My paternal grandmother was a tough lady, and her name was Pearl. When she was a little girl, she was the first one on horses who hadn’t been broken and would ride the wild ones into haystacks to stop them. She was incredibly beautiful and went to Hollywood when she was young to be in movies, and eventually came home to the prairies and raised her family. She passed away when I was very young so we didn’t get to know each other well, but in the few memories I have of her she was teaching me to sew or cook at her house. It’s fitting that the one thing of hers I have is a box of recipes.

When I got my first apartment I started slowly exploring the recipes. Some are definitely from a different era and not to my taste (She wasn’t into vegan baking! Who knew!) but being guided by notes from the 1950’s and 1960’s has been a lovely way to learn. I’m still a much better baker than I am a cook- but I like that while she’s not part of my life in the normal way, my grandma was still there with me in the kitchen, teaching me how to make high bush cranberry jelly and her special kind of chocolate cake.