Profiles of Loving Spoonfuls' Featured Grandmothers

Barbara Hauer - Episode 1
Barbara Hauer, 65, was born in a German community in Traunau, Romania. After her father and her mother’s brother were killed in World War II, Barbara's mother took her and her siblings away from Romania. With a loaded wagon, they walked 1700 kilometres to Germany. Barbara spent eight years in Germany. In 1953, when she was 18, she emigrated to Canada, bringing her family over two years later. Her husband Karl is Hungarian but lived in Germany where he and Barbara met as youths. They didn’t meet again until they both attended a festival in Niagara Falls. They married in 1956 and have three children and two grandchildren. When Barbara first moved to Canada, she worked at a radio assembly factory, a tobacco farm, and finally at Eaton’s bake shop. Barbara and Karl still live in the same house they bought in 1957, and Barbara loves to cook for family and friends.

Jean Lumb - Episode 2
Jean Lumb, 80, is the daughter of a farm labourer who came from China in 1899 to work at a farm in B.C. He soon sent for his wife and son; Jean and seven other siblings were born in Canada. The family moved to Vancouver where they opened a fruit store and managed a hotel. As a child Jean moved to Toronto to work with her sister at a fruit store. At the young age of 17, Jean opened up her own store and brought her parents to live with her and work at the store. At 20, she married her husband Doyle Jenning in an arranged marriage. In 1959 she and her husband opened a restaurant in Chinatown called Kwong Chow, which they ran successfully for 35 years. She was married for 50 years until her husband died in 1989. Jean is well known in the community for the restaurant and her political involvement. She has been named to the Order of Canada and has won many community awards for her involvement with the Chinese community.

Araxi Kashkarian - Episode 3
Araxi Kashkarian, 76, grew up in an Armenian family living in Alexandria, Egypt. In 1966, Araxi, her husband Gerard and their three children fled to Canada as a result of an uprising against Christians or non-Arabs in Egypt. Araxi and her husband dreamed of opening a Middle Eastern bakery/delicatessen in Toronto and soon opened Ararat International Fine Foods on Avenue Road. The well-known family-run store recently celebrated its 30th anniversary, and Araxi still works there almost every day. Araxi has three children and three grandchildren. She is well known for her delicious Armenian cooking.

Loet Vos - Episode 4
Loet Vos, 66, moved from Holland to Canada after marrying her husband Max and giving birth to a daughter. Her husband, a geologist, got a job in Sudbury, but Loet missed the excitement provided by a large city. The family, which by then included a son, soon moved to Toronto. When her husband finished his PhD, it was Loet's turn for education, and she went to university to study museum arts. She worked at the Royal Ontario Museum for 18 years and also taught Canadian art for two years at Ryerson Polytechnic University. She has also worked for the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Ontario Science Centre. Although Loet has been collecting antique toys for many years, it wasn’t until 1981 that she started planning The Museum of Childhood. The City of Toronto has given her a home for the proposed museum at the Gooderham and Worts site in the east end of downtown Toronto. She is currently raising funds for this project. Her own home is filled with delightful toys which will one day be moved to the proposed museum.

Bertha Skye - Episode 5
Award-winning chef Bertha Skye, 67, a Cree Indian, grew up on a farm in Saskatchewan with 10 siblings. Through her mother, who was a great cook, and her father, who was a great hunter, Bertha learned to love and respect natural foods produced by the earth. When she was 17, she began cooking in cafeterias at residential schools in Saskatchewan and realized that she had a passion for cooking. She met her husband Hubert, who was a teacher at one of the schools where she cooked, and they got married in 1957. A year later they moved to the Six Nations Indian Reserve near Caledonia, Ontario. Bertha started catering for her husband’s golf and hockey tournaments in the 1960s and this grew into a catering business for weddings and events. She soon became known for her traditional Native cooking. In 1992 she won a gold medal at the Culinary Olympics in Frankfurt, Germany working in a team of four. The team cooked a variety of dishes including soup, rabbit, Arctic char, and muskox. Now semi-retired, Bertha consults with organizations and governmental event organizers on the preparation of traditional Native foods. She has five children and five grandchildren.

Pearl Geneen - Episode 6
Pearl Geneen, 84, grew up in Glasgow, Scotland, in a well-to-do home. She married her husband Benjamin, a physician, in 1940. A year later he went off to fight in India during World War II. He returned in 1946 to meet his four-year-old daughter Lucy, and two years later he and Pearl had a son. The Geneens decided to leave Scotland to start a new life in Canada in 1956. Pearl opened the first cooking school in Toronto in 1963 called the School of International Cooking. She ran the school and taught international cuisine for five years. In 1970 she opened an upscale kitchen store, The Compleat Kitchen, in Toronto's Yorkville district. Pearl ran this store for 18 years. Inheriting her mother's love
of food, Pearl's daughter Lucy Waverman is a food writer and critic. Pearl has four grandchildren and will soon be a great-grandmother.

