Both of my grandmothers (My Rosies) were wonderful cooks. I was assured a good tasty meal any Sunday of the year and especially on the holidays. I watched them cook for years and stood up in confidence when I thought it was time for the recipes to be passed down. I asked questions and watched and never received a straight answer about anything.
“Grandmama, how much sugar do you put in your peach cobbler?” “Until it’s sweet enough.” “Grandmama, what’s the ingredient in the cake, I can’t figure it out.” “Baby, I just use whatever is in the pantry.”
“Mama, how do you get your ham so tender.” “I just cook it right.”
“Mama, how many cheeses are in this mac and cheese.” “Whatever I had a taste for.”
When I finally received instruction, it normally went something like this,
“Baby, stop stirring so fast.”
“You need watch your food now.”
“You can’t play if you’re going to cook.”
“You need to be patient. This is cooking, not one of those racing things you do at school.”
When I started a family, I was determined to cook meals like my grandmother cooked for us. However, I didn’t want to spend hours in the kitchen. I looked at cookbook after cookbook trying to figure out quicker ways to make my meals. And even though they were decent, they never tasted as good as the meals my Rosies cooked. But one day, after a Thanksgiving dinner, my daddy looked at me with this biggest smile on his face and said, “This tastes like Mama’s sweet potato pie.” Man, I was so dang happy. You would have thought I won a cooking show that came with a million dollar prize. It took me so long to get that one pie right. I messed up at least two batches of filling over the two days I cooked. I stood on those ceramic tile floors so long my back was aching and my calves were straining. Him saying that made all of the pain melt away.
When I think about the time they took in cooking, I think about friendships. I went out with my sorority line sisters on Friday night (five out of six were present). We hugged and laughed and giggled all night, just like we did 27 years ago while we pledged. It was amazing to me how the many layers of life and time folded perfectly together in spite of the time apart. It was such an ease being around them that no questions were needed to clarify the recipe. We just knew what went where and why it was supposed to be there.
Friendships are like recipes. You may know the ingredients and even the instructions for a recipe. But it takes time to layer in everything to make it taste just right. With friends, we have to appreciate the layers of life; sometimes it won’t always feel right. But if you take the time, as I was instructed, and be patient with people, the outcome is wonderful. If you don’t run out of the kitchen, you get what we have:
27 years with ladies that know things about me that I don’t know about myself.
27 years with ladies who share memories that are grander than anything I could have envisioned when I walked into the room on the first night of Rush.
27 years of an unsaid bond that has spanned marriages, children, jobs, travels, losses, and gains.
So My Rosies, I have not been as good a cook as the two you were, but you taught me alot.
You two taught me the value of patience with people; to nurture relationships and not throw them away because of time, distance, or discord.
You two taught me that if something doesn’t taste (or feel) right, to keep working on it because one day, I just might get it right!
You two taught me that a recipe (friendship) that you can depend on will nurture and provide for years to come.