Hello dadima’s family,
I’ve been so excited to share this blog with you, as it introduces the theme for grandactions this year. As you know, grandactions is dadima’s community campaign to connect generations over food. A huge thank you if you supported me during the first year of grandactions in 2017. We organised some great intergenerational foodie events (and walks) and had such a laugh in the process. Before I tell you more about grandactions2, it might be worth you reading last year’s blog on #grandactions1 so you have an idea of what my campaign is all about.
The grandactions I want to inspire in 2018 are…
heritage food that speaks to you.
So what am I asking from you? A grandaction is the ‘action’ of spending quality time with that ‘grand’ elder in your life. The aim is to bring different generations together over the theme of food.
I’m asking you to have a cooking conversation. This is the talk that comes about naturally through communal cooking, and it can only come about when you cook something close to your heart, I feel. So by asking you to cook ‘heritage food’ – food with family roots – I hope to bring about fun and meaningful cooking conversations.
The campaign works on two levels. On one level, I want cooking conversations to strengthen family bonds. On another level, cooking conversations help to create a close-knit community between strangers across generations.
So that you know all the important details about the campaign, I’ve put together a Q & A below to make reading easier.
What is this year’s grandactions campaign theme?
This year’s theme is cooking conversations around heritage food. What I mean by heritage food, is a dish that has been passed down in your family and is still important to you today. It can be any dish you like – simple, complex, sweet or savoury – and even a beverage.
For example, one of my heritage foods would be my nanima’s aloo gobi. It’s super special because my nanima cooks it to the taste of my late nanaji. When we eat it as a family, we end up sharing some of nanaji’s foodie stories.
How can I get involved?
So here’s how you can get involved digitally. Take a selfie or ask someone to take a photo during your cooking conversation. Share the photo on social media using #grandactions2, and in your caption, tell me what food speaks to you and why it’s so special.
What inspired the theme ‘cooking conversations’?
I’ve found that food naturally generates conversation, as it’s a universal language and of course, a basic necessity. This year’s theme was inspired by a chat between my mum and I, whilst we were making lunch for my younger cousins. Mum is a lecturer in English and Education, and as part of her job she visits lots of schools and talks to teachers. She told me about a piece of homework she read, where a child wrote about his reading habits, and how his favourite reading memory was with his aunty. This aunty would read cookbooks with her nephew and then teach him dishes like scones and bread and butter pudding. He loved the conversations they had over cooking time. This simple example sparked the theme for this year’s campaign. Grandactions is about spending time with the ‘grand’ elder in your life, and it need not be a grandparent. In this little boy’s case, his ‘grand’ elder was his aunty.
Who is leading grandactions?
This year, I’m excited to announce that my mum will be working alongside me on this campaign, sharing her culinary knowledge, and educational expertise of working with schools, teachers and children. Although we’re leading the dadima’s campaign, we’re only two people, so will need some help in spreading the word and reaching other communities. We need schools to lead and spread the word, and parents to encourage their children to book time in with special elders who have culinary skills and heritage food recipes.
Who could get involved?
I’m keen for more schools to get involved this year, be it through dadima’s cookery workshops with guest grandparents, school assemblies or other creative ways. This way, mum and I can help schools to develop home-school links, and in turn, cooking conversations will benefit children’s language skills. You can access dadima’s children’s ‘Interview your elder’ pack via this link.
So, if you work in a school, or know teachers, please get in touch with me for a chat. If you’re a school governor, please propose the idea to your school. I’m keen to get into primary and secondary schools, and work with teachers and grandparents (or other figureheads in the family where no grandparents are available) to cook, talk, and share their heritage food stories with younger generations. The idea is to promote inter-generational foodie conversations across the home and schools.
7 reasons to get involved
I believe that intergenerational cooking conversations are valuable and that we need to celebrate them. Below, I’ve listed my top reasons to participate in one, or organise one in your own family or community.
- Children and young people can learn heritage recipes from their elders: These valuable recipes could be lost forever if they’re not passed down, and with so many adults leading fast-paced lives, it makes sense that children benefit from the wisdom of their elders whilst they have the time and capacity (granted, some children have busier schedules than I do!)
- Help tackle loneliness: I’m a big advocate of helping people to feel connected, in spaces outside of social media. As I’ve said on social media, anyone can feel lonely and isolated, and it’s not just about the elderly. When I was writing my cookbook and setting up dadima’s brand, I felt incredibly lonely, even though I had people around me. Do look at all the web materials and statistics around the Jo Cox Loneliness Commission.
- It’s a mindful & creative outlet: Cooking communally is a simple way to be present and focus on the task at hand, whilst also doing something practical. There is enough research out there (as well as common sense) to tell us that having a little break from the digital world is beneficial to all generations.
- It brings about a sense of satisfaction: Elder generations like grandparents, feel valued in the family/ community when they have a space to share their culinary wisdom. Interestingly, this was the feedback I received from the grandparents at my grandactions supperclub last year. Equally, I know of grandchildren and young people who have taught a recipe or two to their elders.
- Challenging stereotypes in communities: Using food as a topic of conversation between different generations, can challenge negative impressions that some elders may have of younger people and vice versa. A grandactions conversation could bring together two people who would otherwise have never crossed paths. There’s not enough in the media, I feel, to celebrate topics which unite different generations, and food is one of them (in stark contrast to politics, which tends to divide generations on the radio and television).
- Inspire others: By uploading your photos and moments to social media, using #grandactions2, you’ll become part of a foodie conversation, inspiring others to spend time together and remind us all of what’s important in life.
- It’s inexpensive: The cost of a cooking conversation is time and ingredients. Grandactions is not about spending lots of money, it’s about using something as simple as cooking to bring people together.
What events are taking place?
Some events I’ll be organising with groups, and there are lots of foodie conversations going on behind the scenes. The events will also take place in your homes hopefully, when you have family gatherings and book in time.
What I can reveal now, is that the grandactions walk & talk events, are back by popular demand. These will be led by my mum (who is fitter than me!) and take place on the Windsor Long Mile at 09:00am on the dates below.
- Sunday January 14th
- Sunday February 18th
- Sunday March 18th
- Sunday April 15th
- Sunday May 20th
- I am getting married in June so it will be a very busy month – please do volunteer yourself to lead the June, July and August walks if you can.
No booking is needed. Just turn-up, be prepared to walk, talk, and share your culinary wisdom, whatever your level of expertise. We will meet at the Castle Gate entrance to the Long Walk (specific directions to follow on my social media). If you missed any of last year’s walks, take a look at the YouTube video. From the walk & talks last year, I was delighted to see people from all generations attend. As we walked, we spoke about food and so many other topics. Walking has always been an important part of my family lifestyle. I have have fond, childhood memories of family holidays to the Lake District, where my sister and I would walk for miles. Dad was always ‘gee’ us on with his jokes and positive words, despite our occassional eye-rolling at the endurance training. We are grateful with hindsight!
I would love for the walk & talk events to take place in schools, as part of their National Curriculum. I’m looking for ambassadors of dadima’s walks so that people can organise them in their local areas, too. Mum and I are very happy to talk to schools about ideas.
How do I stay updated with any grandactions events?
I’ll be posting updates on my Facebook & Instagram accounts so please do follow dadima’s page.
How can I contact you if I want to get involved or have ideas for the grandactions campaign?
If you have any ideas for cooking conversations, I would love to hear from you and my e-mail address is email@example.com
I’m open to ideas and need your support to help connect generations. Please share my blog via your social media pages so that we spread the campaign community message.
Finally, thank you for believing in me and for following my posts.
Have a great week ahead.
from Anneeka x