“Authentic” Grandparent Recipes Are Trending on TikTok

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It’s not a secret : Grand parents are overall amazing cooks. With centuries of handed down tips, a touch of age-old magic, and all the TLC up their sleeves, they reliably cook delicious meals for their families without breaking a sweat, even if they sit in front of the stove for hours.

What didn’t we see coming? Grand parents doing their ICT Tac debut on their grandchildren’s accounts to show off their cooking skills. Read on to learn more about the trend, as well as our theories on why these videos are so popular with foodies.

Whether preparing homemade pasta with Nonna or dried food fish Like Inuk with Mom, TikTok has seen a rise in cooking videos centered around authentic recipes, old-world techniques, and family traditions. Some show grandparents in their element, cooking and explaining their go-to recipes. Others show grandchildren getting in on the action with their grandparents, learning to prepare the dishes they have loved since childhood. Many videos also have an element of cultural education, as experts pass on the wisdom of their home country to their descendants.

Why are these recipes trending?

If you ask us, there are several reasons why cooking videos featuring grandparents are particularly popular these days:

They connect us to our roots

No matter where your grandparents came from, they didn’t have unlimited food blogs and cookbooks to peruse before making dinner, or maybe even fully stocked grocery stores to get their groceries. The recipes they made time and time again were taught to them verbally (or better yet, inherited in a recipe box or treasured notebook) by their mothers and grandmothers. Now they know them by heart, and they can concoct a ropa vieja without measuring a single ingredient. Cooking with them now not only allows their grandchildren to carry the tasty torch into the future, but it also ties them deeply to their cultural heritage, even if those roots are generations away.

Grandparents waste nothing

If there is anything Generation Z cares, it’s the environment and conservation. Despite their age gap and possible differences in political opinion, baby boomers haven’t wasted in the kitchen and elsewhere for decades. (Does your grandfather keep his nuts and bolts in an old butter container? Is your abuela refill empty Boxes of Keebler Crackers with rice and dried beans and Royal Dansk cookie tins with sewing tools?) Anyone who lived through the Great Depression or poverty – or anyone raised by someone who endured their effects – is probably reluctant to throw things, as well as making a lot out of a little with the ingredients they have on hand. With the help of TikTok, Gen Z and Millennials were able to bond with their grandparents around this shared interest.

We crave comfort and quality time

The elderly have been greatly affected by the pandemic. They were at higher risk of serious Covid complications and isolated from friends and family. Many of us haven’t been able to see our grandparents in person for months for their health and safety, and some of us have lost our grandparents during the pandemic. Now that we’re in a post-vaccine world, we can finally spend time with them again, so from now on, we don’t take a single second for granted. This means we spend hours in the kitchen with them, not only passing their recipes on to our own children, but also creating as many new memories with them as possible.

We trust their knowledge (and they cook with love)

Whether it’s shrimp fries or oladi, one thing is certain: Grandmas make the best. Our grandparents prepare food the old-fashioned way: without shortcuts, appliances or fancy ingredients. (slow cooker who? Under a vacuum what?) They may not know what Upside down is, but when it comes to old-school recipes, no one does it better – and we know that, because we’ve tasted them countless times over the years. They are incredibly consistent cooks who know their signature dishes inside and out. A grandmother’s food is a comfort food you can rely on, even if she always watches the spices and “measures” the sugar with a drinking glass. Grandparent recipes are simple, traditional and infused with a generous dose of love, and nothing tastes better than this.

Taryn Pire is PureWowDeputy Food Editor. A former bartender and barista, she’s been writing about all things delicious since 2016, developing recipes, reviewing restaurants, and investigating food trends at Food52, New Jersey family magazine and Taste Discussions. When she’s not testing TikTok’s latest viral recipe, she’s eating popcorn for dinner and talking about it on Instagram @cookingwithpire.

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