Topline Trends: Granny appreciation

grannyI often write here about trends that are happening in North America, but today I’m wistfully looking across the Atlantic at the UK and wishing that a trend I’ve noted there will become more influential here.

I’m talking about Granny cuisine. Not only does Waitrose Food Illustrated have a “Guest Granny” column where they showcase an older woman and ask her for cooking tips and advice, but other Grannies get the credit they deserve in the UK, as well. (Check out the Green Grannies video below).

Is there hope for us? On the one hand, I’m not so sure. We continue to revere food scientists who strive to make food with fewer calories or more densely packed nutrients than they should have naturally. And then there’s the way so many of us fawn over potty-mouthed food network stars who talk way more than they cook.

On the other hand, I’ve seen a glimmer of hope on the horizon. Just over a week ago, I attended an event to promote the ethnic culinary uses of peanuts at the Astor Center in Manhattan where Suvir Saran, chef of Devi, was one of the cooking demonstrators. Saran acknowledges that his cooking is anything but cutting edge. Instead of trying to thrill people with molecular gastronomy and other novel approaches to cooking, he proudly proclaims that he depends on the “gastronomy of the great grandmother’s of India” for his culinary inspiration. Go Suvir!

My own grandmothers influenced me greatly in the kitchen and taught me the basics that helped me to be confident enough to pursue cooking as a career. There’s no doubt in my mind that I might not be where I am today without Grannies.

What about you? Do you have any of your Granny’s recipes or another older person you can call on for cooking advice?

And, before I sign off: Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I hope you have the luck of the Irish with you all day long!

15 Responses to Topline Trends: Granny appreciation

  1. I used to bake cookies with my grandmother. Unfortunately, no one can make them like she did, despite having her hand written recipe. I think the flour has changed since she made them. No matter how hard I try, the texture’s all wrong.

    My grandmother has been dead for more than 35 years, but I still call on my mom for practical substitutions and ideas for using up leftovers. Funny thing is, she now calls ME for advice on “new” cooking, like stir fries.

  2. Jen Melo says:

    My granny made the very best biscuits. We’d have them with a cup of coffee at her kitchen table and just when you thought you’d had enough, you’d reach for a few more. (So addictive!) I think she always got a kick out of seeing her grandchildren enjoy her baking. She passed away 10 years ago but the memory of her and her nurturing spirit lives on. Thanks for the lovely post that brought back memories of my dear sweet granny.

  3. danamccauley says:

    My pleasure Jen – I’m so glad you had a granny to make biscuits for you! We’re awfully lucky girls.

    Btw, did you ever eat biscuits with butter and raspberry jam? That’s my fav!

    Char, I love that your cooking relationship goes both ways – that’s a great arrangement!

  4. Amanda says:

    always loved my nanas cooking-moved home recently for a new job and really missed my nans good wholesome meals, thankfully a friend adviced me on a cookbook she reckoned would allow me to derive the flavours my nan always does and voila job doen,id defo advice it to people who like that type of food.

  5. My paternal grandmother couldn’t cook. (She also hated children and didn’t want any. My father was an accident, so I guess I’m an unintended consequence.)

    My maternal grandmother (1887-1963) was sent from Münich to Vienna to a sort of finishing school when she was young. One of the the things see learned there was how to cook. I have her handwritten notebooks—she didn’t take very good notes. I have prepared a couple of her cake recipes—most notably the family favorite—Sacher Torte. I’ve posted her Kastanientorte recipe—another favorite—at http://xrl.us/bekkdc

  6. Beth says:

    Viva grannies!

  7. Cheryl A says:

    I wouldn’t be a good Ukrainian if I didn’t make my Baba’s pyrohy (Pierogies). And cabbage rolls, borscht, bread, and more. I draw the line at blood sausage – not fun for a 12 year old in blinding Saskatchewan summer heat in a tiny house on the farm.

  8. Barb says:

    I wish…. I didn’t get to even meet one of my Grandmas. The other only twice. My mother was a good enough cook in her day but did not “teach” anything. (Too busy, I guess) Most of my knowledge came from cook books, cooking shows, asking friends questions, that sort of thing.

  9. Cheryl says:

    Funny, my second grader is in the middle of a family history project for school, and one of his assignments was to collect old recipes from his ancestors. Well, we’ve got a bunch from his great-grandma (actually, step great-grandma, if we’re being precise) and more are coming from my mother-in-law. It’s wonderful to have these recipes and I’m grateful to his teacher for assigning such a creative project.

    Is it wrong that I think that leftover bread recipe/pudding on the YouTube video looks gross? Maybe because I’m not English…

  10. Terry says:

    I used to call my gram with cooking questions all the time. Following a recipe of hers was another story. She was a big fan of “pinches”, “a good handful”, “not too much”. You get the idea. Kind of hard to copy.

  11. Kathryn says:

    I did not meet my maternal Grandmother, but I knew my paternal Grandmother. The only recipe that I have from her is for scones. The directions are a bit vague, but I have learned to make the scones and think of my Granny every time I make them.

    My own Mother was a Grandmother six times over and her recipes are now cherished by her Grand-daughters.

    The linkage of generations by food and recipes is a sweet one.

  12. danamccauley says:

    Hey Cheryl, I agree. The Green Granny isn’t my kind of cook. I just love that she is revered for being a Granny though. I love your son’s teacher’s assignment; I hope the kids enjoy it, too.

    Kathryn, I have a few recipes like that, too. For instance, i can’t make Swiss Steak without thinking about my grandmother!

  13. danamccauley says:

    Amanda – thanks for linking to the Good Granny Cookbook – that’s exactly what I’m talking about in the UK!

  14. Debbi Dubbs says:

    Hey Dana,
    I think that most of us cooks were influenced by our grannies! (At least in my generation). It was all about simple food, from the closest sources, because at that time food wasn’t shipped from all over the world and it was the beginning of the industrial food revolution. One revolution that could’ve died as far as I’m concerned. What I do with my grannies recipes is update them with new cooking techniques and herbs from the garden, many of my recipes in my new book ‘What’s In Your Pantry’ are adaptations that I learned at my grannies knees!

  15. rosiecheeks115 says:

    Hey Dana,
    My daughters name is Dayna and I hope she carries on what I have started with my mothers treasured recipes being memorialized on my website. She was a wonderful cook and fabulous baker so in her memory I have started a website in her honor. I am a grandma now and already I have started my granddaughter in the kitchen. She is not quite two yet but I sit her on the counter to crack eggs stir batter when I can. Traditions to be treasured I still remember standing on a step stool to help my grandma make biscuits. http://www.smalltownkitchen.com

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