Made with love… and butter


It’s common knowledge that grandmas know everything. Or in this case, nanas. Mother to a Marian alumna and now a Marian grandma, Patsy Peter, or Nana, finds comfort in cooking. Nana taught herself how to cook, and passed her knowledge on to her son Matt, and now her grandchildren. 

Ellie Peter ’24 and her Nana
make cinnamon cake.

One of her most popular recipes is a cinnamon cake. According to Nana, she’s never made the cake without someone asking her for the recipe. The original recipe has been in the Peter family for 75 years, with multiple changes being added over time. In fact, the original recipe doesn’t even include the cinnamon topping. 

Peter was taught the recipe by Anna-Marie Peter, her mother in law. Cooking has always been a means of connecting in the Peter family. From Sunday dinners at Nana and Papa’s, to Christmas Eve at my own house, food and cooking is the glue of my family. Nana loves cooking because “when you cook for someone it shows that you love them,” she said. 

Peter connected with her son, my father, through cooking. She let him pick the recipe they made. Cooking together is important because it’s just time spent together. Even as he cooks for his own family now, “he still calls me to ask how to make things,” Nana said. 

Food also helps Nana connect with her grandchildren. It’s time spent individually, letting the kid pick the recipe. She says it empowers them, even if they just choose buttered noodles. The grandkids never fight over Nana, since it’s even more fun to be all together. 

Food is often the foundation of a happy family. Memories are cooked up in the oven. Even at Marian, bonding comes at lunch time over plates of pasta or in the ice cream line. Food is often the backbone of relationships. “Food has always been a love language,” Nana said. 

I had never made the cinnamon cake with my Nana before, but I had certainly eaten it. While we made it, we talked about school and journalism, the time flying by. She even taught me a few new hacks for the kitchen. Pro tip, if a piece of an egg shell falls in the batter, scoop it out with the rest of the shell. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s