When Tim and I got married twenty-five years ago, I meant to give cookbooks to all of our guests, who’d shared their favorite recipes with us. I didn’t manage to produce the cookbooks in 1995, but I’m hoping late is better than never! I think sharing these recipes (more than 100!) will be a fun part of celebrating this milestone anniversary—and celebrating our friends and family, too.
The first recipe I’m sharing is from my mom’s best friend and my honorary aunt, Marilyn Kycek. Marilyn passed away after a long cancer battle soon after we brought Lily home (I’m grateful that they got to meet each other), and it’s a loss that continues to be deeply felt. I think about Marilyn every time I sit at the piano because I have a wonderful photo of her and Yo-Yo Ma right over middle C. My mom snapped it at an event at the Ordway Center in St. Paul and it makes me smile every time. Don’t they look like they’ve known each other forever and are having the best time? That’s the beauty of music—it connects us all. Marilyn’s son, Jeff, was one of my best friends from fifth grade on, and we even went to senior prom together and had a blast.
Marilyn ran a daycare center out of her home for decades and she gave me one of the best pieces of advice ever for dealing with toddlers. If you’re trying to get out the door (or trying to do anything, really) and you have a small child taking forever or stubbornly refusing to cooperate you say, calmly, “Can you do that yourself or do you want me to help you?” Thus brilliantly making them feel empowered.
Marilyn was elegant and hilariously funny and always so supportive. She was one of the first people to teach me that you don’t have to be related to be family. So here’s Marilyn’s recipe for frikadeller, or Danish fried meatballs. They’re easy to make and the kind of thing kids gobble up. I usually serve them with buttered noodles and a vegetable of some kind.
Frikadeller (Danish Fried Meatballs)
1-1/2 pounds hamburger
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/3-1/2 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup ketchup
By tablespoons-full (maybe the size of 2 golf balls) drop mixture into a frying pan with enough oil to cover the bottom. Fry on medium heat till brown, turn, and then brown other side. Remove from pan and serve with ketchup.