If you've ever lamented the loss of generational family recipes, and the childhood comfort of being cooked for by a grandmother, the new cookbook Grand Dishes will be grandma's chicken soup for the soul.
Written by Anastasia Miari and Iska Lupton, after being inspired by the nurturing influence of their own grandmothers' cooking in their lives, the recipe book celebrates the regional recipes of some 70 grandmothers around the world, complete with a synopsis of their lives, beautiful portrait photography, and insightful wisdom that only grandmothers can impart.
It took journalist Miari, and cook and creative director Lupton, four years to complete their quest, journeying around the world to collect grannies' stories, from Corfu and Cuba, to Moscow and New Orleans. Spending time in the kitchen learning from all sorts of grandmothers, and writing down recipes learnt by heart, the result is a comforting hot-pot of home-cooked recipes with soul and a historic back story.
The recipes are divided into five categories - including 'soups and sides', 'vegetables', 'fish', 'meat' and 'something sweet' - and each accessible recipe is set within the context of its creator. From ninety-year-old Mercedes' Spanish chilled almond soup, to nonnaCiccinia's Sicilian vegetarian pasta bake, who still rolls her pasta on the same board she learnt on as a 10-year-old child, the stories are as absorbing as the dishes they cook.
The cumulative effect is a celebratory ode to grandmothers around the world, who have nurtured generations of families through food. But it also offers a unique opportunity to capture some cooking culture, not to mention some inspiring stories spanning decades that might otherwise be lost.
It's neatly summed up by the blurb: 'This is not a book about what it’s like to be old. It’s about what it’s like to have lived.'
In Andrea Fazzari's book 'Sushi Shokunin: Japan's Culinary Masters', the pursuit of unattainable perfection leads Japan's sushi masters, or shokunin, on a path of dedication, cultural expression and meaning. Paul Feinstein spoke to the author about the project, and about what it means to be a shokunin.