Years ago, I remember reading about a program in New York City that allowed a person to go to an immigrant grandmother's house and take cooking lessons from them. I was reminded of that this morning and tried to find the original article (I'm pretty sure it was in the New York Times), but failed. I did find the League of Kitchens, which may or may not be the same thing I read about. While not promising grandmothers, they organize cooking and cultural experiences in the kitchens of immigrants across the city, which I think is just awesome.
What reminded me of the article was this photo spread of grandmothers around the world posing first with the ingredients for their "signature dish" and then with the finished product. It's a lovely photo series, taken by Gabriele Galimberti during a world wide couch-surfing trip. You can see all his photos on his website and get much more background about the dish, but I had some trouble getting things to load properly using the site's navigation tools. He calls the series "Delicatessen with love".
Just as with our earlier post about food around the world, I am struck by how much variation there is in the number of ingredients, and particularly, the difference in how many vegetables are in the dish. There are some that are mostly vegetable, a few that look completely vegetarian, and many that are mostly meat. Part of the meat-focus is probably that the women were asked to prepare a signature dish, which might be interpreted as a festive dish, much more likely to highlight meat.
But the truth is that many people around the world are switching from mostly-vegetarian diets to eating more meat, as incomes rise and people are able to adopt a more western diet. This has huge implications for global food needs in the coming decades and will be the subject of tomorrow's post.