The Grand Dishes That Might Arrive Soon

Once upon a time I was a development executive at the cable network Food Network. It was part of my job to come up with new ideas for shows and take half-baked ideas and make them better.

There are many stories to tell about my days there but it was a job that I was lucky to have and it was foundational to deepening my love of food and cooking and connecting it to culture. The types of shows that I wanted to make had great success and changed the network and then the corporate owners changed the direction that they wanted to go and my time ended there.

One of the ideas that was among the most commonly pitched to me and the development team while I was there was some version of ‘Grandmothers Cooking’

In theory it was a good idea but in my days there nobody seemed to be able convey the simple idea in a format that we felt would work or that they could execute well. Women have been great carriers of the old food way traditions around the world. The stories, the land, the techniques, the gathering, the feasting, the mourning, the celebratory nourishment of soul…it is al there.

I’ve seen attempts on Food Network and PBS since then to do this show and, in my opinion, none of them have worked. I’ve seen some short form shows online that have worked very well and maybe it is a blessing that no corporate overlord has plunged their ad-selling tentacles into these smaller vehicles.

May they find a way on the fringes!

So I write today to tell you about a project that is so close to complete funding via crowd funding about grandmothers and the food traditions they are carrying. A cookbook called Grand Plates that has been assiduously researched by Iska Lupton and Anastasia Miari.

They write of their book:

Grand Dishes is not a book about being old, it’s a book about what it’s like to have lived. It’s a cookbook that preserves; an interaction between generations, a sharing of stories most powerfully told through the recipes that have seasoned these grandmothers’ lives.
Grand Plan:
We are on a mission to capture cooking techniques, recipes and anecdotes from inspiring grandmothers. Grand Dishes is inspired by our own grandmothers; Anastasia’s is Greek and Iska’s is German. Both are equally strong and stoic. Their love is shared through the food they serve. We believe that there’s no food quite like the time-perfected dish of a grandmother.
What you’ll get:
A coffee table-worthy cookbook rich with stories, elegant portraiture and diverse recipes from 30 women. Each recipe is easily recreated at home and there’s room for your own grandmothers’ dish and story at the back of the book.
Grand Dishes dedicates four pages to each grandmother: a portrait, her story, the recipe and an image of the dish. This is not just a compendium of dishes, it’s a selection of stories and techniques that are completely unique to a region, a grandmother and her family.

With grandmothers like a ‘Greek corfiot who never learned to read or write but has been cooking on an open flame, planting by the moon’s cycle and filleting fish since she was 11 years old’ or ‘the gran dame of Spanish gastronomy, friends with Julia Childs and Elizabeth David, who can be credited for taking Spanish cuisine to the United States’…I don’t know about you, but this is the kind of tradition and culture that worth having around as a toast to all the grand old women who have been doing this silent work in your corner of the world.

Take a look at the video below if you want to know more or just go to their crowdfunding page right HERE to support this worthy vision of culture in action.

This is the sort of thing that Primal Derma is thrilled to support and point you towards. It is deeply entwined with our mission of looking at the old ways and finding a way to braid them into your life and into your body.


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