I have 16 grand kids, 9 of them from my three daughters and 7 from my 3 step children.  One of the ways I get close to them is by cooking for them and with them.

Rosie, my daughter Maggie’s 17 year old daughter has had horrible anti-immune pains this past year.  At first various doctors thought she

was allergic to wheat, sugar, yeast, milk products and god knows what else.  She could eat chocolate, though.  Thank heavens for that.  Well, I went over to Rosie’s house, her mother at work and proceeded to invent ways to cook chocolate, ices, rice and potatoes.We had a funny time with a new ice cream maker that I bought. At that time, the only sweetener she could have was from pure juice extract.

I chopped up different fruits and added water and proceeded to freeze this glop.  We also tried making a fruit kind of chocolate.  Laughing helped a great deal. 

Rosie is not the most daring of eaters under the most ideal conditions.  However, thinking up ways to teach her how to bake, microwave and saute for herself and doing it so that she would eat some kind of protein was a tremendous challenge.  Rosie’s mainstay of protein has always been Haagen Daaz ice cream.  ( She is tiny and can eat endless ice cream without putting on any weight .0 Alas, her grandma Janet cannot.

Though doctors finally decided the only thing she really was allergic to was yeast, the experiments in her kitchen and the laughter we shared brought us even closer.

To me food and cooking are ways of affection and sharing.

Every time I go to Florida to visit Emmy and her 5 kids, I bake a pie for them and cook real home-made food—not take out. Emmy is a great mother but hates to cook.  So the kids get a treat when I cook.

All the others have cooked special foods with me for holidays and just fun.  Teaching how to make matzoh ball soup and chopped hard boiled eggs and salt seem nothing, but are important moments of closeness. Each child has a different favorite and a different way he or she wants to cook and eat.  A kitchen is the best social room in the house

1 Response to “A Cooking Grandmother by Janet de Winter”


  1. 1 Barbara Arnay July 14, 2007 at 1:28 am

    Real food.
    What a concept.
    Good for you, Janet.
    My friend’s grandchild was awe-struck because Grammy makes her own jello. Imagine!
    Our grandchildren have also had a spate of food allergies; although only Evan (14) is still affected and only by shellfish which I guess is fairly common. His great grandparents would be proud.
    How come we had such an underprivileged childhood? I don’t think any of us had allergies (except to criticism). But then I think food was better then. Cleaner.
    Or is that just another sign of aging? Missing the Good Old Days?
    Barbara Arnay


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