Cooking with grandmas

Grandmas and students share a meal.

As exam season rolls around and our professors pack a year’s worth of work into the 30 days of April, there’s nothing more comforting than a home-cooked meal. 

Most of us don’t have culinary-skilled adults on call throughout the year for a hug or a handhold after hour eight at Stauffer. So, here I am with a solution: allow me to introduce “Cooking with Grandmas”. 

The first time I saw those three words strung together was when my housemate invited me to the Facebook event. I thought it was nothing more than a funny, albeit random, joke. 

However, after looking into it further, I realized it just may be the best discovery of the semester. Held by volunteers from the Queen’s Women’s Association, “Cooking with Grandmas” is a monthly event filled with delicious food and wonderful conversation in a stress-free environment. 

Initiated by Queen’s Interfaith Chaplain Kate Johnson, “Cooking with Grandmas” is a night where a delightful group of ladies will teach and demonstrate the makings of a true Sunday night family dinner in exchange for $5.  

“My sense is that the boomers were looking for ways to interact with the millennials and vice versa. Where better to meet than across a dining room table?” Johnson said when asked what initiated the idea for the event.

“I also felt like students needed some alcohol-free social opportunities and that a lot of students needed access to elder wisdom.”

So, on a cold night in February, my housemate and I made our way to 144 Albert Street. Walking into the warmth of the little house, we were greeted by a variety of delicious aromas coming from the kitchen. After slapping on a name tag and meeting our fellow “grandchildren”, we were carefully and lovingly instructed by the women on the makings of a feast. Dinner was an abundance of pork tenderloin with a hoisin sauce, root vegetable crumble and banana bread to top it off for dessert.

After some light-hearted gossiping and an amateur chef tutorial in the kitchen, we were led to a large table in the dining room that was set up for our new little family. Giving a toast of thanks to the grandmas for their loving patience and culinary expertise, we clinked our glasses and dug in.

“It was the best I’ve eaten all semester,” Nicolette Kabitsis, ArtSci’18, laughed, recalling the event and looking ruefully at her bowl of Kraft Dinner.

With plans to increase their amount of dinners to a weekly occurrence, “Cooking with Grandmas” hopes to spread awareness to more students and increase attendance for next year. 

“It’s an authentic way to make sure people feel cared for that transcends religious and cultural barriers — we all need to eat!” Johnson said, nodding her head thoughtfully.

Although the last chance to cook with grandmas has passed for the month of April, mark your calendars for September. If you’re missing your mom’s cooking, you need faith that houses can be clean again or you just want an honest-to-goodness hug from a warm, friendly grandma, you now know where to go. 

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