A Heritage of Joy (of Cooking)

My maternal grandmother immigrated to Canada from Slovakia in 1938. She was thirteen years old.

Over the years, she learned English, developed deep and meaningful friendships with other immigrant children, and learned how to be a homemaker before marrying my grandfather, who was also from Slovakia.

When I was born, I was her first granddaughter, and she made it her mission to teach me everything she knew. And she knew a lot! She taught me how to sew, crochet, knit, bake, cook, garden, blow a bubble with bubble gum, do my multiplication tables, and shop for a bargain. I’ve held on tight to all of the lessons I learned from her, but one that stands out as especially significant is her joy for preparing food.

When she died in 2006, I was lucky enough to inherit her beloved copy of The Joy of Cooking (35th edition) by Irma S. Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker. I love this book so much!

Goose Dinner

I love reading all the slips of paper and handwritten notes stuffed between the pages.

Joy of Cooking well-used page

And I love looking at the well-worn pages, stained with splashes from her cooking. It’s pretty obvious that the pies were popular in our family!

Not only did my grandmother teach me how to use recipes from her beloved cookbook, but she also taught me joy. She shared with me her passion for preparing quality food. She taught me how to take the time to make things by hand, why it matters, and how to have fun with the minutia of cooking and baking. She taught me how and why it’s important to take pride in my work.

In 2011, I self-published a collection of Grandma’s recipes (with photos and stories) called From Grandma’s Kitchen. It was a beautiful experience, pouring through her cookbooks and scrapbooks, then reflecting upon my memories with her before compiling a single collection. The book is available to read for free online—you’re welcome to look!

Grandmothers Kitchen

Starting this blog has been a pleasant reminder of my first foray into self-publishing. I never intended the book to be a money-maker; it was always about preserving our family’s personal history and a means to share the treasures with them. In fact, the book is sold through bookemon.com at cost, without a penny for my own profit, which suits me fine.

And frankly, this blog isn’t about making money either. I have no idea how to monetize it, nor am I interested in pursuing that. So then, what are my intentions? I think I’ll have to explore that further with some writing…

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