Between my grandmother and her sister,
the sibling rivalry was fierce.
They scrutinized each other’s
gardens, hairdos, children.
They compared the sheen of their floors,
the design of their quilts,
the crispness of the pickles they canned
and placed in cellars.  

They compared their cellars  

Any hug was followed
by pursed lips and narrowed eyes.
They expertly wielded
faint praise that damned.  

However, the following was undeniable,
even to my grandmother:
Marie’s breakfast potatoes with onions were stellar.
Everyone clamored for Marie’s chocolate-chip cookie recipe.
The mincemeat pies on holiday tables should be made by Marie,
and Marie alone.  

When I married, Marie gave me a recipe card,
the type of card with lines on it,
with “From the Kitchen of…” written on top
and a picture of a rolling pin in the corner.  

It said:
Salt pork renders the best grease
for fried potatoes.
Save your chicken fat
for chocolate chip cookies.
You must use beef suet
in your mincemeat.  

And Grandma’s comment on Marie’s culinary advice?
“Say what you like about Marie, she is certainly an expert on fat.”