This World Food Day (16th of October), we’ve teamed up with our partners at Whole Kids to recognise the powerful role of grandmothers, both here and overseas, in the passing of recipes from generation to generation, and the nurturing impact this has on children.
The love language of many grandmothers is food, whether that be sharing a top-secret recipe or cooking up a feast for the whole family. So what better way to support parents in keeping their kids healthy than utilising the power of grandmothers?
Our team in the West African nation of Benin, in partnership with five local NGOs teamed up with grandmothers across 160 villages to put this question to the test. The result? The Benin Community Nutrition Project.
In addition to their natural talents learned from years of maternal experience, grandmothers were trained to advise and educate young mothers in their communities around child nutrition and health. In Benin, thanks to their countless years of experience and wisdom, grandmothers are a respected member of their household and the wider community and many turn to them for guidance and knowledge.
45-year-old Philomena was one of the grandmothers working with us in the village of Hanionhoué, and according to her, there have been real improvements in children’s health since the project began. “We have formed a group of grandmothers who gather from time to time and hold cookery sessions for mothers to show them how to prepare nutritious meals using locally available ingredients,” she says. “Recipes we suggest to mothers are simple.”
“I enjoy working for my community. I know that because of my little time and contribution, children in my community, including my grandchildren, will escape malnutrition and its negative impacts such as stunted growth and even death. To me, this is a great achievement.”
This World Food Day, we want to hear about your favourite family recipe – one that has been handed down through generations. We asked Whole Kid’s founder Monica Meldrum to share hers.
Monica’s mother-in-law Barbara, or Nanny as she is better known by the Meldrum kids, has always been a keen cook. Sharing special dishes and passing on delicious recipes is one way for Nanny to make sure the traditions of her multicultural heritage (a blend of Hungarian, Polish, Scottish and English) live on in her grandchildren.
She may be in her 80’s now, but every Christmas without fail, Nanny whips up her famous melt-in-your-mouth shortbread biscuits. Lovingly wrapped up in little bags tied with ribbon, they make a perfect (and yummy!) gift for her grandkids.
The following recipe for Nanny’s Christmas Shortbread is certainly not an everyday food, but makes a special once in a while treat and one that the family are very fond of.
Nanny’s Christmas Shortbread
500g self-raising flour
360g butter (cold, straight from the fridge)
175g caster sugar
(recipe can be halved for smaller quantity)
1. Preheat the oven to 170C/340F.
2. Combine flour, butter and sugar in a large bowl and mix together either by hand or using an electric hand whisk or mixer. Mix only until ingredients have started to come together to form a crumbly dough. Do not over mix. Alternatively, you can blitz all ingredients together in a food processor.
3. Turn out mix onto a floured surface and using your hands, squeeze the mixture together until it just forms a ball of dough. Press the dough out a little with your hand to get a head start on rolling.
4. Using a floured rolling pin, gently roll the dough out to about 5mm/¼ inch thick, using extra flour if required.
5. Cut into shapes using a biscuit cutter. Transfer the biscuits to a baking tray lined with baking parchment and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes to rest so they hold their shape while baking.
6. Sprinkle each biscuit with a pinch of sugar. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until a light golden-brown.
7. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on the tray for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack.
8. Store in an airtight container or sealed pack.