Lillian Kaplun. This is the woman who’s name is on the cover of the first cook book belonging to me. And the second cook book and the third … but I only ever used the first. I felt a personal kinship to her: as a young wife my mother, who was always a really good cook and a great baker, took baking lessons from Lillian Kaplun. Many years before that, Ms. Kaplun lived in a small Northern Ontario town, where my maternal grandmother lived as a young bride — my grandmother always claimed that the recipe for Banana Cake with Chocolate Icing (a dessert staple in our house!), was actually her own! Oh, how intertwined!!
My father-in-law used to make two dishes especially for me whenever I came to visit. I'm sure he also made them for others in the family, but he always made a point of having them ready and available when I arrived.
I started roasting beets at home after working in a restaurant where having roasted beets were a staple. They were used often as one of the components to the many appetizer selections; adding color and texture and sweetness.