Pasta Grannies Is Saving Unique Italian Recipes from Extinction
23 July, 2018
Many Italian chefs will tell you their earliest and fondest food memories are of their nonnas’ cooking.
But, some handmade traditional pasta recipes are in danger of dying out, as skills are lost with the older generation.
Pasta Grannies is a YouTube channel that is trying to save these traditional recipes from extinction. Started by food writer Vicky Bennison, who divides her time between the UK and Italy, the channel highlights a different pasta maker in each episode, and recipes and techniques that have been passed down over centuries.
"Everyone thinks their Nonna's cooking is the best. But what will Nonna be cooking in 20 years time?" says Bennison on the Pasta Grannies website. "Italian women (and men) these days are far too busy to spend time in the kitchen. Of course pasta making isn't going to die out, but it increasingly is a commercial activity – for chefs, pasta shops and factories – rather than a domestic one. So I thought I'd celebrate these women and their skills by filming them."
She meets fascinating characters along the way, like 95-year-old Giuseppa from Sardinia, who has lived in the same town all her life, or Maria and Rita from Marche, who make unusual ravioli filled with cheese, chicken and cinnamon. There are also classic recipes for things like lasagna and pesto.
The channel also highlights the work of some of Italy’s best small producers.
Staff shortages are hitting the hospitality sector hard, prompting some restaurants to look outside the industry to train those without restaurant experience for life in the kitchen. Andrew Friedman finds out more.