Making Grand Dishes: Recipes & Stories From Grandmothers Of The World
IskIt began with our networks. We put feelers out, asked friends if they had a special grandmother we might be able to spend a day in the kitchen with. Soon enough, people got wind of what we were doing and started to reach out.
It began with our networks. We put feelers out, asked friends if they had a special grandmother we might be able to spend a day in the kitchen with. Soon enough, people got wind of what we were doing and started to reach out.
Travelling from the UK to Greece, France, Spain, Italy, Croatia, Poland and way further to Cuba, the USA, Mexico and Russia to cook with grannies of all ages, background and ethnicities for a weekend each time, we’ve picked up more than just culinary tips on our great gran mission.
“There’s an intimacy to be found in someone’s kitchen… we form a bond with every woman we cook with.”
The life experience that we’ve been gifted through this project is extraordinary. Leaving a grandmother’s home after spending a day or weekend with her in her kitchen has become much like leaving our own grandmothers. They hug us tight and insist we come over again and we walk out with such warmth – in heart and belly. It is at these moments that we realise how important the project we’ve embarked on together is, picking up wisdom from women who know what it is to have truly lived.
We expected to pick up some good recipes doing Grand Dishes, we never could have imagined what we would learn about love, life and relationships. We have laughed hysterically and cried a lot. There have been grannies wearing pink wigs, chainsaw demonstrations, a whole tray of pasta bake dropped, a platter of peppers slipping off a granny’s head and onto the floor. They give as good as they get. They tell us exactly what they’re thinking.
There’s an intimacy to be found in someone’s kitchen. Invited into these grandmothers’ homes for a weekend, from a Sicilian farm to a cacti-populated private island in Croatia, sharing simple tasks in a kitchen filled with the smells and flavours of a dish loaded with special memories, we form a bond with every woman we cook with.
That bond, quite naturally, has led to questions we both internally have been churning over and over. “How did you know when you’d met ‘the one?’” “What makes a happy marriage?” “How do you deal with grief?” and “How does it really feel to be old?”
Both in our late twenties, we looked to these grandmothers for the answers we haven’t lived long enough to give to each other. Open, willing and with so much wisdom, the answers came over a boiling pot, a finely chopped onion or a table creaking with the weight of the many dishes we’d set upon it. They are now sealed forever in this book, along with the recipes that have seasoned these womens’ lives.
They have changed the way we think, reminded us of the importance of looking forward, being kind, of love and legacy (be it through children, good deeds or special recipes) and that strange, shocking things could happen at any moment. Ultimately, that we should not worry so much about what we don’t yet know and just feast on life.