Crowdsourcing Cookbook Research (in other words: Help!)

Alex again here, with exciting news: I’m going to Mexico City! Soon!

I haven’t visited my paternal grandmother (Bobe) and the rest of my family in Mexico for over a year, and I’m due. While down there, I want to take some pictures and ask Bobe questions about her life, as I always do when I see her.

The problem: I feel like I’m out of questions.

You know when you think about something or work on it for so long that it gets blurry and you can’t see it anymore? That’s how I feel about the interviews I’ve done with my grandmother. I know there are a million more interesting things I could ask, and just as many things she could tell me. I just don’t know what those things are.

So, I have a question I’d like to ask you:

Food is part of all our identities, whether we grew up eating tacos, gefilte fish, tofu or kale. If you could turn back time and ask a grandparent about the food in his or her life, what would you ask? 

Or really, if there’s anything you’d want to ask your grandparents, feel free to share that as well. My siblings and I are lucky to have 3 grandparents living and there’s always more we could be learning from them.

Thanks!

Bobe in L.A., shredding chicken

14 responses

  1. what smell would remind you of your mother or grandmother’s kitchen? what are the tastes that most invoke those memories? i cant take credit for those…… but i thought they were pretty good. any time we can evoke a feeling of an experience another person has we somehow get to experience it as well through the retelling of their story. well, i guess that’s the whole idea of passover…. maybe ask more about jewish holiday food?

  2. can’t wait to go to mexico with you next week and can’t wait to see bobe! we are so lucky to have her (and our other two wonderful grandparents) still with us.

    • All my grandparents are long gone (never met two of them), but if I could, I would ask them how their eating habits have changed over the years. What things do they love to eat now that they never had as a child? I’d also ask what their favorite “comfort food” from their youth is and what their favorite meals are today. Have fun in Mexico City, ladies. Sounds like big fun.

  3. What I would like to ask if my grandparents were alive would be – how is your generation’s relationship or attitude toward food different than our generation’s? Do you think traditions are being lost? Or perhaps now that we have access to a variety of foods from different parts of the world we are more adventurous and open to experiencing other cultures?

  4. sometimes you do need to ask, but simply observe, learn and inhale all the now and then. It is always nice to learn how recipes came about, what were traditional foods for various holidays and your uncles and aunts favorite birthday dinners. Did they always have certain foods certain days? Enjoy yourself and savor the food and the memories that you are creating.

  5. Ask for all her relatives names, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents & ofcourse their best dishes. Also all geographical locales the family may have been

  6. Hope I’m not too late 🙂
    Personally I love hearing about memories from the kitchen.
    I think I’d ask what she remembers about her mother and grandmothers cooking and kitchen.
    I know so many women whose sweetest memories are from the kitchen 🙂

  7. Pingback: Food & Memory on NPR | Challa-peño

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