Recipes of Filoli

Relationship: Child of im/migrant
Photo of Stina (right) at Filoli.
Photo of Stina (right) at Filoli.

My mother, Stina Ekberg, was born in 1903 and was the oldest of six children who lived near Halmstad, Sweden. Her mother's sister came back to Sweden for a visit in 1927, and it was decided that Stina would accompany her aunt back to San Francisco. When they arrived, Stina lived with her relatives, but soon set out on her own and found a job at a hospital making beds, while also going to night school to improve her English language skills.  A year and a half later, Stina returned to Sweden to see her family. The depression was underway in Sweden and times were difficult, so she returned to the Bay Area. She began working at Filoli, and met another Swedish lady named Alma Johnson, who was the cook at Filoli.  Alma advised her not to work in the kitchen, but rather be an upstairs maid due to the summer heat in the kitchen, which she did. The two remained good friends for the next thirty years, and while Stina was at Filoli, she copied many of Alma's recipes into a notebook that I treasure. Stina left Filoli after Mr. & Mrs. Bourn died in 1936, and worked as a maid for a family in the Pacific Heights neighborhood of San Francisco for the next 12 years. She married and retired when her son (me) was born. She used the recipes from her notebook over the years and was able to rely on Alma for any questions, as Alma had bought the house next door. I can confirm that Alma was a great cook as we, my parents and myself, had several great meals that she prepared!

Place(s): Sweden, San Francisco, Filoli Historic House & Garden
Year: 1927

– Bert Bergstrom

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant