Today I had a lunch date with my aunt Nancy, my cousin Allie, and my favourite lady in the entire world:
I cannot have a blog dedicated to food without having a post dedicated to my Nana, who loves food as much as I do (I mentioned this to Allie and she said “Yeah, I’m pretty sure it runs in our family…”)
My Nana is almost 97-years-old, very Ukrainian, and the most positive person I know, which I believe is why she has lived for so long (and how she is still so spry!)
When we got there, my Nana mentioned that she didn’t want to eat a lot for lunch because this morning for breakfast she had porridge, toast, eggs, yogurt, coffee, and orange juice. Yes, I am pretty sure this is where I got my appetite from…
She moved from her apartment in Toronto into a nursing home about a year and a half ago, and has since put on a bit of weight (a healthy amount), because she says there is too much dessert, and she cannot resist eating it.
Before she moved into a nursing home, she had a little vacation in one for two weeks to try it out and see how she liked it. When I asked her how it was there, the first thing she said was “The food is AMAZING!” and then went on to describe everything she ate. This killed me, as it of course reminded me of myself .
My Nana and Papa (who passed away just before I was born) used to own a coffee shop/bakery on Yonge Street, so my Nanners is no stranger to cooking and baking! She was always making homemade pizza, lasagna, pierogies, borscht, shortbread cookies, pickled everything, and birthday cakes (she made the best birthday cakes EVER, she would hide money inside them, and she made them for everyone’s birthday).
(I made those cookies from my Nana’s recipe this past Christmas. They look exactly how she used to decorate hers, as I want to carry on her Christmas cookie tradition ).
When I think of staying at her house when I was younger, I think of EATING. She would make me a giant banana split before bed, and I would wake up to freshly squeezed orange juice (that she squeezed herself out of fresh oranges) beside my head. And then, of course, porridge with tons of brown sugar. She also made the BEST salad, with olive oil and vinegar dressing that I cannot for the life of me duplicate.
If I am ever worried about anything, she will say to me “Don’t worry, you’re beautiful!” which doesn’t fix the problem, but it does make me feel better .
Every square inch of her apartment, and now her room, is plastered with pictures of myself, my brother, and my cousins. She raves on to anyone who will listen about how beautiful we all are and how proud of us she is.
She has saved every single thing I’ve ever made for her, and every single card I’ve ever given her, and keeps everything in photo albums.
When she lived on her own, she would make care packages to give me when I came to visit her, consisting of random items such as half used bottles of Windex, a roll of paper towel, oranges, a can of soup, bread, cheese (yum), PC Decadent cookies, stamps, and whatever vegetables/fruit have been on sale at the grocery store. Now that she is in a home and can’t shop for herself, she still tries to do this, but her items are things she has somehow acquired, so therefore even more random. My last “care package” consisted of cookies and muffins she had saved from various meals and stored in Ziplock bags, socks she won at Bingo, and Disney Princess stickers. This absolutely warmed my heart and I love that she does this.
My Nana has acted as a grandmother to many of my friends over the years. She reads my horoscope daily, and also reads my best friend Lisa’s horoscope daily, and if anything crazy is going to happen for either of us, she will call me at work to let me know.
And of course:
She has been a huge inspiration to me. I don’t know that I have ever seen her without a smile on her face. I can only hope to one day be exactly like her, when I am 97!
I love my little Nanners! She is the best!
What do you love the most about your grandmother?