In Honor of my Yaya, Revisiting the Kitchen Wars
December 7, 2011

Hey all,

I had a regular post planned for today, but my grandmother passed away this afternoon. She had a vibrant, full, and expressive life. We were very close, but in the years I’ve been writing CR I’ve only posted about her once. In honor of her, I’m linking to that post tonight: The Kitchen Wars. If you’ve ever butted heads with a family member about your food choices (and especially if that also involved generational or culture clash), it might make you smile. It—along with all of my many rich memories of my Yaya—makes me smile, too.

xo

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    69 Comments
  1. Gena, I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your grandmother. I remember your Kitchen Wars post like it was yesterday. It’s actually one of my favourite posts of yours. I don’t think I’ve ever read such an honest and eloquent description of the differences and tensions surrounding food that can arise among families. Thinking about your darling.

  2. Gena – I’m late to the party, but I just wanted to let you know that I’m so sorry for your loss. I’ll be thinking of you and your family.

  3. I came across your post a couple of days ago but had trouble writing. I am sorry for the loss. I also can’t help but marvel at the light and life in your memories, at the idea of remembering with a smile. I don’t see this often in our culture, celebration of life accompanying the sadness of the loss. As someone I care about will likely die in the next 6 months, I hope I will go through the time leading to his death and after it, with the same spirit you have expressed here.

  4. Thinking of you Gena, and i’m really sorry about the loss of your grandmother. When i read your Kitchen Wars post, i couldn’t help but smile, remembering the many battles i’ve had with my family over holiday meals and veganism. Years later, as adults, we bring individual dishes to my grandparents’ table and have a happy blend of Field Roast next to turkey or ham, and a colorful salad next to the jello salad – such an oxymoron! =) I was lucky, because Grandma would always cook plain beans for the vegans, and beans with a ham hock or bacon for the omnivores (because she wouldn’t sacrifice quality for everyone else!). When my grandma cooks, she still says to this day, ‘there’s just a dab of butter in it!’ or, ‘there’s not enough to hurt!’ (of bacon, chicken stock, cream, etc…). Now it just makes me smile, and i know it will give me funny memories in the future when she’s no longer around to say those quotes.

  5. I’m so sorry for your loss Gena. It must be difficult for you to go through something like this. My thoughts are with you.

  6. I’m so sorry to hear about your loss, gena. I will keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.

  7. i’m so sorry to hear about your grandmother, gena. from your descriptions of her, it sounds like you’ll always have incredibly vivid memories of your time with her. thinking of you and your family!

  8. My grandma was similar, and died this year. It stings, doesn’t it? 🙁 Look after yourself, Gena.

  9. sorry to hear about your loss Gena. Big hug! glad you remember your Yaya in such a positive light – my Nonna (Italian for grandmother) passed away on my wedding day last year, and we had a similar relationship with food – didn’t I want just a little lasagna? But I remember her fondly and she passed on something to me even bigger than her love of food and feeding people – her love, for everyone, unconditionally.

  10. i remember reading that post about yaya! i’m so glad to hear that she lived a full life! i’m very sorry that you have to deal with this loss but thankful to hear that you had such a worthwhile relationship during her lifetime. hugs! x

  11. I’m so sorry to about your Yaya. I’m also Greek and had many of the same kitchen wars with my papou and yaya. I never liked meat, and was eating vegetarian when each of them passed – I’m now vegan and can just hear them wondering why. I had a miscarriage before getting pregnant with my daughter, and after yaya found out about my miscarriage she told me “be sure you tell the doctor you don’t eat meat”, as if that was the reason I miscarried. I still chuckle every time I think of that.

    MIna (Minaki to my yaya).

  12. Gena –
    My deepest condolences on your loss of your Yaya. Rereading your beautiful tribute to her brought tears to my eyes. May you find peace in your memories of your loving, yet imperfect, relationship.
    Much love to you –
    Karen

  13. I’m sorry to hear about your loss – The Kitchen Wars is a beautiful post, both when it was written and now published as a tribute.

  14. Everyone,

    I just wanted to butt in and thank you for the kind comments and well wishes. I am so grateful to have you all in my life!

    G xoxo

  15. Celebrating her and holding her memories close keeps her within you. I’m so so sorry to hear about this, and I send a lot of love to you and your family.

  16. So sorry to hear about your loss, but happy to hear that your grandma had a vibrant and full life. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  17. So sorry to hear of your loss. The memories stay with us when our loved one pass on, hold onto and cherish them.

  18. I’m so sorry, Gena, but also so deeply glad that you have wonderful memories of your grandma to help you smile. I lost my grandma just over a month ago myself- in fact, I was holding her hand when she passed, and I’ll always be grateful to have that memory of being with her as well as all the glorious cooking and laughing together memories. I hope the support that will undoubtedly pour out for you from around the world will help ease the hurt. xo

  19. Lots of love and condolences to you. This is especially poignant for me, as I’ve just returned from spending time with my own Iraqi-Israeli grandmother in Israel, with whom I’ve had some similar food disputes over the years–I’ll leave it at that for now but hold out the hope that we’ll get to chat and compare stories someday.
    love
    Ela

  20. I’m so sorry to hear about your grandma. Thoughts, love and prayers are with you and your family at this difficult time. xoxoxox

  21. Gena, even though you only have one post specifically dedicated to your wonderful grandmother, you mention her so frequently in other posts that it’s clear she impacts your life in deep and lasting ways. Much love to you and your family.

  22. I am so sorry for your loss. That’s one of my all-time favourite posts of yours. The picture you painted of this strong-minded woman reminded me how important such differences can be when it comes to family.

  23. Hi Gena – I read regularly but don’t comment often – so sorry to hear about your Yaya, my heart goes out to you. I lost my grandpa (Papa) nearly three years ago around this time. After such a rough holiday season, I needed to do something to occupy my mind, so my husband agreed to do a month long raw food experiment with me…

    Which is how I found your blog and ultimately transitioned to veganism! Now I volunteer with an anti-factory farming group and still often refer people to your blog.

    xo
    Kelly

  24. Gena so sorry about your loss. We lost our grandfather (who we were very close with) last year and it is never easy losing a loved one! Thinking of you and your family during this time! HUGS
    xoxo
    Lori and MIchelle