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Maybe Food Is Love or maybe it isn’t, but we’re pretty sure that your Gramma, Babi or Bubbe or Baba, Abuela, Tita, Teta, Lola, Jadda, Dādī and Nānī,  Nana or Nonna or Oma or Gran have some thoughts on the matter.

Italian photographer Gabriele Galimbertiwhom you might recall from his ‘Kids and Their Toys’ series, portrayed grandmothers from 58 countries posing with their signature dish. Even better — he included their recipes. 

It’s called Delicatessen With Love and he began with his own Italian grandmother and her ravioli:

grandmothers and food


… before embarking upon a delicious tour around the world. I’ve included a few of his portraits, chosen by recipe.

Eat, EAT.

grandmothers and food


Bisrat Melake, 60 years old – Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Injera with Curry and Vegetables

To prepare this dish you need to cook different ingredients separately. It is the product of various recipes. The Injera, which takes three days, is the first thing to make.

• Mix 1 kilo of Teff flour and 1 spoon of yeast with some water until you obtain a smooth and dense dough (like one you would use to make bread).
• Let it ferment for 3 days
• Now the dough should be much softer than when you prepared it 3 days before. Add water until it becomes cream-like. Use it in the same way as when you make crepes. If you have the possibility to use an Ethiopian ceramic oven (like the ones in the back of the photo) do use it!

Curry (in the centre of the photo)
• Stir fry 3 chopped onions and 10 chopped sweet chillies in some oil for a few minutes. Add 3 glasses of water and let it cook for about ten minutes. Then, add the split peas and the plate of Mitin Shuro. Mix well, cover with a lid and cook on a low heat for about 30 minutes, stirring every now and then.
• After 30 minutes your churry is ready!
Cauliflower leaves (the dark green vegetables on the sides of the photo):
• Boil some cauliflower leaves in water according to your taste
• Drain and chop them and fry them in a pan with some oil, onion and salt

Curry (the orange sauce in the photo)

• Fry lightly half an onion and a pinch of hot chilli powder in some oil. Add 200 gr of Mitin Shuro and two glasses of water. Cook for 20 minutes

String Beans and Savoy Salad

• Slice the savoy into stripes and chop the beans. Boil everything together in some water to suit your taste. Drain the vegetables and put them in a pan with oil and chilli to sautè them for about ten minutes.

Place them in the dish as shown above and serve. Ethiopian people eat it with their hands.




Fernanda De Guia, 71 years old

Sinigang €“ (Tamarind Soup with Pork and Vegetables)

• Boil the pork in some water with salt. After about 20 minutes, add 6 tamarinds (without peeling or chopping them), 3 taro corms, peeled and chopped, and 4 tomatoes.

• After 15 minutes the tamarind gets tender (the shell shows cracks). Drain it from the soup, open it and take the seeds off. Crush them with a wooden spoon in order to obtain their juice. Pour the juice into the soup using a strainer.

• After 10 minutes, take the tomatoes off the soup, peel and mash them and then put them back into the soup.

• When everything has boiled for about 50 minutes in total, add the water spinach, okras, spring beans and green finger pepper in big pieces. Salt to your taste and let boil for other 10 minutes.

Turn off the cooker and serve the soup!


Grandmothers and Food. Flatar Ncube, 52 years old – Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe - photo by Gabriele Galimberi

FLATAR NCUBE – Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. RECIPE: SADZA

Flatar Ncube, 52 years old

Sadza (white maize flour) and pumpkin leaves cooked in peanut butter

In Zimbabwe and neighbouring areas of Africa, almost every dish is characterized by the presence of Sadza, a kind of polenta made with white maize flour. You can accompany this with everything: vegetables, meat and fish.

In our case, we’€™ll see how to make it in one of the simplest and most popular dishes of the Zimbabwean tradition.

• First of all, boil some water with a spoon of baking soda.

• Then, take off the fibres from the pumpkin leaves. In order to do that, you simply have to pull out the little veins on the leaves and on the stalk..

• Once cleaned, cut them into thin stripes, stalk included. Boil them for about 5 minutes.

• In the meantime, drain the boiled pumpkin leaves, let them cool for a bit and put them in a pan with two spoonful of peanut butter and a pinch of salt. Heat for about 3 minutes, stirring continuously, and after that your pumpkin leaves are ready. 

Now it’s time to make the Sadza.

• In a small pot, boil two full glasses of water. In another pot, pour a generous glass of white maize flour and pour the boiled water from the other pot.

• Cook the mixture on a low heat for a few minutes, stirring all the time.

• If you think that the Sadza is getting too solid, pour some more water or, vice versa, if it is too liquid, add some more flour.

At this point your recipe is done. You only have to serve it on a dish, as you can see from the photo.


Grandmothers and Food: Photograph of natalie Bakradze of Tblisi Georgia by Gabriele Galimberti


Natalie Bakradze, 60 years old 

Khinkali (Pork and Beef dumplings)

This recipe is typical of the area surrounding Tblisi. It can almost be considered its official dish.
To prepare this dish you don’€™t have to be a master chef, but some precision and good manual skills can come handy!

• First of all you have to prepare the dough: stir together ½ kilo of flour and some water and work with your hands. Add the water in small doses, a bit at a time. The dough should become rather stiff and no salt is needed.
• Chop half onion and a turf of parsley (you can use a mixer considering the ingredients have to be chopped very thinly).
• At this point you can mix the minced beef and pork, adding the chopped onion and parsley, a pinch of chilli powder and a teaspoon of salt.
• Now roll the dough into a thin layer (about 1mm) and cut it in rounds with the diameter of 10-15cm.
• Place a large spoon of the filling made of the minced meats and spices in the centre of the rounds and fold the edges, pressing them with your fingers and then twisting the dough to seal it in a knob.
• Bring a pot of salted water to boil and cook the dumplings for about 20 minutes.
• Serve hot and enjoy the dumplings.
In Georgia people eat them with their hands, grabbing the top knob of a dumpling, which is called ‘the cap’. The knob is never eaten!

There are three different tales explaining why you don’t eat ‘the cap’

1. simply because it is tough – not cooked through properly

2. because the dumplings are so good that you lose track of how many you eat. So you leave the caps on your plate to count them.

3. because it was a typical dish of the working class of the mountains where there were lots of workers who used to go to the restaurant to eat them, still dirty from their work. So, people say they used to leave the cap because it was the part the workers touched with their hands.

Please see all 58 grandmothers and all 58 recipes at Gabriele Galimberti’s web gallery here.

Are you hungry or what?


If she’s still with you, call grandma tonight – however you call her – and say thanks.


source: Gabriele Galimberti and hat tip to Paramita Nath

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