If you’ve been missing the comforting tastes and smells from grandma’s kitchen, you can borrow someone else’s nanna for one evening as part of a pop-up dinner party called “Cooking with Granny.”
The event, which stems from a web series of the same name by video journalist Caroline Shin, brings an immigrant grandmother together with younger foodies for a night of cooking and storytelling — not unlike a night at your own grandma’s house.
During the event, a woman like yiayia (Greek for “granny”) Barbara Aliprantis cooks a three-course meal for her guests at a midtown kitchen and talk about how she arrived in New York City and adapted her traditional dishes for her new life.
Yiayia Barbara's menu has included authentic Greek cheeses (halloumi and feta) with olives to start, homemade octopus stew braised in red wine with onions, black peppercorns and soft, spinach rice and revani for dessert, which is semolina cake drizzled with cinnamon and clove syrup — all made in the traditional Paros island way. (Often back in Paros, there would be lines of octopus hanging out to dry, according to yiayia Barbara.)
Foodies have gotten to try their hand at chopping octopus and taste mastic honey, olive oil and cheese straight from Greece, but each course will be paired with a Greek wine provided by Wine-O Club. Yiayia Barbara is sure to give insider tips as her guests sip and nibble.
On the web series, Shin spends time with the grandmothers (from the Caribbean, Russia, Puerto Rico, India and more) in their home kitchens learning about their culinary traditions, which are seasoned with stories from their pasts, including her own grandmother’s journey out of North Korea carrying her daughter on her back.
That story and the time she spent with her granny (“halmeoni” in Korean) in the kitchen is what inspired her to begin the web series, she writes on her website.
Before the next dinner party, Yiayia Barbara will have a recipe story session/cooking demo at COFFEED in Long Island City on Aug. 11, which costs $15 per person. Tickets are on cookingwithgranny.tv