When I think of May, I think of flowers in bloom, the garden club tours, the flower shows and 2 events that are known for flowers. The first is Mother’s Day which historically is associated with wearing a white carnation and the second is the Kentucky Derby, known as “The Run for the Roses”.
Mothers around the world celebrate Mothers in varying ways and at different times of the year. These celebrations can be traced back to the ancient Greeks and Romans who held festivals in honor of the mother goddesses Rhea and Cybele and the early Christian festival “Mothering Sunday”. In the UK and most of Europe this celebration fell on the 4th Sunday in Lent where people would return to their “mother church”. This evolved into a more secular celebration and somewhat merged into the American Mother’s Day in the 1930’s and 1940’s which is celebrated the 2nd Sunday in May.
The origins of Mother’s Day in the US date back to the 19th century when Ann Reeves Jarvis of West Virginia started “Mothers’ Day Work Clubs” to teach local women how to properly care for their children. And Julia Ward Howe wrote the “Mother’s Day Proclamation” in1870. The official Mother’s Day holiday arose in the 1900s as a result of Anna Jarvis, the daughter of Ann Reeves Jarvis, amazingly she remained unmarried and childless her whole life. By 1912 many states, towns, and churches adopted Mother’s Day as an annual holiday where woman wore a white carnation. By 1920 she was disgusted with how the holiday had been commercialized and denounced the transformation and urged people to stop buying flowers, cards, and candies!!! She was a woman ahead of her time.
The Kentucky Derby takes place on the first Saturday in May and is the longest continually held sporting event in America. It is run at Churchill Downs in Louisville where there is a week of celebrating and races. Women have played an active role in the Derby; in 1904 Mrs. Laska Durnell owned Elwood who was also bred by a woman, Mrs. J.B. Prather. Mrs. Durnell didn’t inform her husband that she nominated Elwood to the Derby and it was especially fortunate that he won as the longest price in the field of five. To date, no woman has won the Derby though six women have ridden in the event, though not this year.
We all have Mother’s and many of us are Mothers and Grandmothers, so we all have celebrated Mother’s Day at some point in our lives. We have a wonderful community of Women in UPWC so we can celebrate the women friends that we have every day, we don’t need to have a special day to say “Thank You for being my friend”.
I have been fortunate enough to get dressed up including the fancy hat and attend the Derby in Louisville, and what a party it was. Never enough hats and flowers and mint julips! This year Gary and I shall be watching the Derby with dear friends from Louisville sharing the tradition of (yes again) mint julips and Hot Browns.
I hope that you enjoy your May, take time to smell the flowers, and I look forward to seeing many of you at our June luncheon at the Art Ovation Hotel. The following recipe is for the original Hot Brown Recipe from the Brown Hotel where it was invented in 1926. Enjoy…..
The Brown Hotel
In a two‑quart saucepan, melt butter and slowly whisk in flour until combined and forms a thick paste (roux). Continue to cook roux for two minutes over medium‑low heat, stirring frequently. Whisk heavy cream and whole milk into the roux and cook over medium heat until the cream begins to simmer, about 2‑3 minutes. Remove sauce from heat and slowly whisk in Pecorino Romano cheese until the Mornay sauce is smooth. Add nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste.
For each Hot Brown, place two slices of toast with the crusts cut off in an oven safe dish – one slice is cut in half corner to corner to make two triangles and the other slice is left in a square shape - then cover with 7 ounces of turkey. Take the two halves of Roma tomato and two toast points and set them alongside the base of the turkey and toast. Next, pour one half of the Mornay sauce to completely cover the dish. Sprinkle with additional Pecorino Romano cheese. Place the entire dish under a broiler until cheese begins to brown and bubble. Remove from broiler, cross two pieces of crispy bacon on top, sprinkle with paprika and parsley, and serve immediately.