'Mom' is a Mainstay in Missouri

May 10, 2019

For centuries, moms have inspired art, movies, music and more. They also have inspired some memorable places in Missouri. From ravioli to Route 66, you don't have to look far to find "mom" in the Show-Me State.

Moms and great food often go hand in hand, so it's no surprise to see their influence in culinary offerings across the state.

The mom behind Momma Mary's in Springfield frequently fed her growing family fry bread tacos made from a recipe she received from a Navajo friend. Mary's children now serve the traditional Navajo-style tacos, along with burritos, enchiladas, nachos and more, at a popular food truck named in honor of their mom.

At Mama Toscano's in St. Louis, handmade ravioli is still made the way "Nana Kate" did decades ago. The three-day process involves butchering and grinding the meat, mixing it with spices and other ingredients, and making the homemade dough. The wholesale and retail shop offers two types of the meat-filled pasta – one for boiling and the other for frying (St. Louis style). The shop also serves toasted ravioli and a variety of sandwiches to enjoy at an outdoor table or carry out.

At any one time, three to six "mommas and grand mommas" are busy baking homemade pies at Sugar Momma's in Hermann. The shop owner learned her pie-making skills from her own mom, known as the "pie queen" in nearby Rhineland, where she baked pies for a local restaurant. Housed in a historic building that was once home to the Ewald Bakery, Sugar Momma's makes more than 50 kinds of pie and offers old-fashioned candy, ice cream and gift items.

In addition to favorite dining spots, "mom" can also be found in some of Missouri's historic places.

As the first permanent European settlement west of the Mississippi River, Ste. Genevieve is known as the Mother of the West. The town's National Historic Landmark District is home to dozens of 18th and early 19th century buildings, many reflecting Missouri's French colonial history. Guided tours of the Felix Valle House, the Amourex House, the Bolduc House and others provide a glimpse into the community's colorful past.

Moms are a major focus at Hallmark, headquartered in Kansas City. The company has been making cards for Mother's Day – the country's third largest card-sending holiday – since the early 1920s. Tour the Hallmark Visitors Center to learn about the teenager who turned two shoeboxes of postcards into a billion-dollar brand.

Route 66 – famously called the Mother Road by author John Steinbeck – heralded the age of cross-country travel. As one of the original U.S. highways, and the first to be completely paved, the road ran through eight states – from Chicago to Los Angeles – and spurred the growth of many mom (and pop) businesses, including service stations, restaurants and motels. But it was in Springfield, Missouri, in 1926 that the highway was officially named.

In Springfield, take a tour at Mother's Brewing Company where the craft beer is "brewed with love" in a renovated bread factory located on old Route 66. Stop by the tasting room and check out the shady backyard where you'll find lawn games, live music and special events, including a Mother's Day Festival and Car Show.

Written by Liz Coleman

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