Nine years ago this September, my parents and I set off in the early morning hours down the interstate. Minneapolis — grad school + dietetic internship — or bust. Suitcases, boxes, and bags filled with far too many belongings for my new garden-level studio were deftly organized into the two cars by my father, our packing engineer. Thoughtfully, he left enough room for myself, a very large coffee, and a parting gift from my mother: her extra copy of The Fannie Farmer Cookbook.
Being in the kitchen is more than a passion and reminder of loved ones who helped make it so, but, for me, also a stress reliever. And though my subterranean shoebox boasted nothing beyond the basics — refrigerator, sink, an appropriately tiny gas oven/stove, and literally zero counter space — cooking, along with walks and the best café miel, was my delicious escape from reality. My smart mum, she just knew that Marion Cunningham’s classic would keep me well fed. And sane.
Fannie and I got on instantly, and she remains an anchor cookbook to this day. I have made so many of her recipes, both as printed and as variations on a theme, with honestly not one failure. Or at least not a failure on her part — burning my palm almost to the third degree on a metal skillet handle and destroying its contents was not instructed. The signs of heavy use are plain to see in the cracked spine (apologies, lots of love), spattered pages (decoration), scribbled notes (words of praise), and the occasional small cloud of flour that falls when opened to certain pages (baking pixie dust).