Moms Make It Best


I don’t know what it is about food your mother makes for you, especially when it’s something anyone can make – pancakes, meat loaf, tuna salad – but it carries a certain taste of memory.”
– Mitch Albom

We all know it’s true … Moms are the best cooks! Just ask multi-award-winning local news anchor and journalist, David Custer. He recently self-published a cookbook entitled Moms Make It Best. And in his eyes, his own mom, Judy Custer, makes the best food.

How did he come up with the idea for a cookbook when he is not a chef or even a good cook? He would often tell others that his mom made the best food. “Friends would share with me how their mom had the best recipes – it was a recurring theme,” Custer says. “My favorite experiences involve gathering in the kitchen with loved ones. Great-tasting food brings people together.”

Last summer, Custer started the process of collecting recipes from his own family and other moms. He thought about all of the moms he knew who had recipes that have often been handed down generation to generation. “There are a lot of moms in my life who I have met along the way,” he remembers, “and I just started reaching out to them.” Each recipe includes the name of the person who contributed it to the book and a little about its history.

Custer finished compiling the cookbook in November 2022. He designed the cover art and did some of the food photography himself. Some of the moms who submitted recipes also provided photos of their featured dish. “My favorite part of this book is the stories behind their recipes,” says Custer, “and why it is so important to them.”


My favorite experiences involve gathering in the kitchen with loved ones. Great-tasting food brings people together.”
– David Custer

During the process, Custer also noticed that there are memories connected to family recipes, as well. “We all have fond memories of being in the kitchen with our family,” he says. “The recipes also speak of heritage and where a person came from.” An example of that is Daphne Deloren’s grandmother’s recipe for Turkish Burgers. “This is a recipe from my Turkish roots,” Deloren says in the book. “I felt so honored when my family let me make it during our summers in Turkey. I now make it for my husband and two boys and they love it!”

Judy Custer shared cherished family recipes that have been passed down through generations. The book includes recipes from all of Custer’s grandmas, great-grandmas and great-great grandma. “My great-grandma, a little Romanian lady, always had great recipes and she measured the ingredients with her hand. To replicate the recipe, my mom would make her stop so she could measure it,” he says with a smile. One of his favorite recipes is his great-grandma Martha McCoy’s Chicken & Dumpling Soup. “My mom makes it for me on my birthday.”

There are a lot of busy moms in the world and Custer included many recipes in the cookbook that are easy to replicate. “A lot of it is about convenience and being ‘quick and easy’ for busy moms,” he adds.


Judy Custer makes her grandmother’s Chicken & Dumpling Soup for David on his birthdays.


Moms Make It Best has recipes for soups and salads, main dishes, sides, appetizers and much more, and according to Custer – a lot of sweets and desserts. Although he claims he isn’t a good cook, he says he loves to eat. “Working the second shift, I don’t have a lot of time to cook, but I prep meals for the week and enjoy eating healthy.”The book does include one of Custer’s own recipes – a simple Hash Brown Casserole. “I always make it for Thanksgiving dinner.”

When he created his cookbook, his goal was to bring people together through the power of food. “That’s what is most important,” he says.


David’s Hash Brown Casserole is a Thanksgiving Dinner favorite.


Judy Custer has enjoyed being a part of her son’s creative efforts. “I love to cook!” she exclaims, adding that it runs in the family. “My grandma was an amazing cook and I got a lot of recipes from her.” And she says her son is quite a good cook, too. “He just won’t admit it,” she adds. What Judy loves best about the book is that it is all about family, friends and favorite recipes. “I love that part of it.”

What’s one of her son’s favorite dishes she makes? “He loves my meatloaf.”

It really is true. Moms DO make it best!


From Moms Make It Best:

Great Grandma Eva Nutz

“I never got the chance to meet this woman, as she is my great-great grandma. She came to the United States from Romania in the early 1900s. She was the mom of my great-grandma Martha who was very inspirational in creating this book. My “Granny” submitted this recipe and said it was her Grandma Eva’s recipe.”

Kifli Dough

  • 1 1/2 cups butter
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 eggs (yolk only, whites will be used later)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 pkg. dry yeast
  • 1 /2 cup lukewarm milk


  • 1 pound walnuts
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs (whites only)


Mix flour, butter and salt until pie crust dough begins to form. Add sour cream. Dissolve yeast in warm milk. Add to dough and let stand overnight.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Blend nuts, sugar and egg whites in blender for filling. Take 1 Tablespoon of dough and roll onto floured board into a 3×3-inch square. Place one full teaspoon of filling in center and fold like a crescent roll. Roll in powdered sugar and bake for 20 minutes on cookie sheet. Sprinkle with powdered sugar while hot.


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