Patricia Brooks - Episode 7
Patricia Brooks, met and married her second husband, John Brooks, in Jamaica. They had two children, and Patricia has three children from her previous marriage. Patricia now has seven grandchildren and three great grandchildren. One son and one grandson (Rapper - James Rapos) are both musicians. Although an electrician by trade, John became very involved with students and social work in Jamaica, and this work continued when he and Patricia moved to Canada in 1963. John formed the John Brooks Community Foundation and Scholarship Fund to motivate students -- especially young people of African Canadians - to achieve academic excellence. John’s work earned him the Order of Canada. Retired from years of secretarial work with government ministries, Patricia works on the awards committee of the Foundation. Although her first love is cooking, she also writes poetry, sings jazz, and does some acting in theatre productions.

Edna Staebler - Episode 8
An accomplished writer and journalist, Edna Staebler, 94, is well known for her cookbook Food that Really Schmecks, a collection of Mennonite and country recipes originally published in 1968. Edna grew up in Kitchener, Ontario and still lives in the Waterloo area. In 1949 Edna lived with a Mennonite family in order to write an article about the Mennonite lifestyle. Her love and friendship with the Mennonite community continues today – and is often expressed through her food. She lives in a winterized cottage on Sunfish Lake surrounded by her books, nature, and fresh food from the local markets.

Ruth Zimmer - Episode 9
Ruth Zimmer, 72, came to Winnipeg after World War 11, having spent the war years in a Siberian labour camp. Born into a Jewish family in Sanok, Poland, she and her family were taken to Russia in 1940. When the war ended, she spent a few years in a German displaced persons camp, before coming to Canada with her parents, sisters, and brother. In Canada, she met and married her husband Morry, and had three children. She has one grandson. With her outgoing personality and love of humour, Ruth was a natural on stage, appearing in a number of theatrical productions in Winnipeg. She worked at a ladies dress shop and then ran a coffee shop in the Sharon Home -- the Jewish Senior's Residence -- with her two sisters.

Malati Srinivasan - Episode 10
Malati Srinivasan lives in Bangalore in Southern India, but visits her son and daughter in Canada frequently. Because her husband was in the Indian Navy, the family traveled extensively and lived in various regions in India. As a result, Malati learned to cook a extensively and lived in various regions in India. As a result, Malati learned to cook a variety of regional Indian foods. Malati worked for an insurance company in India, and also was the volunteer chairperson on the Craft Council of India. A lover of the arts, Malati studied classical music and is an accomplished Ikebana instructor (Japanese flower arranging). Her daughter Lata is a professional Indian dancer and teacher in Toronto. Malati was married for 53 years, but lost her husband last year. She has two sons, two daughters, and five grandchildren.

Patsy Conway - Episode 11
Patsy Conway, 65, grew up in Belfast, Ireland, the daughter of a carter (her father drove a horse and cart as a delivery man). Patsy was one of nine children. Political involvement has taken its toll on her family, with one nephew killed and another in jail. She met and married her husband Liam Conway in Belfast, and had one son before moving to Canada in 1957. They had three more sons in Canada and now Patsy has two grandsons. She worked in a bank for 10 years and later worked in a dentist's office. Liam worked in a steel plant and died 11 years ago. Patsy does volunteer work at nursing homes and hospitals, plays bingo, and loves to cook.

Susan Tsuji - Episode 12
Although she was born in Vancouver, Susan Tsuji was forced to live in Japanese Canadian internment camps during World War II. Her mother died when she was two, and she learned a lot about cooking from her father-in-law. Susan is very involved with Japanese-Canadian community events and is one of the founding members of the Canada-Japan Society. For 19 years she has hosted and produced a television series on CityTv called Hello Japan. The series brings Japanese news events to the Toronto Japanese-Canadian community. She has four children and eight grandchildren ranging from newborn to 24.

Fiora De Giannantonio - Episode 13
Fiora DeGiannantonio grew up in Cansano (in the Abruzzi region of Italy). Her parents owned a grocery store, butcher shop, and a trattoria. Fiora worked at her family's businesses from a young age, and later met and married her husband Emireno. After their first child, a son, turned three the De Giannantonios moved to Canada in 1953. They later had a daughter in Canada and now have five grandchildren. In the early 1960s Fiora and her husband slowly built up a family-run catering business. In 1978 they bought Casablanca Hall, where the whole family continues to cater many parties, weddings etc. Fiora's husband died in 1993, and she now works only part time at the hall.