True Life Stories club

A club in Loughborough, events every third Monday at Organ Grinder pub. Open to anyone, come and listen or tell short stories about your own life!

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  • UPDATE 2: Our next event ‘9 to 5’ has moved online! Book your tickets to get access to the Zoom meeting. See you online on Monday 18th 7.30 pm! We are looking for storytellers and listeners, let’s connect!
  • Book your tickets here.

  • due to covid-19 tonight’s live event of True Life Stories in Organ Grinder pub in Loughborough had to be cancelled. We miss our Lboro community and all the true stories people share. Stay safe and hope to see you soon!
  • The theme for tonight’s event was ‘Food’ so the club’s host Kristina decided to share a story about her grandma.

Story about grandma

Once upon a time, there was a little village close to the forest. And in that small village, there was a house that everybody knew about, and the reason was that from that particular house magnificent smells were spreading every day; chocolate cakes, apple pies, vanilla biscuits, almonds and coconut desserts. And in that house, there lived a – witch!  Real witch, just like from that story about Hansel and Gretel, but this witch was – my grandma!

Her witchcraft was cooking, and her kitchen was a place of magic. Everybody used to call her a witch, and for that nickname, it was me to blame. Now, I don’t even remember the event when I called her a witch, but my whole family is saying it happened.

Family is a tricky thing. They remember you from the time you were a kid, and then on the family gatherings, they tell these once-upon-a-time stories just to make you embarrassed. So, we all know the story when my mum was chased by an invisible bear, or that story when my uncle didn’t want to make ice cream cause he thought the man in the white coat is a doctor, or that story when my sister was hiding a hamster in our apartment for weeks.

In the same way, everybody knew the story of how sweet little granddaughter told her grandma she is a witch.

As I said, I don’t remember the event, but I will tell you the way they told me.

But to understand the story, you have to know that my grandma loves cooking. And for her, feeding all of us is the purpose of life. Accordingly, she measures how much we love her by the amount of food we put in ourselves. I know, you will say it is a cliche, loving grandma preparing food for her grandchildren, but very soon you will realize she is not like other grandmas at all.

So, when I was around four years old, and I came to visit her, she prepared me pancakes. But, she didn’t make just a couple of them like any other grandma, oh no. She woke up early in the morning to bake at least dozens of pancakes. When I sat by the table, she has put in front of me a plate full of hot pancakes, as well as melted chocolate, strawberry jam, walnuts, orange marmalade… anything she could find in her kitchen.

I really, really wanted to make her happy and proud. So I ate, and I ate, and I ate. Until I finished the whole plate. I felt sick, but I felt proud. I only had enough strength to smile at her, my mouth covered with chocolate. But at that moment, she came with another plate full of pancakes. My face changed, and through tears, I screamed – you are a witch! You are a witch!

Every time somebody tells this story, I feel embarrassed.

But, her obsession with food was growing and growing as the years passed by.

She had a special notebook in which she would write not just recipes, but also the list of our favourite dishes. So, if you once said you like her meatballs with gnocchi, you would get it every time you visit. For lunch, she would not prepare just one meal; it was at least a dozen of them. Big plates full of dry meat and cheese, olives, baked papers and pickled cucumbers, then at least two soups – vegetable cream and chicken with noodles, after that sarma, which is a specially heavy dish with minced meat in cabbage and tomato sauce. The main course would include at least four variety of meat and two variety of fish. And after all that you think she would stop, but no, she would bring a plate with fifteen different cakes and biscuits that she prepared days ahead of our visit.

For my grandma, food was everything, the best thing you can give to people you love.

I will never forget when I had my first play in a professional theatre; my grandma came for the opening night with her little hat and red lipstick. After the performance, everybody was applauding; the whole creative team went to the stage. I was receiving a lot of flower bouquets. And then my grandma came to the stage and gave me a pack wrapped in a white paper, but still, everybody could recognize – it was a massive, half-meter long sausage!

If you called her, the first thing that she would ask you would not be “How are you? “, but “What did you eat? “, if you came to visit her she would not say “Nice to see you “, she would say “Again you lost some weight. “She would not talk about politics or weather, but always food, food, food.

So, last time when I came to visit her, and we haven’t seen each other for a really long time, I wanted to tell her all about England and my writing and all the news. But she was always in the kitchen, bringing me one dish after another. Telling me always “Eat, eat more. You lost a lot of weight in England “I wanted to make her happy, but I was stuffed! Finally, when she came with a plate fool of pancakes I got really tired and angry. I shouted at her “Stop! Just stop! Why are you so obsessed with food!? “

She stood there in silence; I could just feel she is back in that moment when I told her she is a witch. But back then, I was four, and it is a cute little story for family gatherings, now I am an adult, and I am shouting at my grandma.

She sat next to me and said “Kristina, I am too old to be changed. I will tell you something, life is not a fairy tale. Once upon a time, I lived in a village even smaller than this one. And my family was so poor that we had only one real meal per day which was always potatoes and cabbage. There is one dish I never served you; there is one particular taste I never want you to try. And that is hunger. “

She stood up and went to wash the dishes.

I was sitting there quietly.

I finished my pancake and went to the kitchen to give my grandma a kiss.