A post by Grannymar, an Irish blogger I read (because I like all things Irish), reminded me of my own scattered collection of recipes. Like her mother had, I have a clash of newspaper cut-outs, bits of pad paper with chicken-scratched recipes, and many others bearing other people’s handwriting: Mom, Teresa, Mme. Hamel, Mrs. Schulte, and so on. These signed recipes are like time-marks of my life, and each time I prepare them they remind me of the people who gave them to me, including yesterday’s feta, mint, black pepper and olive oil drizzled watermelon Mrs. Schulte showed me years ago.
Off I pranced to the post office to pick up a Christmas parcel a few years ago, and madly I tore open the box. I spotted a container of rolled oats, a packet of brown sugar, and Grandma’s carefully handwritten recipe for making oatmeal or soupane as we called it in French. Tears flooded my cheeks as she obviously knew this was a sweet spot for me. This was, by far, one of the most thoughtful gifts I have ever received at Christmas.
Firmly anchored in my head are childhood memories of Grandma making porridge on her woodstove. Whether it was for this reason or only because it was a treat from Grandma, that porridge was extra tasty. Of course the dark brown sugar and splash of whole milk helped.
The only problem now was finding an old woodstove to prepare it the way she did.