Cookbook served family-styleBy Sheldon C. Good Mennonite World Review
In addition, the Grabers share recipes and menus for special occasions. Recipes include lemon-barbecued meat loaves, roasted sweet potatoes, naan bread, banana nut bread with Jamaica glaze, and strawberry pie.
“For years, our family has passed our favorite recipes back and forth, as we’ve been scattered all over the world,” Graber says in the book. “We are constantly learning to make the local dishes we love, no matter where we are.”
A food epiphany
Born in Hesston, Kan., Graber grew up during the Great Depression. Her family ate simple country cooking, often using ingredients from the garden. Meat was a luxury.
“My father insisted that the back of the chicken was his favorite, but I don’t think for a minute that it was,” she said while with Sibyl and Ann in Exton for a book-signing event.
Graber went to Hesston (Kan.) Academy and Hesston College and then Goshen (Ind.) College, where she majored in English.
“If I could have majored in art, I would have, but there wasn’t an art degree at that time,” she said.
At Goshen, the librarian suggested Graber illustrate books for Mennonite Publishing House. She took up the offer, and it was while working at MPH’s headquarters in Scottdale, Pa., that she had a “food epiphany.”
The woman who ran the lunch counter at MPH invited the 19-year-old over for a meal. Graber still remembers the green salad.
“I remember the shock of seeing those beautiful shrimp and avocado and wondering, how is this going to taste?” said Graber, who has been interested in food ever since. “For the first time I saw that you could make food like it was in a magazine.”
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