In 2007, three Silicon Valley moms juggling six kids and a full slate of children's activities decided to try something different: a playdate designed for both the kids and the grownups. We transformed our weekly playdate into a playful cooking experience: We took turns hosting and sharing culinary creations, favorite recipes, and a strong passion for food and friendship.
Our children are in school now and we find ourselves busier than ever. But Anna and Darienne still savor getting together with the kids and often their spouses to share good food and good company.
Sometimes the kids get involved in the kitchen. Occasionally they clean their plates, and many times they don't eat at all. Some days are utter chaos, with headachey moms and messy houses and squabbling children, and some days the kids play sweetly while the moms linger in the kitchen, chatting.
But always we play, each in our way, and always we come together around the table.
The result of this wonderful – and crazy – mother’s lunch is gathered here, in our recipes, stories, and tips. You don't need to be a stay-at-home parent or a gourmet chef to do this. You just need like-minded friends with a sense of humor and adventure. Believe us, any mom – even while carrying a baby in her arms – can cook.
Anna Muggiati was born in Brazil, where she witnessed her grandma planning all her family's meals. Later in life, she decided that she would rather be a journalist than a cook (or a mom). She earned a bachelor's degree in journalism and a master's degree in international politics, and worked as a foreign correspondent in the United Kingdom and Israel. After 20 years taking care of the news, she is the mom of two boys and owner of Red Basket Personal Chef business, opened in October 2011.
A native of New England, Darienne Hosley Stewart appreciated growing up with home-cooked meals -- but had little interest in making them herself. Now her family laughs (kindly) at her domesticity. A longtime journalist, she now works as a freelance editor and writer in addition to her full-time parenting gig. Darienne enjoys making stuff, from growing carrots to building a play house to sewing skirts. And she's finally learning to cook.