Mother’s Day is less than two weeks away. It’s a bittersweet time of year for me as my mother is riddled with Alzheimer’s Disease and living in a facility more than 2,500 miles away. I miss her terribly. And, I haven’t seen her in over a year. It requires buying a ticket, hiring a nanny for the boys and renting a car. Even if I do manage all of that, I know that she won’t remember our visit and may not remember me as well. I know I’m being selfish, but I just want to talk with her about so many things. I don’t speak (or write) about my mother very much, so it’s always amazing when someone reaches out in a touching way. Out of the blue, a month ago, my former mother-in-law sent me my mother’s summer squash casserole recipe. She taped the original card, in my mom’s hand-writing, onto a page of paper with the note: “Remember this? Our trip to Ennis? This is SO Speical! SO good!”
It was beyond thoughtful of Barbara to think of me. I haven’t seen my mother’s handwriting in years. Holding the card I felt tears spring to my eyes. We had taken a trip to Montana together in 2002 with her husband, Bill, and all of his children. My mother, who began showing the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s during this trip, made this dish one evening, then gave the recipe to Barbara. My mom now can’t write, nor can she cook. Sending me this recipe reminded me of the wonderful vacation we had together. It reminded me of how precious our time was then, and how I couldn’t have imagined how precarious life would soon be for both my mother and my father-in-law, who died three years later. It was such a wonderful holiday in the wide open spaces of Montana. My mother laughed as we all sat around the table in our cabin and she talked about her grandparents and her father, who grew up in Montana. We took hikes together, drinking in the vistas of the mountains with September snow on the tops and the enormous Sandhill Cranes dotting the fields nearby. She helped me with my son, who was then one. I’ve placed this recipe in my homemade binder that will someday be a cookbook for my kids. It’s filled with hand-written recipes that represent lots of love and good times. In today’s digital world, I find it amazingly special to have a book filled with hand-written recipes and notes. I may be nostalgic, I admit. And, it’s highly likely that not both of my boys will appreciate it—but putting it together helps me think about the good times together, rather than the times we can no longer have. It’s also a way to leave a legacy or traditions behind. So this year, I’ll present one snapshot of a mom’s legacy each day until Mother’s Day.
I hope you enjoy this simple recipe. (But aren’t the best things in life usually simple?) It’s even better with home-grown, summer squash from the garden!
Summer Squash Casserole
From the Kitchen of Mary Ann Roe
- 8 to 10 young green zucchini and yellow squash
- 1 medium sweet onion
- 1 cup chopped chedar cheese
- Bag of seasoned breadcrumbs
Slice squash into 1/4 inch pieces. Dice the onion. Saute onion in a small amount of light cooking oil or olive oil until soft. Add yellow squash and saute until soft, then add zucchini and saute briefly. Turn heat off and add half the cheese and toss with the hot squash. Place in a baking dish or a 9 x 12″ pan and top with remaining cheese and bread crumbs. Bake in pre-heated oven of 325 degrees for 30 minutes.