I may not be the greatest cook in the world, but in my heart, I strive to prepare only the best meal for my family.  Recently, my son celebrated his 4th birthday.  Unlike his previous birthday parties where I would have the food catered by someone else, this year I decided to cook.  I thought I'd cook spaghetti for it was something I was confident to prepare on my own. 


photo credits: Savory Spaghetti Sauce Recipe -


I guess it’s also safe to say that cooking spaghetti is a family legacy. My mom’s recipe for spaghetti is a personal favorite of mine.  No birthday or family gathering is ever complete without my mom’s home-cooked spaghetti.       


From the time I was listing down the ingredients, to the actual cooking, up to the very moment of serving my specialty to our guests… I never felt this fulfilled as a mom.


This is not the first time I cooked spaghetti.  But it was the first time I prepared something on my own and with so much love and effort for a very special occasion.  It was to celebrate one the greatest gifts I ever received in my life – my son, Miguel. 


My husband and I struggled to get pregnant.  My first pregnancy ended with miscarriage at 3 months.  Then it took 2 years after that before I got pregnant once again and finally gave birth to a healthy baby boy.  The moment I gave birth to my son, my life had never been the same.


This is why his birthdays never fail to make me sentimental.  This occasion would often remind me of years of prayer finally answered… years of tears transformed into joy… years of hoping finally becoming a reality.


And so, for every slice, every blend, every chop, every stir, I realized that only a mother’s love can bring out the best - even at times not perfect - taste in any dish.  


A mom’s recipe for love is and will always be the best:


It contains only the choicest ingredients.  UNDERSTANDING, PATIENCE, PURE JOY and SELFLESSNESS are just some of the priceless ingredients essential to complete a mom’s recipe for love.   


Precious amount of time is devoted.  Cooking requires essential amount of time.  In the same manner, a mother would be willing to devote quality moments to share with her children. 


All the essential factors had to be precise in order to achieve the desired taste.  Each measure, the right heat, all equipment cleaned, ingredients blended to perfection… in cooking, we need to be sure that we follow the right instructions.  In a mother’s recipe book, there are no exact rules to follow in order to give the perfect love.  But a mom’s natural maternal instinct never fails to know what her child needs the precise moment he needed it.


Aimed to cook until Al Dente, “firm and full to the bite”.  This is the perfect pasta – Al Dente.  A mother’s love is tender yet firm to discipline.  It can be “full to the bite”, willing to sacrifice and endure all for the sake of her children. 


Nothing could ever compare to the savory aroma it gives. A mother’s love attracts and exercises all senses.  The beauty and scent it exudes is coming straight from her heart.


Finally, it is served warm and appetizing to the one who gets to eat it.  Nothing beats the hunger we wish to satisfy the moment we think of a warm, presentable, appetizing home-cooked dish. A mother’s love is something any child would desire and crave for.  It is filled with genuine beauty behind every look of love, warmth with every hug and music behind every loving word.    


Indeed, a mother’s love is like cooking spaghetti… In my effort to prepare only the best for my son’s birthday, I was reminded never to forget the most important ingredient of all – LOVE. 


*Samantha Catabas Manuel

Coffee Moments with Sam -






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