10 Grandmothers From Around The World, Pictured With Their Most Comforting Dish

Take a little world tour via everyone’s favorite cook, grandma.


Three years ago, photographer Gabriele Galimberti had an idea: a book about “couchsurfing.” His plan was to travel to 50 countries, one a week, using, a site that links up people with places to stay. He was interested “to discover this incredible community of people all around the globe willing to share and give hospitality,” he says.


Before leaving, Galimberti went to see his grandma for dinner. She was clearly worried about something. But it wasn’t the danger of staying with complete strangers.

The project’s inspiration and the photographer’s grandmother, Marisa Batini, 80, Castiglion Fiorentino, Italy. Swiss chard and ricotta Ravioli with meat sauce. Gabriele Galimberti/INSTITUTE.

“She said something like, ‘Are you sure you want to go? What are you going to eat when you are far from home? You should stay here! You can find good food at home,'” Galimberti says.

“I found this really funny and I answered something like: ‘You know grandma? There are many grandmothers all over the world and I’m sure all of them would be able to prepare a good meal for me.”

Miraji Mussa Kheir, 56 years old, Bububu, Zanzibar. Wali, mchuzina mbogamboga (rice, fish and vegetables in green mango sauce). Gabriele Galimberti/INSTITUTE.

Sure enough, that’s what he found: many grandmothers just like his own, welcoming and warm, each with their favorite recipes. Galimberti ended up photographing 56 grandmothers, most of whom he met through the people he was staying with. He plans to publish a book of the pictures next year, but you can see 10 of them here. (Here are some images from the couchsurfing project).

He adds: “I was just wanted to show to my grandmother in the easiest way possible all the grandmothers I met, and all the ingredients that they used in the dishes they made for me.”

About the author

Ben Schiller is a New York staff writer for Fast Company. Previously, he edited a European management magazine and was a reporter in San Francisco, Prague, and Brussels.