Is Grandmother’s Day just a ploy to persuade people to buy grandmothers presents every year?
“No, the goal is to create a fraternity of grandmothers right around the globe. The idea is that grandmothers gather their grandchildren and pass on the abilities these elders have within. Many of these are forgotten skills: how to garden, how to cook, how to fish. The idea is for grandmothers to exchange knowledge and strengthen bonds with their grandchildren.”
How did you think up the idea?
“My friend Alice Waters [a famous Chez Panisse chef] and I came up with the idea together. She’s a wannabe grandmother and I’m a grandmother six times over. I realized how important it is for us to pass on our cooking and growing skills.”
What do grandmothers know that others don’t?
“A whole generation has never seen their mothers cook in the kitchen because nowadays in most households, both partners work, and many schools no longer teach cooking or home economics. Most grandmothers still have these important life skills. They still know how to cook, sew, sow seeds, keep chickens.”
Do you think kids will listen to their grandmothers about this kind of stuff?
“Grandmothers have an extraordinary power and influence over kids, and so we can really make a difference. Of course, it depends how close the relationship is, but kids absolutely love to cook, peel, mix, grate, chop–anything from pancakes to apple pies. In my experience, children who are involved in sowing seeds and growing vegetables will eat absolutely everything they grow, even if they shivered at the thought before.”
What exactly will change if grandmothers pass on their knowledge?
“There is a drastic deterioration in the quality of food people eat these days. When you know how to cook, you can whip up a meal for family and friends at a moment’s notice using fresh, seasonal ingredients. It’s less expensive, more nutritious, more delicious. Grandmothers can also teach the joy of sitting down around the kitchen table again.”
And what about the grandfathers?
“We want grandfathers to participate and especially teach grandchildren how to fish and garden.”