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Caroline Shin Tells Immigrant Food Stories, One Granny at a Time


my name

Caroline Shin

MY Home Base

Queens, New York

MY biz

Cooking with Granny! It consists of a YouTube series, pop-up dinners, and, fingers crossed, a cookbook where diverse immigrant grandmothers teach their family recipes and tell their stories. I started it in 2014 because I believe grandmothers are queens of the kitchen. They've been cooking forever out of love, perfecting their skills while adhering to these universal gendered norms around household labor without the recognition that chefs—mostly men, mostly white—were getting when I started the program. I grew up cooking with my grandma, who fled North Korea and brought her family to safety with her recipes in tow. I have so much respect for her and her cooking chops. Growing up in Queens, I also ate the most delicious meals that were cooked by my friends' immigrant moms and grandmas. 

On Cooking with Granny, we've featured a Trinidadian grandma's pepper sauce, a Filipina lola's ube halaya (purple yam dessert), a Greek yiayia's octopus stew, a Honduran abuela's banana fritters, and so much more. For me, Grandma's food is a cultural heritage, and I want to celebrate that from a multicultural lens that really tells the story of America and its immigrant roots.

Caroline’s daughter Maddy

Caroline’s daughter Maddy

what I’M known for

Grandmas, Queens, and immigrant food stories. Whether it's Cooking with Granny or my journalism work (I also write for Eater, among others), representation has always been in my editorial DNA. I started Cooking with Granny independently, because this way I could tell the stories of immigrant women without bumping against the white male barrier that was much more rampant five, six years ago.

Grandmas and their food stories

Grandmas and their food stories

How I’m Doing

I'm really excited to take Cooking with Granny to the next level—a cookbook! I got a literary agent last year (woohoo), and we've been working together to bring the cookbook to life. On a more personal note, my little toddler started daycare, so I have space—both mental and physical—to work, and I've been relishing it! Raising a baby during the pandemic, while still working, was tough.

How the Bombesquad can help

Send me your grandma’s recipes! I want to cook them for a relaunch of my social media and newsletter. I'm also looking to feature immigrant grandmothers across the country for my cookbook, so if you know of any—either directly or through restaurants or cultural organizations—please connect me! Of course, I'd credit you on social and/or acknowledge your support in the book. And do follow my work @CookingWGranny on Instagram!

Caroline and Grandma Sara making Honduran Garifuna banana fritters at Essex Market

Caroline and Grandma Sara making Honduran Garifuna banana fritters at Essex Market

Secret Skill

Well, I used to know where to get the best gold hoops in town—at my parents' place! They had a gold jewelry store in Harlem called Cala Jewelers and I used to help them there, which meant I got to try on four-finger rings, name chains, and lion medallions that were all the rage in the ‘90s. I also got to engrave gold name plates.

MY Motto

Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars.

Most loved cookbook

Buttermilk Graffiti by Edward Lee. It's just so beautifully written.


essential kitchen tool

My six-quart Instant Pot. I'm constantly making stews, soups, stocks, and braises. It cuts down hours of cooking time and still achieves fall-off-the-bone tender and flavorful food. I also just made jambalaya and arroz con pollo in it. My Instant Pot is seriously my best friend in the kitchen. It makes me all my favorite things.

A cook’s BFF

A cook’s BFF

Favorite pantry item

Dried seaweed. It's called miyeok in Korean or wakame in Japanese, and it looks like twisted dark green, almost black, ropes of seaweed. There’s this Korean soup called miyeokguk that my grandma and mom would cook for me. I love it! And now I cook it for my baby girl, and it's one of her favorite foods, too. It makes me really happy to pass down these recipes to one more generation.

Caroline’s favorite Korean soup miyeokguk

Caroline’s favorite Korean soup miyeokguk

Squad Shoutout

Shout out to Hetty McKinnon, who comes up with delicious flavor combinations and recipes that I've easily cooked at home for my family, like her miso-squash ramen. She's also taken the time to support me and offer her insights, so I really appreciate her on many levels.