Dear Mom:

Besides wishing you a Happy Mother's Day, I'm writing to reassure you that I've been eating breakfast. Just don't worry so much about your single cook.

[Besides wishing you a Happy Mother's Day, I'm writing to reassure you that I've been eating breakfast. Sometimes I have leftover Chinese food, such as egg rolls, or maybe pizza. Just be happy you don't know the half of the habits of your single cook.]

And yes, I've been chewing slowly and digesting my food.

[At least I try to walk slowly as I eat my carryout frozen yogurt lunch. As for dinner, I'm starved when I get home from work, Mom. So if I heat up food in the toaster oven for dinner, I eat it in interims as I test for doneness. Usually there are one or two bites of food left when the dish is finally hot. That's kind of like what my friend Bill does. He eats his vegetables as he cuts them up for a salad. He never ends up with a salad.]

By the way, thanks for the new Tupperware you bought me.

[Thanks -- but no thanks -- for the Tupperware. If you only knew what happened to the stuff you gave me last year, you never would have bought it for me again. I've lost practically all the lids, and the ones that are left don't go with the bottoms. The bottoms that match the tops I think I left at a series of potluck dinner parties. Mark ran over the cracker keeper when I accidentally left it on the hood of his car.]

You asked me on the phone if I had been cooking. Well, I've kind of been eating out a lot lately.

I have been eating out a lot lately -- lately for the past five years. You just don't understand that eating out isn't an occasion for single cooks. Eating at home is.

When I do eat at home, I usually just make something easy. You know, most single cooks don't make a big production about dinner.

[Making something easy at home usually means popcorn for me, Mom. For Mike, it means beer. And Lisa's favorite easy entree is chips and dip (once she had a banana pop for an hors d'oeuvre). Lisa was asked recently in the supermarket if she was having a party -- her cart was loaded with so much soda and frozen pizza. She wasn't.]

I've been trying to cut down on spending, but food is just more expensive here in Washington than it is back home.

[I've been trying to cut down on spending, but the most convenient market isn't always the cheapest market.]

Yes, I've been trying to plan ahead and freeze leftovers.

[Single cooks usually make their dinner plans standing in front of the supermarket case. Do you really expect me to make rusks out of the stale bread in the refrigerator or to slice whole roasts into TV dinner portions and freeze them? That's for practical people like moms.]

I've been looking for a kitchen table. There's just not much space in my tiny apartment.

[Table! Who needs a table? My lap is the perfect height for being able to eat and watch TV at the same time. See, Mom, when no one is around to see, you can eat potato salad with your hands, soup from the pot or drink milk from the carton -- and never wash off the mustache!]

The food you bought to stock up my refrigerator the last time you visited was a great help.

[I liked the food you bought to stock up my refrigerator so much that I still have it. What am I ever going to do with borscht? And don't you remember that I don't like foods with suspended raisins?]

Thanks for your recipe for Kiwi Cool Whip Pie. I'll think about serving it for dessert when I have company next week.

[Outsville, Mom. Nobody eats kiwi anymore. Even the Cleavers wouldn't eat Cool Whip.]

Which reminds me, about the company, I guess I'll have to do a little apartment cleaning.

[I guess I'll have to do a major cleaning before my company comes. You would be abashed to know that I sometimes leave dirty pots in the sink overnight, don't regularly wipe off the fingerprints from the refrigerator door and use cloth napkins for company, folding them in such a way to hide the splotches. Arlene says she often uses the same paper napkin over again. Not for company though, only for herself.]

Anyway, hope you have a nice Mother's Day. If you were here, I'd make you this for brunch. Honest. The Menu

Mimosas with Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice

Challah French Toast With Raspberry-Vanilla Sauce

Broiled Canadian Bacon

Italian Roast Coffee CHALLAH FRENCH TOAST WITH RASPBERRY-VANILLA SAUCE (4 servings)

2 large eggs, beaten

2/3 cup milk

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

4 thick slices challah

2 tablespoons butter or more if necessary

FOR THE SAUCE:

10-ounce package frozen raspberries, thawed

1 to 2 teaspoons vanilla

* Combine the eggs, milk and nutmeg in a bowl. Soak challah slices in batter for about 15 minutes. Melt butter in a skillet and add challah slices, cooking until golden brown on one side, about 5 minutes. Flip and cook on other side until golden brown.

To make sauce, pure'e thawed raspberries in a food processor blender. Add vanilla and process until combined. Serve over french toast.