Reader's Digest

Grandma’s Slice of Love

- By Wade Rouse Illustrati­ons by Hallie Bateman

*Sometimes 100 words just aren’t enough!

palm Springs, california from Country Woman

Ispent a lot of my childhood in my grandma’s country kitchen. A vintage stove anchored one side of the room, while her sparkly countertop­s were topped by a bread box that held Little Debbies and Wonder Bread slices.

The most prized possession in her kitchen was her recipe box. A brilliant baker, my grandma cherished the burnished wood box jammed with beloved and secret family recipes, organized into different categories—pies, cakes, cookies, breads— and all written in her slanting cursive.

Her Formica dinette table provided a glamorous backdrop for her glorious fresh-fruit pies— strawberry rhubarb, blueberry, apple, cherry—the golden crusts decorated with a pretty S for her last name, Shipman, the only demonstrab­le sign of pride my grandma ever presented.

That tiny kitchen was where my family gathered every Sunday and holiday, but it wasn’t just a place to cook. It was the place where she connected our family’s past to the present, teaching me our family history through the food she made.

Her kitchen is where I shared my life with my grandma too. After baking, she would always cut two slices of pie, then pour a cup of coffee for herself and a glass of milk for me, and we’d sit and talk at her table. We’d mostly discuss what I was going to do when I grew up, how I was going to change the world and see places she’d never had the chance to see.

“What do you think Paris is like in the spring?” she’d ask. “Send me a postcard when you go.”

I was in college when my grandma hosted her last Thanksgivi­ng. I returned home on break and spent most of my time in the kitchen with her, baking the pies for our family, decorating the tops with that signature S. When we finished, she cut two slices and poured the coffee and milk, as always.

“Tell me about Chicago,” she said, eyes wide, elbows resting on her Formica table.

Every Thanksgivi­ng, I make the treasured desserts from my grandma’s recipe box. And after I finish, I still cut two slices of pie, pour a cup of coffee for her and a glass of milk for myself, take a seat at my own kitchen table, and tell my grandma all about my life.

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