food should be made with olive oil and Jane

My friend Jane and I have been “kind of related” since the beginning of our friendship. Our friend, Paul, insisted we had been raised by the same woman when our college friends would tease us about how often our mothers would call us and what similar messages they’d leave, “Ya Tash, Mum.” “Hi Janie, Mom.” With their short brown hair, boundless energy, petite stature, thrifty nature and Dutch-Bingo proclivity, Mom and Sharon are a whole lot alike.

We shared an apartment our senior year of college. That’s the year Jane taught me how to cook. She was into extra virgin olive oil far before Rachel Ray and introduced me to the luxury/necessity that is minced garlic. Even now, most things I cook start with olive oil, onions, and garlic. The smell always brings me back to our tiny yellow kitchen with the big map. It’s one of the happiest smells of my life.

Then, in the nineties, our brothers (who were also close friends) married sisters. Now, in my Dutch-y town that’s not too crazy. In Madison, Wisconsin, where Jane now lives, this is a little nuts. She likes to talk about me not just as her best friend but as “my brother’s wife’s sister’s husband’s sister.” Oh, the wicked glee.

With a lake separating us, Jane and I don’t see each other as often as we’d like, but have started a new tradition. She comes here for the Race for the Cure, we go there for Memorial Day. Last Memorial Day, as I roamed around her house noting everything that had changed since the last time we were there, I noticed something wonderful. The plaque that I have hanging in my kitchen in green, she has in her kitchen in blue. The same one. Exactly…


OK, maybe that doesn’t seem so crazy, but here’s the kicker…
we each found them our respective favorite thrift stores.
Maybe we were raised by the same woman after all.