Knowledge shared with food in Maple Ridge
Gourmet Grannies is a staple at the Haney Farmers Market, with free food samples and cooking advice.
Christopher Sun / Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Times
October 8, 2014 04:05 PM
An exploding ginger bread did not discourage a young Candace Gordon from entering a kitchen again.
Instead, her mother and mentor chalked it up as a learning experience.
“My mother was like, ‘Oh well, let’s clean it up,’ and the next week, we got to make another ginger bread,” Gordon recalled. “I was lucky to have a mother who was very encouraging, and who cooked everything from scratch.”
That experience sparked an interest for Gordon, setting her on the pathway to becoming a lifelong foodie.
She dreamed of studying cooking at Cordon Bleu in Paris when she was eight, but she instead studied animal behaviour.
“I joke with people that I studied the eating behaviour of all those I was cooking for,” Gordon said with a laugh.
Gordon is the founder of Gourmet Grannies, a group of retirees who have extensive experience in the kitchen. Every Saturday, volunteers give out samples, featuring locally grown vegetables and fruits at the Haney Farmers Market, and provide free cooking advice.
She started the program three years ago as a way for seniors to be active in the community, by sharing their cooking knowledge and interacting with younger people.
“When people age, they often become less valued and more invisible,” Gordon said. “This program features the strengths and the knowledge and wisdom of seniors. It makes them less invisible.”
There are about 10 gourmet granny volunteers, and while men are invited to participate, under the moniker of Gourmet Rooster, there are no men currently volunteering.
“Eighty years ago, 70 years ago, you were going to get married and the man worked and the woman cooked,” Gordon said, explaining the generation gap. “Men cooking in the kitchen was not as prevalent back then.”
Some samples the Gourmet Grannies have handed out include pancake made with locally grown blueberries, peach upside down cake, and lesser known vegetables such as kohlrabi. Gordon searches the internet, magazines, and her collection of 500 cook books to find recipes for a locally grown item she plans to feature each week. She prepares 200 samples on average.
“We provide them samples and a recipe card,” Gordon said. “We feature a different fruit or vegetable every week. We follow what is in season or what is available right now.”
Gordon ran a local restaurant in the 1980s and 90s, and currently teaches cooking and sits on a number of committees and boards promoting food security and healthy eating in the community. She also served as a Maple Ridge municipal councillor for 12 years.
The Gourmet Grannies will be at this Saturday’s Haney Farmers Market at Memorial Peace Park from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The theme is Thanksgiving Dinner.
It will be the last outdoor market for the year due to weather, and will move indoors to the Grow and Gather, 24565 Dewdney Trunk Rd., starting Oct. 18.
For more about the market and Gourmet Grannies, visit www.haneyfarmersmarket.org.
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