The following short was published in the October 2004 edition of The Nature of Writing News.
Notes From Afield
Remembrances of Roscos
Abuela was the consummate cook, the perfect grandmother from a Norman Rockwell painting. My early holiday memories are filled with the smells and tastes that came from her kitchen. Pumpkin pies, homemade pizza, enchiladas and a score of Christmas cookies. I especially remember the delicate, flaky donut-shaped roscos — cookies made chiefly from three ingredients: white wine, melted butter and flour. A teaspoon of anise seeds cooked in the melting butter and then discarded, as well as a final dusting of cinnamon sugar after the cookies baked, were the only other flavorings. One year, I ate so many, sneaking out of my bed at night to grab just a few more, that I earned the nickname “bottomless stomach.” I remember countless nights sitting at her kitchen table sharing holiday thoughts, a cup of tea with sugar and real cream and a couple of roscos before bed. Each flaky morsel, dunked into the tea and quickly removed, melted in my mouth like snowflakes in a California valley. Today, whenever I take out the cookie sheets or baking pans and create my own warm smells of home, I can’t help but feel like I’m channeling Abuela’s spirit.