Older generations view cooking with a different perspective

While late Boomers, GenX, and Millenials have picked up cooking as a passionate hobby, for many people in earlier generations cooking is viewed as a chore or a duty, or as a way to give pleasure to others and not necessarily to oneself. When lockdowns began over a year ago, millions of elderly people – many of them living alone – were faced with isolation and lost their desire to cook. For some this was because they did not have their usual loved ones to feed. Writing for Vittles (London), Clare Finney discusses this topic as she explores the complicated culinary lives of our grandparents.

Finney says that after lockdowns began, things changed dramatically for her grandmother, who had recently lost her husband prior to stay at home orders. “As food became the theme of the lockdown,” writes Finney, “with article after article filled with recipes and recommendations, the gap between the nation’s culinary narrative and my grandmother’s became a gulf.” She believes we need a shift in the culinary narrative for older people, creating ways to account for the unique living situations and needs of people in the upper age brackets.

The essay also looks at the recent surge in ‘nonna porn’, which includes the recent spate of cookbooks venerating grandmothers’ recipes. At least non-British grandmothers (the same holds true for American grandmas) – says Finney, “British grannies are not romanticised in the same way as nonnas, nonyas and yiayias – but then why would you commit your grandmother’s Yorkshire pudding recipe to paper if she uses Aunt Bessie’s?”

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  • ccav  on  April 6, 2021

    Very interesting, thanks for this!

  • GenieB  on  April 9, 2021

    I read the article and I think it’s partly true. I’m 75, and I still love to cook, most days. I do have a long-term partner to cook for but often have cooked only for myself because he did a lot of business travel for many years. The trick for me is to constantly try new recipes.

    Neither of my grandmas (born in the 19th century) were good cooks. My dad, who is 102 now, tells stories about being sent out to the garbage with the burnt dinner before my grandpa came home for supper. My mom, born in 1921, cooked mostly out of necessity although she was a good cook, if not terribly inspired. She readily gave up cooking when they moved to a senior community. My dad cooked, although we kids, who were responsible for cleanup, hated it because he used every pan and utensil in the house!

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