I don’t have a lot of memories of Grandma, most of them have to do with birthday shopping or cooking.

I remember she’d plan these grand feasts (at least that’s how I saw it) for holidays. My dad’s siblings would all come plus our family of six. The dining room table was extended to fit us all. A beautiful white table cloth, cloth napkins with fancy rings, genuine silverware and serving dishes sparkled beautifully off the golden chandelier. Grandma taught us how to properly set a table and we got to drink our milk out of crystal cocktail or wine goblets. I felt like royalty! I think my siblings did, too.

As much as I remember the formal settings and intimate family fun, the memories that stand out the most are ones just shared between just Grandma and I.

With our grandparents in Grandma's garden, c. 1990.
With our grandparents, about 1990.

When I was very little, she took me to the mall to get an outfit for my birthday. I don’t know if she gave me too many sweets or if I was just overexcited, but I remember vomiting all over her car and my brand new outfit on the way back to her house. I don’t remember Grandma getting upset about it — I was a sensitive kid, I would’ve remembered getting yelled at on my birthday.

Not much later, I remember waking up early at her house. It was just her and I in the kitchen and she was going to make me oatmeal. I was used to it being made with water and adding milk later. She said she had a better way, she boiled the oats in the milk!

I don’t remember if I liked it. I don’t remember any other breakfast with her, though I’m sure I had dozens with her and Grandpa. I don’t even know why I remember this moment so fondly. But I do and wanted to share it, just in case I forget it someday.

Here’s the recipe I think she followed:

  • Bring 1 cup milk to boil
  • Add ½ cup oats
  • (I did not add salt)
  • Turn heat down
  • Stir until thickens