Book Review– In Her Kitchen

In Her Kitchen by Gabriele Calimberti

In Her Kitchen by Gabriele Calimberti

I found In Her Kitchen: Stories and Recipes from Grandmas Round the World By Gabriele Calimberti in my local libraries new book section.

Most recipes I read have vegetable oil in them. Most of the time I ignore it but it struck me that this was a book where the grandmothers had chosen recipes that they think represent their countries and traditions but vegetable oils are not traditional and the fact that so many of the recipes contained some sort of vegetable oil or olive oil was sad. (The demand for olive oil completely outstrips the production of it and so much of what people buy is either contaminated or just swapped with vegetable oils and labeled as olive oil.) It’s amazing that something so modern has been so effective at replacing traditional fats in people’s home cooking world wide.

The other thing that I noticed was that many of the grandmothers were not able to spend that much time with there grandchildren, even though they wished to. I don’t spend as much time with my grandma as she would like either, but I thought that was because I live in America. My grandma chooses to live across town in an independent living situation. We invited her to live with us instead of move into her senior living center but she was not comfortable the idea. The distance makes it so going to see her takes more of effort than when she lived a block away or even a few blocks away. Then I would see her almost daily. Now I only see her twice a week at most.

I did not realize that in countries around the world that there’s been a trend towards ‘independence’ and thus separation from family. I say independence in quotes because I don’t feel people are every really truly independent from other people. In our modern culture we are isolated but we are not independent. We rely on modern infrastructure to provide us with food and water and take care of our waste. We don’t build our own houses or protect ourselves from predators. The infrastructure we rely on was not created by us nor is it maintained by us so we are dependent on a bunch of strangers to keep it up and running because most of us don’t understand it nor could we fix it. This structure allows us to move away from our families and our friends with relative ease, but to call it ‘independence’ is misleading.

Despite some of the sad thoughts that this book incited I really enjoyed reading it. It is a beautiful book full of lovely pictures and intriguing recipes. I love seeing how real people eat and cook and live around the world. I even enjoyed reading the recipes that contained insects or other gross foods. It would have been nice if the stories about each grandmother were a little longer, they were only a paragraph at most, but I think it had a lot of wonderful information about real life and culture in the world today and I highly recommend it.

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