95 year old Theresa Law, owner of Law’s Diner and Law’s Cider Mill in Oak Glen, joins Mukta to discuss her famous apple pie recipe, share details on her new cookbook, talk about what Oak Glen used to look like when she moved there in the 1940s, and talk about the advent of radio.
Theresa Law on moving to California
I was born and brought up in the town of Paris Maine, South Paris actually. I came to California first in 1942 with my first husband. He was killed in World War II, and then I came back in 1945 after the war was over to visit a friend in Redlands for the winter and I met her brother when he came home from overseas. I met him in ‘45 and we were married in ‘46. So I came to Oak Glen 72 years ago.
“Well actually in Redlands a lot of the houses were in orange groves. They were surrounded by orange trees and that was magnificent to me. I love the towering palm trees. It was all new because I had never seen anything like that until I came to California.”
On why she wrote a cookbook
People kept asking me why I didn't write a cookbook because I was a good cook and I used my own recipes in the restaurant and in my coffee shop. So when I was 95 years old I decided to do a book. So this is the result. It has family recipes, recipes from my sister's favorite oatmeal cookie and my mother's recipes and friends’ recipes.
On listening to the radio as a child
Very few people had radios when I was a small child. My grandparents had a radio and you used earphones, there was no speaker. I had a sister who was two years older than me and they would put one set of earphones in a little aluminum bowl which acted as a speaker, because they didn't have enough earphones for everybody. So that was how we listened to the radio.
It might be hard to visualize the Los Angeles of the 1940s. There were less cars, more houses and the sprawl was just starting. The New Yorker made a video documenting seventy years of Los Angeles, Then and Now which shows the evolution of Downtown.