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  • Writer's picturelaura turbow

Nana Minnie’s Recipes

A little yellow lined notebook, frayed at the edges, rests on the top shelf of my closet, as if asleep. But when I feast my eyes on its faded pages, it awakens a deep place inside of me, brimming with memories. My Nana Minnie is on my mind during this time of pandemic. We are going back to basics -- cooking, cleaning, sewing, savoring milk, eggs, and simple pleasures. Nana Minnie broke the mold when it came to appreciating the basics and keeping a fastidious home. During her long life of 106 years, she endured years of personal and collective suffering -- the loss of her mother as a young girl, poverty, war and antisemitism. Oh how I wish I could sit close to her now and ask for advice. Nana, how did you endure fear, loneliness, pain, hard work and sorrow? How did you keep your head held high, and your energy flowing, and your abiding deep gratitude for life?

This recipe book awakens memories of picking weeds in Nana’s garden, of her in a crisp blue apron standing over a pot of vegetable soup, of a predictable dinner table offering cheese blintzes and blueberry jam, of weekly Sunday brunches between a granddaughter and grandmother sharing our lives over omelettes, of a hard working, practical, meticulous, giving, loving woman who cherished me to my core.

The irony is, through this awful pandemic, I feel like I’m getting to know my Nana even better -- her commitment to structure and schedules, her morning exercise routine, her weekly card club, her resolute volunteerism, her nightly prayers. For this deepened sense of closeness, I am forever grateful.


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