Gramma's Cookbook

Gramma's cookbook and dishes
Gramma's cookbook and dishes

A few years before she passed away, my gramma gave me a handwritten copy of her cookbook for Christmas. The pages are full of her tight looping script that fills every birthday card and letter she ever sent me. She was an incredible cook, who never came over to our house without some cookies or mason jars full of homemade soup. I remember sitting in her kitchen, watching in awe as she skillfully stretched strudel dough to the size of the table. 
She was born to Frank and Angela Bartol, who immigrated to the United States from Slovenia in 1913. They arrived at Ellis Island before settling in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. My great-grandparents, along with other Slovenian immigrants, built a community and named it Traunik, after a village in Loski Potok, Slovenia. My family’s Slovenian heritage was very important to my gramma. She was proud of her parents and their hard work to build a community and raise a family in a new country. 
This heritage is reflected in the recipes of the cookbook as it was in our family celebrations. Every fourth of July when I was growing up, my family would meet at my great-grandparents’ house in Traunik. The celebration would always end with everyone dancing the polka until late in the night. 
I treasure this cookbook as a memory and representation of the things my ancestors went through and the times I spent cooking and eating with my family. After my gramma passed away, I was given her dishes. It is meaningful to me every time I cook a recipe from her book and serve it to loved ones on her plates. It’s as if she’s there with us.

Place(s): Slovenia, Traunik
Year: 1913

– Margaret Riedel

Relationship:  Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more