If grandmothers around the world had a rallying cry, it would probably sound something like “You need to eat!”
Photographer Gabriele Galimberti’s grandmother said something similar to him before one of his many globetrotting work trips. To ensure he had at least one good meal, she prepared for him a dish of ravioli before he departed on one of his adventures.
“In that occasion I said to my grandma ‘You know, Grandma, there are many other grandmas around the world and most of them are really good cooks,” Galimberti wrote via email. “I’m going to meet them and ask them to cook for me so I can show you that you don’t have to be worried for me and the food that I will eat!’ This is the way my project was born!”
The project, “Delicatessen With Love”, took Galimberti to 58 countries where he photographed grandmothers with both the ingredients and finished signature dishes.
He acted as photographer and stylist during each shoot with the grandmothers, taking a portrait of both the women and the food they made for him.
From top to bottom:
Inara Runtule, 68, Kekava, Latvia. Silke (herring with potatoes and cottage cheese).
Grace Estibero, 82, Mumbai, India. Chicken vindaloo.
Susann Soresen, 81, Homer, Alaska. Moose steak.
Serette Charles, 63, Saint-Jean du Sud, Haiti. Lambi in creole sauce.
The photographer’s grandmother Marisa Batini, 80, Castiglion Fiorentino, Italy. Swiss chard and ricotta Ravioli with meat sauce.
Normita Sambu Arap, 65, Oltepessi (Masaai Mara), Kenya. Mboga and orgali (white corn polenta with vegetables and goat).
Julia Enaigua, 71, La Paz, Bolivia. Queso Humacha (vegetables and fresh cheese soup).
Fifi Makhmer, 62, Cairo, Egypt. Kuoshry (pasta, rice and legumes pie).
Isolina Perez De Vargas, 83, Mendoza, Argentina. Asado criollo (mixed meats barbecue).
Bisrat Melake, 60, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Enjera with curry and vegetables.
Pretty sure this is what the inside of my head looked like when I was 13 years old.
“It’s as safe as Dawn dishwashing liquid.”
That’s what Jamie Griffin says the BP man told her about the smelly, rainbow-streaked gunk coating the floor of the “floating hotel” where Griffin was feeding hundreds of cleanup workers during the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Apparently, the workers were tracking the gunk inside on their boots. Griffin, as chief cook and maid, was trying to clean it. But even boiling water didn’t work.
“The BP representative said, ‘Jamie, just mop it like you’d mop any other dirty floor,’” Griffin recalls in her Louisiana drawl.
It was the opening weeks of what everyone, echoing President Barack Obama, was calling “the worst environmental disaster in American history.” At 9:45 p.m. local time on April 20, 2010, a fiery explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig had killed 11 workers and injured 17. One mile underwater, the Macondo well had blown apart, unleashing a gusher of oil into the gulf. At risk were fishing areas that supplied one third of the seafood consumed in the U.S., beaches from Texas to Florida that drew billions of dollars’ worth of tourism to local economies, and Obama’s chances of reelection. Republicans were blaming him for mishandling the disaster, his poll numbers were falling, even his 11-year-old daughter was demanding, “Daddy, did you plug the hole yet?”
Griffin did as she was told: “I tried Pine-Sol, bleach, I even tried Dawn on those floors.” As she scrubbed, the mix of cleanser and gunk occasionally splashed onto her arms and face.
Within days, the 32-year-old single mother was coughing up blood and suffering constant headaches. She lost her voice. “My throat felt like I’d swallowed razor blades,” she says.
Then things got much worse.
Like hundreds, possibly thousands, of workers on the cleanup, Griffin soon fell ill with a cluster of excruciating, bizarre, grotesque ailments. By July, unstoppable muscle spasms were twisting her hands into immovable claws. In August, she began losing her short-term memory. After cooking professionally for 10 years, she couldn’t remember the recipe for vegetable soup; one morning, she got in the car to go to work, only to discover she hadn’t put on pants. The right side, but only the right side, of her body “started acting crazy. It felt like the nerves were coming out of my skin. It was so painful. My right leg swelled—my ankle would get as wide as my calf—and my skin got incredibly itchy.”
[Photo: Benjamin Lowy/Getty]
The story behind Sriracha
With a distinctive bottle taste, Sriracha has gone from an unpronounceable challenge to a staple sauce for many Americans. In the U.S. alone, $60 million worth of the sauce was sold last year alone.
But it wasn’t always such a prevalent item on store shelves. David Tran, the man responsible for popularizing the hot sauce, had a long journey beforehand:
When North Vietnam’s communists took power in South Vietnam, Tran, a major in the South Vietnamese army, fled with his family to the U.S. After settling in Los Angeles, Tran couldn’t find a job — or a hot sauce to his liking.
So he made his own by hand in a bucket, bottled it and drove it to customers in a van. He named his company Huy Fong Foods after the Taiwanese freighter that carried him out of Vietnam.
Read more via our profile of Tran, and his beloved hot sauce.
Photos: Gina Ferazzi, Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times