My mother’s name was Rose. When I started first grade I immediately became friends with twin girls, Janet and Roseann, and their mother’s name was Rose, too. We spent countless days and nights over the next 12 years hanging out at each other’s houses and we always had one Rose or another watching over us.
The twins’ mother, Rose, was born in Italy and came from a large family. Rose loved to cook for and feed the masses – grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and kids like me – who seemed to wander in and out of her home with some frequency. Every Sunday for lunch she made pepperoni pizza from scratch.
After graduation I stayed in touch with the girls and often saw them and their mom when I came home to visit my own folks. When Mom passed away in 1989, Rose was at her funeral and we’ve seen each other many, many times in the last 20-plus years.
In August, while I was in San Pedro for my aunt’s birthday, I visited Rose. She was always a diminutive woman – not even 5 feet tall – but now she seemed smaller and frail. She wore a heavy knit cap even though it was summer.
Rose has been battling cancer. She’s been on and off chemo, and on again. Her daughters took her to New England last month to see the fall colors and I know it was a bittersweet trip for them. No one wants to verbalize it, but everyone knows it might be their last trip together.
So what does this have to do with granola? When I went on my annual girlfriends’ weekend in September, I brought along some of my homemade granola. Roseann liked it so much, she took the leftovers home. A week or so later, she called and asked for the recipe, but it was easier for me to make a batch and mail it to her than sit down and figure out the recipe. For years now I’ve been improvising, improving the granola with age.
I’ve mailed granola to Roseann twice in the last two months. She called last week and said she really needed the recipe. Rose had discovered the granola and loved it and asked Roseann where she bought it. Roseann told her I made it and Rose wanted the recipe.
I’d do anything for Rose, and that includes sitting down and figuring out what exactly goes into my granola, the amounts and how long to bake it. It started with some recipe a long time ago, but it’s morphed into a freestyle nut-and-seed adventure that comes out a little differently, yet very much the same, each time I make it.
So, for Rose and for you:
Remember: mix can be customized. Use your favorite nuts balanced out with oats. All nuts are unroasted, unsalted.
Reach Michele Thomas, the Del Norte Triplicate’s publisher, at email@example.com, 464-2141 or stop by 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays.