It’s a universally known fact that grandma’s cooking is the absolute best cooking. There has to be some sort of magic in her ability to make culinary masterpieces that immediately make you feel at home without consulting recipe books or the Internet.
Caroline Shin used this knowledge when creating her web series Cooking with Granny. NYMM had a chance to talk to Caroline about her inspiration, her own grandma, and how she built her successful series.
Cooking with Granny originated as a web series produced as one season of episodes. Each episode features a different granny cooking one of her famous recipes and telling her stories. Shin said she was inspired by her grandma from a young age, saying, “I knew I wanted to do something around her home cooking since I was young. As a kid I wanted to preserve her stories and recipes because her life experience is part of my family history, Korean history, and world history to this day.” Shin talked about the harrowing experiences her grandma had shared with her and her own inspiration to share these stories with a wider audience.
Shin’s series features grannies and cuisines from all over the world. In a delicious celebration of diversity, Shin wanted to bring us all back to our roots to show us that with our differences, we are still very similar.
“Growing up in New York City I’ve always had friends from a lot of different cultures. I felt like my palate didn’t have borders. I really wanted to be able to show that. The love for your grandma is a universal human behavior and I wanted to show that we are very much alike regardless of our cultural differences. Every dish is the contribution of a different culture but we all enjoy them. We should all enjoy the people too!”
While Shin seemed to think this concept sounded elementary, we love the simplicity of bridging the gap with food. Being open to diversity can start with something as simple as enjoying Mexican cuisine!
Shin also talked about how important it was to highlight the incredible women in the series as true stars. “Universally, there have been responsibilities in every house that have been split by gender. I think the woman’s responsibility has been the domestic role, which includes cooking for the family. That responsibility is not as celebrated as it should be. We all say we love grandma’s cooking, but through my show I get to give them the full on spotlight.”
By highlighting their achievements as chefs, Shin shows the accomplishments women have achieved within their domestic roles. She went on to say, “At the same time, these women are survivors. They’ve been through a lot whether it is war or domestic violence all while fulfilling their domestic roles as women.”
Shin told one story of a grandma who had been featured on the series that cooked dinner while she was in labor! She knew that the rest of her children would need plenty of food for the time she would be spending in the hospital, so she cooked a huge stew before she went to have her baby.
This same woman dealt with domestic violence for a time until she was able to get herself out for the sake of her children. Shin explained, “I find her so strong and a very powerful woman, and a fantastic cook to top that off!”
The series beautifully highlights female strength through the incredible grannies who appear in the episodes. By giving them a chance to share their stories, Shin has not only given these women recognition for their fortitude and cooking aptitude, but she has also given her viewers wonderful sources of inspiration. Just like we can all learn endlessly from our own grandmas, we can take serious notes from the stories (and recipes) of these women.
Though Cooking with Granny originally started as a video series, it is also quite vibrant on Instagram, where Shin is able to post short stories and live cooking sessions. If you’re inspired by your grandma, you can send in her story to be featured on the Instagram or even the next season of web videos!
Looking forward, we can also hope for a Cooking with Granny cookbook, as Shin is currently working on a proposal that will feature more recipes and stories from more incredible grandmas! Look forward to it!
Featured Image by Jessica Fiess-Hill on Flickr
Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)
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