Karen’s grandmother’s relish recipe

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There are some recipes I make that are always accompanied by the absurd urge to announce the making thereof… not to the world at large (billboard on Times Square? instagram post?), but specifically to the person whose name is at the top of the recipe card.

It happened yesterday when I made Oma Shelley’s most awesome chocolate chip cookies. It used to happen whenever I made chocolate chip cookies using the recipe my brother wrote out in has craggy handwriting. It happens when I make Kalmia’s quickles, and when I open Lisa Ankeny’s bread and butter pickles, and don’t die of botulism, I will text her an announcement. My favourite recipes are the ones that I got to experience first in my mouth, made by someone else, and when I proclaimed, “that is amazing! Can I have the recipe?” was generously handed the keys to the kingdom… So, when I shuffle through the recipe cards, I am reminded of the time Uncle Jer stayed with us and made that amazing mushroom salad and then agreed to write out his secrets on a notecard, and of the bookclub night that Sharkey hosted, serving a cornbread that bowled me away, and has replaced my previous cornmeal bread staple completely.

If the secret to saving the world, to becoming more whole, to stepping back from the brink of climate emergency, is (as I suspect) becoming less creatures of extraction and transaction, and more beings of relationships – then everything that we do, that helps us be and feel more relational, is worth calling out and celebrating. So, sharing recipes, and making things, and random-texting acquaintances years after they shared a recipe, is my way of being in relationship, of repairing the web, of sitting with the great big net that is cast out across the cosmos, in which we are little nodes, and strengthening the threads.

So if you make Karen’s grandmother’s relish this year, or next, or 10 years from now, why not let her know?

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