A Recipe for Omelettes

Riley Hysell

Mama’s house was the only place I had omelettes. My parents didn’t have time to do things like that, not for breakfast anyway. Pouring cereal, peeling a banana, opening a Pop-Tart, and microwaving oatmeal were all school day morning rituals. But not omelettes. Never omelettes.

Every time my brothers and I would spend the night at Mama’s house she’d make me an omelette in the morning. She’d ask me if I wanted one, but it was more of a joke than an actual question. She knew I wanted one. I always did.

When Mama died she left boxes and boxes of recipes. A lot are handwritten on pineapple patterned recipe cards, some in black or blue pen, some in faded pencil. Her handwriting loops in strange ways that don’t fit with the way her voice sounds in my head. She smoked on and off, always quitting or planning on quitting, for her entire life. This handwriting is too smooth, too effortless, to have the unmistakable, comforting, smoky rasp that years of cigarettes had given her. This handwriting did nothing to capture her occasional lapse into a Tennessee twang, calling my brothers and I “y’all” or telling us about what she was “fixin’” to do.

Many of the recipes were collected from years’ worth of cookbooks and newspapers. In fact, some aren’t on the cards at all, but are just clippings, yellowed and limp, mostly cut from newspapers that Papa probably handed over to her reluctantly each morning. The clippings contain even less of her essence. Some of them are for things like French silk pie and buffalo wings. When did she ever make these? Who needs French silk pie when you have ambrosia salad, banana pudding, the crusted edges of brownies? Who needs buffalo wings when any spice you want can come from an excessive shake of black pepper?

 In the summer, we’d try to catch fireflies in the backyard using emptied spice jars she’d saved. Cooking was her art; it permeated every aspect of her life; even nights spent catching fireflies smelled like garlic powder or pumpkin pie, depending on what jar you grabbed. How could these recipe cards get her so wrong?

I’ve looked for a card with an omelette recipe. There isn’t one. I have a pretty good idea that it was nothing but eggs and American cheese, but it would have been nice to know for sure. I’d like to make an omelette like she could.

Riley Hysell is an emerging writer and an undergraduate student in an Integrated Language Arts Program working toward a teaching license.

Art: All Smiles by Kamila Kowalke. As a young child of Communist Poland in the early 1980’s, Kamila Kowalke had to find beauty and peace where it often did not exist. The challenges of being raised in that part of the world in a difficult and different generation began her search for the beauty in all things art. Now having lived in the United States since 1992, most of those in California where she achieved success as a business woman in a high-pressure career, she often found herself drifting back to a simpler life where the beauty, creativity and imagination were hidden in a society that shunned freedom and individualism. Today she is able to lose herself in her paintings and create a world as she sees it. One of joy and laughter and humility and appreciation for our amazing universe and all it has to offer. Art became Kamila’s lifeline to the realization of meaning and contentment… love and happiness… calm and peace… understanding and exploring. In art she finds a hidden value that was dormant within her for years. Art brings out her best ideas, sentiment and imagination as she brings to life a canvas filled with color, pattern and texture with new designs and discoveries to share with her audience. Exhibits:
2021 – Huntington Beach Art Center – Centered on the Center Exhibit. Interviews
Voyage LA – Rising Stars: Meet Kamila Kowalke – Voyage LA Magazine | LA City Guide
Shout Out LA – Meet Kamila Kowalke | Abstract Artist – SHOUTOUT LA

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