Make your grandma go viral!

Founder of a Paris-based digital venture that documents recipes from grandmothers across the world, hopes to get entries from Mumbai

We wonder whether the project name is missing an apostrophe. But, it is a plural project that aims to share recipes and stories of grandmas around the world, filmed by their grandchildren.

Filmmaker and founder, Jonas Pariente with his friend and Nano
Filmmaker and founder, Jonas Pariente with his friend and Nano

Three years ago, 33-year-old filmmaker and founder, Jonas Pariente, wanted to film recipes by both his grandmothers — one an Egyptian and the other Polish. “I wanted to capture their culinary diversity, but when my Polish grandmom died, the project was stalled, and I moved to New York for a few years,” say the Paris resident, who took up the project last year. “I decided to open its outreach and start a collective. I invited filmmakers from all over the world to share a film on their grandmas,” says Pariente, who did make one himself, starring his grandmother Suzanne Pariente, fondly called Nano, and the Egyptian delicacy Molokheya. “It is a beef stew with a herb, after which the dish is named.” The other two videos on the website are from France and Brazil. “There’s one film coming up from Croatia,” he adds.

Grandson Irvin Anneix and his Mamie Yoda make the Lait de Poule or eggnog
Grandson Irvin Anneix and his Mamie Yoda make the Lait de Poule or eggnog

In January this year, the project came under UNESCO’s patronage. “They recognise that grandmas and their cooking carries heritage value,” Pariente laughs over the phone from Paris. Now, the documentary filmmaker has announced entries from filmmakers interested in making an eight-minute-long film about their own grandmother. “A jury will select 30 projects to be put in production in the fall. The deadline is July 16,” says Pariente, who is keeping his fingers crossed so far as entries from Mumbai go. “I visited Mumbai for a holiday in 2010, when I was 24. I returned to make a film on the rickshawalas in the city. I stayed in Byculla and also visited the Jewish community in Colaba. I have seen Mumbai’s love for food as well as cinema,” he adds.

Suzzane makes the Egyptian dish Molokheya
Suzzane makes the Egyptian dish Molokheya

That is not the only reason, though. During his stay in the city, he got a taste of the city’s culinary diversity. “I enjoyed the Konkani seafood and biryani. French food is vast too, but not as much as India. I am open to non-filmmakers applying as well. If we like the concept, we will figure a way to film it,” says Pariente. The website also features photos and recipes of 40 grandmas from across the world.

While the project is only digital right now, the filmmaker hopes it will translate into cooking events where grandchildren will come with their grandmas and demonstrate a recipe or two.

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