When my Grandma Ruth passed away last May, one of the more interesting things I inherited was her collection of parchment paper, aluminum foil and plastic wrap. She bought in bulk, a coupon clipper and a savvy shopper, so they were either generic brands or marked with “sale” stickers. My grandmother was a good cook and a good baker – although one who never seemed to adhere solely on standard units of measure, preferring to rely on her sense of taste and decades of experience. Once, I tried to get her to give me her sweet potato pie recipe and it went something along the lines of, “You want about three sweet potatoes, maybe more, just a few pounds total and then a little cinnamon, just a dash of allspice, you’ll know it’s right when you taste it . . .”
As steeped in treacly sentiment as it may sound, using my grandmother’s parchment paper, aluminum foil and plastic wrap brings her into my kitchen when I’m baking. And it’s perhaps in her thrifty spirit that I find I shake out my parchment paper after I’ve rolled out a pie-crust on its surface and place it back in the drawer as a neat scroll. Or re-use the aluminum foil I’ve used to cover said pie-crusts as they bake in the oven. The plastic wrap is gone and the aluminum foil is down to a few meagre feet, but I think I can make the parchment paper last for a few more months.