Welcome to Cooking with Grandmothers.
We are thrilled you found this site!
Cooking with Grandmothers records, gathers, and shares the recipes, food traditions, and wisdom of female elders from around the world. It was founded by Jessica Theroux, award-winning author of Cooking with Italian Grandmothers. Jessica created this website as a place for people to discover and celebrate the cooking and storied lives of older women from all walks of life.
1. Who are these grandmothers? How do you find them?
The vast majority of the women on this site are everyday women who would otherwise not be documented. They are going about their daily activities of cooking, gardening, foraging, and feeding the people that they love. Someone (Jessica or their own family or friends) finds their food to be comforting and delicious, sees something beautiful in them, and is moved to document them. There are older women like this around you, too! They are everywhere, and they are largely under-noticed. We hope you seek out cooking with and learning from them, and share the experience with us.
Additionally, grandmothers (both living and passed), food memories, and recipes come to us through our “Add your grandmother” page. Once someone has made a submission, Jessica will often collaborate with their families to write a story about the women and fine tune recipes from notes and the “by hand” measurements that grandmothers so often use.
Finally, we discover some amazing older women through the “Chefs’ Influences” blog section, where Jessica interviews famous chefs about the older women who have served as an inspiration for their own careers and cooking.
2. But, what about all of the wonderful women who aren’t technically grandmothers?
The archetype of "grandmother"-- that of connection, comfort, and cooking that nourishes body and soul -- guides what goes on this site. However, women who are not literally grandmothers are just as welcome and celebrated here. Here’s the deal: every woman featured is over sixty, and every single one of them has cooked enough and lived enough to have something really valuable to say about food and life. Aunties, beloved farmers and fisher-women, mothers, dear older neighbours...they are all welcome. Tell us who your elder heroes are and we will find a way to include them.
3. Who are the “contributors” on the site?
This site features stories and recipes recorded by Jessica and a wonderful, growing group of contributors-- writers, chefs, photographers, documentarians whose work for this Jessica helps to guide and edit. You can learn more about who has been involved here. And, you can inquire about becoming a contributor by sending Jessica a note here.
Can I share my own grandmother's recipes?
Of course! We would be thrilled to hear about the women and recipes you love most. The best way to do this is to start by adding your them to the “Add Your Elders” page. If you are interested in having your grandmother or another elder featured in a more substantial way on the site, please check that box on the “Add Your Elders” form.
How is this funded?
Jessica aims for this work to be supported through a combination of individual donations, grants, and corporate sponsorship.
Jessica’s documentary work for Cooking with Italian Grandmothers (the origin of this larger body of work) was funded through an Arnold Fellowship from Brown University, in 2003. The creation of this website was made possible through the generosity of individual donors: see our "Contributors" page for details.
A tremendous amount of time and expense goes into interviewing grandmothers and/or their families, writing the stories, testing the recipes, and photographing and editing everything. If you find inspiration and nourishment in what you experience here, please consider making a donation. Every a dollar helps!
Can I contact the grandmothers?
We love hearing about the elders who have inspired you here, and will always pass along your emails and sentiments to them. It makes their day, so please share your gratitude! You can leave comments at the bottom of the posts, or send Jessica an email, to forward to them or their families.
We ask, however, that you respect the grandmothers’ privacy, and refrain from contacting them directly, unless their details are specifically listed on our "Contributors" page. Those grandmothers that teach classes, host visitors, or are open to being contacted directly will be listed there.
One of the world’s best kept secrets is that older women are some of the most powerful people around. Their strength lies in their long and deeply lived lives: in the years of practice they have had rolling pie doughs, caring for others, and in the depth and wisdom that comes from having gone through life’s joys and sorrows. Jessica’s mission is to give you not only the key to their delicious family dishes, but the experience of a magnificent group of older women, whose lives and reflections will help you in your journey towards creating the life you hunger for.