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7 of the World’s Most Adorable Grandmas Share Their Favorite, Classic Recipes

There are few things in this world that bring people together like a good meal. In the new book In Her Kitchen, photographer Gabriele Galimberti sat down with grandmothers from all walks of life to discuss family and their signature dishes.

© Gabriele Galimberti

Ana Lucia: São Paulo, Brazil

Born on the outskirts
of São Paulo, Ana Lucia
attended samba school in her neighborhood and,
at age 15, was crowned queen
of her dance group for
the carnival parade. She stopped dancing a few years later and started
to play percussion instruments. Now she is the
madrina de la batería (“the queen of the drums”) and plays the leading role in her percussion band.
Almost everybody in the neighborhood knows Ana Lucia. Every Wednesday
evening she cooks her
special feijoada for her two children and four grandchildren.

© Gabriele Galimberti

Ana Lucia’s Feijoada Light

The most representative dish of Brazil is feijoada. Ana Lucia showed us
how to make a lighter version. Traditional feijoada is made with fattier
cuts of pork, but Ana Lucia uses precooked sausage and serves the stew
with a side of fresh fruit.

© Gabriele Galimberti

Gnep: Bakong, Cambodia

When I arrived in
Cambodia to visit the
Angkor Wat temple, I asked the driver of the tuk-tuk who had brought me there for help in finding a granny for my project. He said,
“Of course I can find a granny. I can take you [to my] home if you want.”
Forty minutes later, after passing through at least
12 miles of jungle, we
arrived at the house of his mother, Gnep. Made entirely of intertwined pieces of wood and banana leaves, the house has no windows or doors, electricity, or running water. But it’s perfectly tidy, and even under pouring rain not a drop gets inside.

Gnep has spent all her
73 years in this tiny fishing village. I tried more than once to ask her
the number of her children and grandchildren, but she never gave me a
precise number. She always answered, “A lot.”

© Gabriele Galimberti

Gnep’s Lok Lak

Gnep’s signature dish is a Cambodian specialty called Lok Lak, a simple stir fry of beef, onions and tomato served on a bed of lettuce.

© Gabriele Galimberti

Tineke: The Hague, Holland

Tineke married her husband in 1975 and became the proud mother of twins, Olga and Paul, two years later. She cultivated many hobbies once her children went to school; her
favorite is cooking. “There’s no bigger gift than your good food being enjoyed by your loved ones,” says Tineke.
She lives with her husband, Guus, in a nice two-story home close
to the center of The Hague. I spent an evening cooking with them, and she gave me her secrets to
making the best goat cheese mousse.

© Gabriele Galimberti

Tineke’s Goat Cheese Mousse with Strawberry Sauce

While the dessert isn’t
typically Dutch, Tineke found the recipe at her
local liquor store, and has personalized and perfected it over time.
Her family requests it again and again. (Her little granddaughter
even ducks under the table to finish her plate!) The easy-to-make
strawberry sauce is essential to balance the flavors
of the mousse. Tineke also uses strawberry leaves to add freshness.

© Gabriele Galimberti

Serette: Saint-Jean-Du-Sud, Haiti

Serette has 10 sons and daughters and 15 grandchildren. She lives in
the countryside near
Saint-Jean-du-Sud, in the southern area of Haiti, not far from the sea. Getting to her house from Les Cayes (Haiti’s second-biggest city) involves a one-hour drive on an unsurfaced road in a four-wheel-drive vehicle, followed by a 50-minute walk.
Her home is in the
middle of the forest near other families; together, they form a little village. She has neither electricity nor running water. Fortunately, close to her house is a river.

© Gabriele Galimberti

Serette’s Lambi in Creole Sauce with Haitian Rice and Fried Plantains

Using coal that she makes from burned logs, Serette loves to
prepare lambi, a Haitian type of conch. Someone has to fish
it for her, usually one of her nephews.

© Gabriele Galimberti

Guang Mei: Chongqing, China

Guang Mei has one son and one grandchild. She was born in the countryside of Sichuan and now lives in Chongqing, a city of more than 30 million people. She grew up in a tiny house in which the entire kitchen was basically a camping stove on a table. Now she lives with her husband
on the 19th floor of a skyscraper where her kitchen is as big as her first house.

© Gabriele Galimberti

Guang Mei’s Hui Guo Rou

The Chinese word rou in this recipe means “meat cooked again in the
wok.” Indeed, the meat has to be cooked twice: the first time in boiling
water and the second in a wok with some vegetables. Cycling every day
to the market keeps her trim, says Guang Mei.

© Gabriele Galimberti

Joyce: Kalulushi, Zambia

Joyce was born and raised
in Kitwe, one of the biggest
cities in Zambia. When
she married 25 years ago, she moved to Kalulushi, a small village in the northern countryside, close to the Congo border. The closest city is a two-hour bus ride away.
Joyce has two daughters and a son, but only her
son lives near her. Her
married daughters moved to Lusaka, the capital of Zambia, nearly seven hours south.

As a result, Joyce hardly sees her five grandchildren. She tries to make
up for their absence by spending time with other children. She works as
a janitor in a primary
school for deaf students and spends most of her time with more than 200
children.

© Gabriele Galimberti

Joyce’s Inkoko Nama Spices

Joyce’s recipe is simple and packed with flavor. She utilizes fresh herbs like rosemary, parsley and basil along with chopped onion, lemon juice, and barbecue spice. Her use of a wood-fired oven allows the chicken to perfectly roast.

© Gabriele Galimberti

Melanie: American Fork, Utah, USA

Melanie, the grandmother of two granddaughters, 3 and 5 years old, lives in a small town to the south of Salt Lake City. All the members of her
family are Mormon, like most of the folks in that area. While she spends a lot of time cooking, she says she isn’t so keen on it and
often serves semi-prepared meals. The dinner we had
together with her family had been previously ordered and was delivered
an hour before we sat at the table.

© Gabriele Galimberti

Melanie’s Chocolate Toffee Trifle

At the end of the dinner, Melanie served
this trifle, the only thing that she had made herself. She prepared it by using a box of chocolate cake mix, German chocolate, heavy whipping cream, evaporated milk and Mou toffee candies. It was so good, I
had
seconds!

© Gabriele Galimberti

More Wonderful Stories and Recipes From These Global Grandmothers

Pick up In Her Kitchen here to see the full recipes from these inspiring women and others.

Originally Published in Reader's Digest