabriel Ferrer, who enjoys a reputation as an excellent cook. Boone does little of the cooking. "Sometimes I make eggs," she said, "but you just don't have too much incentive when you have someone around who can cook well. We don't eat regular meals at home because I'm always jumping around." However, on the rare occasions when Boone is home with her 10-month-old son, Jordan, she loves to eat Ferrer's chicken liver pate. The secret is in the apples, said Ferrer.
Then there's Gloria Davis, my mother -- famous in our family. Luckily, her favorite recipe is also mine. She makes these meaty crabcakes frequently during the summer -- when her work schedule allows -- and serves them on freshly toasted buns with plump, red tomato slices on the side.
Here are some recipes from these hardworking mothers: Bella ABZUG'S FABULOUS CHEESE CAKE (8 to 10 servings) 1 1/4 pounds pot cheese 1/4 pound cream cheese 1/4 pound farmer cheese 6 eggs, separated 2 tablespoons cornstarch 1 teaspoon vanilla 1/4 cup butter 1 cup sugar 1/2 cup sour cream 1 recipe your favorite graham cracker pie crust (optional)
Strain cheeses twice through colander, using bottom of glass, or process in food processor. Add egg yolks, cornstarch, vanilla, butter, sugar, sour cream and beat until light. Beat egg whites until stiff. Fold in well. Put in 9- 10-inch springform pan with a graham cracker base -- or well-buttered -- and bake in slow oven (about 300 degrees) for 1 hour. Turn off oven and let cake cool in oven with door closed for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Don't look or cake will fall. KARIN VON AROLDINGEN'S PORK STEW IN SAUERKRAUT (6 servings) 2 pounds sauerkraut 3/4 cup oil 2 bay leaves 1 pickle, chopped 1 apple, peeled, cored and chopped 1 cup dried mushrooms (pre-soaked in water for about 30 minutes) 2 tablespoons butter for sauteing 2 pounds pounds pork loin 1 large or 2 medium onions, chopped Salt, pepper and paprika, to taste 1 tablespoon caraway seeds (optional)
Wash sauerkraut in hot water until all vinegar is rinsed out, then dry. Put in saucepan, pour oil over it and add bay leaves, chopped pickle and apple. Cook over low flame for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. While the sauerkraut is cooking, chop mushrooms finely, then saute them in butter. Cube the pork loin. Add pork and onions to the mushrooms and brown. Season to taste with salt, pepper and paprika. Add the meat mixture to the sauerkraut and cook until pork is tender. Add caraway if desired. DEBBY BOONE'S FAVORITE CHICKEN LIVER PATE (As cooked by husband Gabriel Ferrer) (Makes 2 cups) 1 pound chicken livers 1/4 cup butter or margarine 1 small clove garlic, coarsely chopped 1 small onion, coarsely chopped 1 apple, peeled, cored and coarsely chopped 1/2 cup light cream 1 tablespoon lemon juice 1 teaspoon salt Dash each allspice, cloves, nutmeg, pepper Brandy (optional)
Clean and dry livers on paper towel. Cut into small pieces. In 10-inch skillet saute livers in melted butter until they lose their pink color. Stir occasionally. In a food processor or by hand coarsely chop garlic, onion and apple. Add to livers and cook about 5 minutes. Place mixture in food processor or blender jar. Pour cream into skillet; stir to combine with pan juices. Pour over livers. Add lemon juice, seasonings and brandy. Process until smooth, about 1 minute. Pour into a 2-cup crock or serving dish. Cover pate with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Serve with assorted crackers. ROSE KENNEDY'S CAPE COD FISH CHOWDER (About 8 servings)
A favorite of the first lady of the Kennedys, and of the entire family. 2 pounds haddock 2 ounces salt pork, diced, or 2 tablespoons shortening 2 onions, sliced 4 large potatoes, diced 1 cup chopped celery 1 bay leaf, crumbled 1 teaspoon salt freshly ground black pepper 1 quart milk 2 tablespoons butter
Simmer haddock in 2 cups water for 15 minutes. Drain and reserve broth. Remove fish from bones. Saute diced pork until crisp, remove and set aside. Saute onions in pork (or shortening) until golden brown. Return pork to pan with potatoes, celery, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Pour in fish broth plus enough boiling water to make 3 cups liquid. Simmer for 30 minutes. Add fish, milk and butter and simmer for 5 minutes. GLORIA DAVIS' MARYLAND CRABCAKES (Makes 6 crabcakes) 2 eggs 2 slices white bread, cut into 1/2-inch pieces 1 pound crabmeat 1 tablespoon mayonnaise 1 teaspoon dijon mustard 1 teaspoon horseradish Parsley, minced Salt and pepper to taste 1 tablespoon butter, for frying 4 soft rolls for serving
Mix together eggs and bread. Add remaining ingredients, except butter, and mold into 6 patties. Melt butter in frying pan over medium heat and fry crabcakes on both sides until golden brown. Serve on warmed rolls.