My Mother Wasn’t A Great Cook: David Sedaris + Others on Their Moms

By Fiesta Farms

/May 14 2023

A selection of quotes, everyone from David Sedaris to Larry David, celebrating their moms and the food they made, whether expert or inept, and always with the best secret ingredient – love.

Sending our best to all the moms out there on this beautiful Mother’s Day Sunday.


Beyoncé and her mom.


“I come from a family where gravy is considered a beverage.” – Zach Galifianakis

“My mother wasn’t a great cook, but she was a great reheater. She was famous for taking leftovers and turning them into something completely different. She’d take last night’s chicken and make it into chicken salad, or turn leftover spaghetti into spaghetti pie. And she was always experimenting with new recipes, trying to find something that we would all like. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t. My mother once served us a cake that was so dry, we had to eat it over the sink. She was always trying to make something out of nothing, and that’s a lesson that has stayed with me my whole life.” – David Sedaris


David Sedaris (rear) and his mother. Photo courtesy of the New Yorker.


“My mom is old school. She doesn’t believe in measuring cups or teaspoons. She’s like, ‘Just throw in some of this and some of that and it’ll be fine!’ And you know what? It usually is. But one time, she made this cake and it was so dry, I was like, ‘Mom, did you use flour or sand?’ And she was like, ‘What’s the difference?’ That’s when I knew I had to start cooking for myself.” – Leslie Jones



“My mother cooked like it was World War II. There was never enough food. You’d ask for more, and she’d say, ‘What, you want to be a pig?’ And the portions were so small, they should have been called hors d’oeuvres. It was like, ‘Oh, great, we’re having chicken for dinner. Again.’ But you know what they say, ‘Hunger is the best sauce.’ And in my house, we were always starving, so everything tasted amazing.” – Larry David


Ruth Reichl and her mother Miriam.


“My mother taught me everything I know about food. For her, cooking was a way of showing love, and it always felt like a special treat to sit down at her table. I still think of her every time I cook, and I’m so grateful for everything she taught me.” – Ruth Reichl

“I love food. It’s one of my favorite things. And my mother was a great cook, so I grew up with really good food. I remember she would make this amazing spaghetti and meat sauce, and I could never figure out how she made it taste so good. It wasn’t until years later that I realized the secret ingredient was love. That’s the thing about food – it’s not just about the taste, it’s about the emotions and memories that it evokes. And that’s why I love doing my show ‘Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee’ – it’s a chance to have a good meal and a good conversation with someone you admire.”- Jerry Seinfeld

“My mother’s gumbo is one of the things that I absolutely love. I always have it for my birthday. She’s so precise with the seasoning, and she knows exactly how long to cook it. And when I’m away from home, I always miss it so much. It’s just one of those dishes that always makes me feel like I’m home.” – Beyoncé

“Family lore has it that the only time my mother used the oven was to dry out a library book that had gotten wet in the rain.” – Calvin Trillin