This is my grandma, or babushka as I prefer to call her. She is in her 80’s and lives in a one bedroom flat in Minsk, Belarus.
When I think of her, first things that spring into my mind are how neat and tidy she is, her red lampshade in the living room, old school phone and her enormous supply of pickled veg and jams. I also remember her interesting yeasty fruit pie she used to bake for the whole family for Easter. I can”t quite remember if it was a little under developed or underbaked, but regardless the taste, which wasn’t for everyone’s taste buds, everyone got a slice of it and a cup of tea. My family was also given a slab to go (the whole thing was rather large, baked on a cooking tray) and later consumed by my dad with a dollop of jam. Of course, she has many other signature recipes, but a few are babushka’s original.
Before I started my overseas adventures, my then boss gave me a lovely red leather notebook to use as a travel diary. I am not big on diaries, but I decided to take it with me anyway and figure out later what to do with it. Instead, I started a travel cookbook, noting down interesting food ideas from the places I’ve been to and also using it a scrapbook. There is a section dedicated to my babushka. I am now waiting for her to mail me a few handwritten pages, but she section is coming along nicely.
Anyway, to my surprise, I wasn’t the only one with a similar idea. A few years ago, photographer Gabriele Galimberti embarked on his world wide adventure. His grandma was worried that he will not eat homemade food while exploring the world. But what he did was combining his love of photography, good homemade food and grandmas, taking pictures of grandmas along the way and their favorite meals.
Rumor has it that the printed book isn’t far off, but in the meantime, you can see the results of his project on this website, and my favorite pictures below
Julia Enaigua, 71 years old – La Paz, Bolivia. Queso Humacha (vegetables and fresh cheese soup).
Natalie Bakradze, 60 years old - Tblisi, Georgia. Khinkali (pork and beef dumplings).
Serette Charles, 63 years old – Saint-Jean du Sud, Haiti. Lambi in creole sauce.
Marisa Batini, 80 years old – Castiglion Fiorentino, Italy. Swiss chard and ricotta ravioli with meat sauce.
Inara Runtule, 68 years old – Kekava, Latvia. Silke (herring with potatoes and cottage cheese).
Regina Lifumbo, 53 years old – Mchinji, Malawi. Finkubala (Caterpillar in tomato sauce).
Susann Soresen, 81 years old – Homer, Alaska. MOOSE STEAK
For more photos, check out Gabriele’s website.
Mix together and let it sit for 10-15 mins:
1 cup of warm milk
1 teaspoon of instant yeast
3 tsp of sugar
a few teaspoons of sour cream
100 melted butter
a bit of vanilla essence
Mix in enough flour for a non-sticky dough. Develop for four hours in a warm place. Gently massage it every hour to get the excess air out. When the dough has been developed and doubled in size, divide into three parts. One part is used for the base, one for the top and one third for the decorations. Babushka likes to use braids, or flowers, I would try and make birds. :). Arrange filling (stewed apples, or stewed cabbage or jam, or apples with honey and cinnamon) on the base layer, cover and decorate. Bake in a moderate heat oven, which has been preheated until golden. For a nice shine, brush with milk prior to popping in into the oven.