Histories, traditions, and treats


Bri O'Dell


Students at West Ottawa are going to be trudging through six feet of snow,  wearing two jackets, hats, and gloves just to walk between buildings. With a phone in one hand and a homemade treat in the other, students will hustle between buildings to stay warm.

  Homemade recipes tend to come around during fall festivities as well as the holidays. Several students at WO have their own favorite recipes to make their gloomy, cold day a bit better with their families’ special recipes.

  Instructor Melanie Zwyghuizen has a personal recipe which she and her family cherish. Many have said that Zwyghuizen cinnamon rolls are “to die for”. Although Zwyghuizen receives credit for the cinnamon rolls, the actual recipe originated from her mother-in-law, Grandma Z. “Grandma Z made cinnamon rolls every Saturday morning with a pot of coffee,” Zwyghuizen said. Like many families, the Zwyghuizen family meets up after big events/holidays such as Memorial Day, Christmas, and parades. “We typically eat Grandma’s cinnamon rolls after a big event or when the family is gathered…it would be totally weird if Grandma Z’s cinnamon rolls weren’t at the family gathering,” Zwyghuizen said. From what Zwyghuizen mentioned, Grandma’s cinnamon rolls aren’t easy to make.Unlike most other cinnamon rolls, Grandma Z’s were all homemade. “The ingredients are all natural and homemade…Frosting, dough and ingredients [are] all made from hand,” Zwyghuizen said.Before grandma died, she passed the recipe down to her special relatives and hopefully they continue the tradition for many years to come.

  Sr. Samantha Modrzynski has a special recipe of her own: Grandma’s banana bread. Grandma’s banana bread began when she was a little girl. Her mom began the recipe. “My grandma’s mom gave her the recipe and Grandma has been making it since,” Modrzynski said. Unlike Instructor Zwyghuizen, Grandma’s banana bread is eaten  whenever and wherever. “Whenever we go over there she will always make us fresh banana bread or if we’re having a rough week she will give us a fresh loaf to take home,” Modrzynski said.  Although Grandma’s banana bread is eaten frequently, it still holds a special place in Modrzynski’ heart. “I have the recipe to her bread, but it doesn’t taste the same. Only Grandma can make it correctly,”Modrzynski said. Grandma’s banana bread is one of a kind. She makes it her way, when family and friends step foot in her kitchen on baking day, everyone knows that Grandma is making her banana bread. “ You can tell when my Grandma makes it because the aroma of banana fills up the whole house,”Modrzynski said. You also always know it’s Grandma’s bread because of the taste and texture.“When it is done and warm you can cut it and spread butter on it and it is sweet and good,”Modrzynski said. Grandma’s banana bread sounds scrumptious. We all have our favorite kinds of sweet treats but Grandma’s banana bread is one of a kind.

  Students at WO have delightful recipes that hold a special place in their hearts, However; the last two recipes mentioned are homemade by a grandparent. Sr. Max Garcia has his own recipe that he makes himself. “My Ribeye steak with mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese is my favorite,”Garcia said.  Anyone can make a ribeye steak and mash up some potatoes and whip together some macaroni and cheese, but not everyone can make it the way Garcia makes it. “I marinate the meat for about a day with all different types of seasoning… I try different types of marinade every time,”Garcia said. Due to the fact Garcia varies in his marinade, few can make a savory steak like his. Garcia takes pride in his ribeye steak, not only because he puts in the time and effort to make it delicious but because it’s special to him and his dad. “..my dad taught me how to grill,” Garcia said. Learning to grill from a parent is a memory that should be cherished forever. Garcia makes the ribeye steak while his mom makes mashed potatoes. “ I don’t know what she puts in them, they’re just good” Garcia said. Maybe Garcia’s Mom adds a dash of love and a sprinkle of happiness to complete the appetizing homemade mashed potatoes. The most difficult part of the recipe is making the macaroni and cheese. The process of boiling water and pouring shell noodles in a pot is tedious. Not to mention the exhausting measurements of milk and butter to stir into the noodles. “Velveeta mac and cheese is the bomb!” Garcia said. The steak and potatoes may be difficult but the macaroni and cheese,not so much.  

  From grandma’s homemade recipe to a savory ribeye steak, WOHS is full of recipes. Almost every student has a recipe containing a unique story. When walking through the halls and you notice a different but delightful scent, take a minute and ask what and where their special treat came from.