Before Covid-19, I Road-Tripped Across America to Cook With the Nation’s Grandmas

A grandma sitting in between two young women. They’re all holding up glasses of red liquid with lemon wedges on the rims.
From L–R: the author, Grandmother Sharon from North Carolina, and Iska Lupton. Photos: Iska Lupton
An elderly woman wearing an apron gesturing with her hand as she talks to someone off-camera.
An elderly woman wearing an apron gesturing with her hand as she talks to someone off-camera.
Nonna Adelina.
Grandmother Maral.

The American South

Scenes from North Carolina’s Outer Banks.
Grandmother Sharon at home.
From closest to farthest from the camera: Two lemons, a can of condensed milk, and a graham cracker crust in a pie tin.
The makings of Darcelle’s pie.
Grandmother Darcelle, her family, and her icebox pie.
An elderly woman in a plaid vest standing in front of a US flag on a porch.
Grandmother Westelle.
Grandmother Westelle with the authors at her home.
Helen’s Bar-B-Q Shack in Brownsville, Tennessee.
Grandmothers Anne and Harriet in New Orleans.

‘Our city’s the kind of place you’re eating lunch and wondering what you’re going to be making for dinner.’

Feasting on an Old Tyme po’boy.

The Lone Star State

Texas cattle in Lexington.
Grandma Tootsie of Snow’s BBQ.
Grandma Tish in Los Angeles.
Two people standing about 15 feet apart on a country road, a red barn between them in the distance.

We left England for America on a mission to uncover what the nation’s food might say about its people. What we found was a country of excess that does not provide for everyone.

Freelance journalist writing about travel, the environment, food and life for The Guardian, The Independent, The New York Times and The Telegraph.

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