Maggie’s grandmother grew turnips. Maggie remembers the dirt under her grandmother’s fingernails and in the creases of her hands after digging them out of the backyard garden on the West side of Detroit. Her grandmother ate them raw, without washing. Maggie’s grandmother made rutabaga pies for the holidays, from a recipe her mother brought over from Hungary, when the family immigrated to the U.S. in 1910. As a child, Maggie was uncomfortable with root vegetables, and with their corresponding, foreign words. Tarlórépa, cékla, retek. Maggie ate her first turnip accidentally at the age of twenty-five, at an unmemorable restaurant, in the form of a cream soup.
Maggie’s mother grows tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers in her backyard garden, and occasionally, she bakes. Maggie’s mother has recipes that have been passed down through the family’s female lineage, scrawled on index cards located in the metal box she keeps in the pantry.