Sharon Shanky Hering, also known as “Ma Spanky” (it’s a long story!) was born in Portland in 1948 and still lives in the house her dad grew up in. Of Irish decent (her great grandparents came from County Cork), Sharon went to Madison high school and took a job with the phone company soon after. She started as an operator and worked her way up to manager of central office operations until her retirement in 2007.
She has three sons – a set of identical twins that are good friends of Chef Lisa and her partner Rob – one of whom co-owns Cupcake Jones bakery in the Pearl District. Since her mother hated to cook, Sharon started cooking when she was ten years old, mainly for survival.
She would stay at her grandparents’ house every weekend and loved the cookies and banana bread her grandfather baked for her religiously. When she got out on her own Sharon was happy to be able to experiment with new recipes and dishes, and took lots of cooking classes. Her favorite was with Jimella Lucas and Nanci Main (owners of the Ark Restaurant on Long Beach Peninsula). Sharon loves trying different foods, making it a point to eat regionally when traveling. When home it’s soups and salads Ma Spanky likes to make most (and has even placed in a contest or two!).
Ma Spanky absolutely loves all holidays, and decorates her entire house as well as herself in head-to-toe holiday décor. At Christmas, she clears away anything not bolted down (even pictures come off walls) and transforms her entire house into a winter wonderland. There are display cabinets with Santas, one with snowmen, and another with villages, to name a few. Be it Halloween, Christmas or St. Patrick’s day, Ma Spanky opens her house and serves food appropriate for the holiday (she laments her green mashed potatoes didn’t go over well on St. Patty’s day). Because Ma Spanky loves to feed people, she started a catering business called Edesia’s Savory Bites (named after the Roman goddess of the feast). Imagine how delighted she is to be our mother this month just thinking about how many people she’s feeding vicariously through her special menu!
Reuben Chopped Salad
shredded lettuce, cabbage & carrots, slow-cooked corned beef brisket, house made rye bread croutons, tomatoes, hardboiled eggs, red onions & thousand island dressing
“Painted Hills” Beef Shepherd’s Pie (gluten-free)
baked casserole filled with sautéed natural ground beef, onions, carrots, celery, peas & tomato, topped with mashed potatoes & smoked paprika
Stout-Braised Lamb Shank
lamb shanks braised with onions, baby carrots, oatmeal stout & red wine, served on a bed of colcannon potatoes (mashed potatoes with braised cabbage, sautéed onions, cheddar cheese & green onions)
Irish Cream Bread Pudding
hallah bread pudding with Bailey’s Irish Cream & rum, served with rum crème anglaise & caramel sauce
Ma Spanky’s Irish Coffee
Stumptown Mother’s Blend coffee with Jameson’s Irish whisky, Kahlua & Bailey’s Irish Cream, topped with whipped cream & a splash of crème de menthe