Silvia Sanchez and her 84-year-old grandmother Maria Rico from Michoacánare teaching people how to reconnect with their roots through food.
Sanchez, the creator of the YouTube channel “Abuela’s Kitchen” started the cooking channel in 2010 as a way to immortalize her memories with her grandmother. She said the idea came on a random day as she observed her grandmother make homemade flour tortillas.
She watched her as she kneaded the dough, placed it on the hot stove and with a gentle hand gesture flipped it as it puffed up, a good sign of a tasty tortilla.
“Instantly, I knew that if I didn’t do something to capture this moment, it could potentially be lost for all generations to come,” Sanchez said. “So I made a decision to learn all the old and authentic dishes prepared by my abuela.”
Their first video became “How to make flour tortillas.”
Since then, the channel has gained around 195,000 subscribers on YouTube and more than 23,000 followers on Instagram. Many of which feel a connection to their family heritage when watching their cooking videos.
It’s clear that the duo has become much more than just food for their followers. And the star of it all is Abuela, something about her resonates not just with the Latino community but beyond it. Many view Abuela — grandma — as a reminder of family, home and culture.
“I have seen some of our YouTube family embrace her with tears because of the memories she recollects in others,” said Sanchez.
Whether it’s the wrinkles on her brown skin, her mannerisms when handling food or her soft voice, people feel a connection.
“I’m so glad I found your channel,” said fan Ariel Sanchez in a comment on YouTube, adding that the food tastes like what her late grandmother would make.
For Sanchez, the videos are a great way of making sure her children bond with their great-grandmother. And just like with the fans it is a away for them to learn more about their culture straight from the source.
Jezreel Sanchez, the 17-year-old daughter of the co-host, said being able to share the kitchen with three generations of women in her family brings joy to her.
“I’m thankful that my mom decided to integrate these experiences,” Jezreel Sanchez said. “We will remember them for the rest of our lives. One day, we will look back and appreciate that we did not take our time together for granted.”
The channel has inspired not just her children but others.
“My hope is that future generations find purpose, value, ethics, and meaning in the positive attributes of our culture,” Sanchez said. “I hope that they can see the example of family unity and the beauty in capturing the simplicity in cooking and culture.”