A 92-year-old South African who can hold a plank while recounting the time Margaret Thatcher enjoyed her piroshkis, a 66-year-old American who’s been developing a top-secret BBQ sauce recipe for 20 years, and a 71-year-old Colombian who became a psychoanalyst after daily talks over chicken, corn, and potato soup with her landlady. These are just a few of the stories in Anastasia Miari and Iska Lupton’s Grand Dishes, a new cookbook spanning three continents, 10 countries, and 70 grandmothers.
Miari, a journalist, and Lupton, a food stylist, began Grand Dishes as a crowdfunded side project to document their own grandmothers’ recipes. Soon, they found themselves on a four-year journey around the world, learning recipes and conversing with women in French, Spanish, Greek, and Italian, plus some gesticulating and giggling in Russian. Through it all, the two learned each woman’s secret ingredient to a hearty meal and happy life. Mirai and Lupton talked with us about food as a mode of storytelling, the importance of highlighting older women, and what it means to cook with context.