On April 25th, Grandmothers’ Day will be celebrated for the first time by Slow Food convivia all around Ireland – a day dedicated to remembering and recording lost skills, and the precious inherited wisdom of previous generations.
Grandmothers’ Day is the joint brainchild of the president of Slow Food Ireland, Darina Allen, and Californian restaurateur and vice-president of Slow Food International Alice Waters. ‘As a grandmother of six, I believe that it is crucial that we make time to pass on our recipes, cooking and growing skills and other crafts to our grandchildren,’ said Allen.
‘The beauty of the Grandmothers’ Day concept is that it will hopefully act as a Trojan horse, gently luring children into wholesome cooking practices by giving them the subliminal message that food, and the trappings that go with its production, is exciting, but not, of course, in the breakneck speed sense of excitement.’
Allen also commented on the use of such practical skills – like home-baking, growing vegetables, craft work, tending bees for honey, catching fish, skinning a rabbit, or preserving fruit – in hard economic times.
‘From a small budget, grandmothers were able to feed the family’ she said. ‘They could look in the fridge and make a meal out of all sorts of little scraps. Nowadays, all that people’ do is look at the ‘best before’ date and toss it in the bin. That is a skill that’s lost – being able to judge it yourself when food is safe to eat and when it is not. These are all the skills we really need!’
Over the weekend, Slow Food members and convivia across Ireland are organizing a range of activities to bring together children with older generations, to promote inter-generational exchange, the passing on of traditional wisdom and the fundamental Slow Food values of sharing and generosity.
Some of the events which will be happening around the Ireland include:
• Cork City convivium is asking grandmothers to recount the way they sourced and prepared food in the past, and will publish the stories online and later in a book.
• In West Cork, grandmothers will demonstrate some of their skills at a market, also involving the Irish Country Women’s Association.
• Galway convivium is asking grandparents to share their gardening secrets at the local Community Garden, followed by a demonstrate of traditional recipes and cooking tips.
• In East Cork, a “cooking with granny” art competition for youngsters has had hundreds of entries and The Irish Examiner is supporting a competition to find favourite recipes that grandparents love to cook with their grandchildren.
• Limerick convivium is seeking out traditional family recipes from the region, as well as tips on cooking, storage and preserving and will published them in a supplement to the local paper.
For more details, please visit www.slowfoodireland.com