Learning How to Learn from My Grandmother

children-learning-from-great-grandmaThe kids learning how to prepare the sweet potato leaves for cooking.

Can you see yourself learning how to operate new technology being illiterate when you are in your seventies?

Well, my grandma was born in a time when girls weren’t allowed to go to school. It was also a time when the computer hasn’t been invented yet. But now she has an iPad which she uses to stay connected with her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren all over the world! By the way, she has never used a computer before. But yes, she has an active Facebook account!

Don’t you wonder how she manages?

Learning  Is An Attitude

Every time I visit her, she would tell me something new she learns from the TV or someone she met. She would find new ways of cooking certain dishes that makes them more delicious or nutritious. Sometimes, she would learn the new medicinal effects of the herbs she plants and recommends how we use them. Other times, she would explain to me what certain TV dramas have taught her about living.

Every little thing in life seems much more interesting through her sharing, and I cannot help but wonder why. What makes everything so interesting to her? A person who has seen almost everything in life.

Grandma says, “don’t know how to do something? Ask. Ask and learn, then you’ll know.” It’s a simple idea, really. But how many of us actually practice it in real life?

Sharing through Prepping Sweet Potato Leaves


After refusing to get the organic sweet potato leaves grandma wanted to give me for more than 3  times, I finally admitted to grandma that I don’t know how to cook it. Truth was, I tried cooking it before but it tasted horrible. Nothing like what my grandma or mother made. Mine was hard and difficult to chew! It was so bad even myself wouldn’t eat it.

Without a word, she stood up, took the leaves and started showing me how it’s prepared prior to cooking. Apparently, you have to remove the “skin of the stem” (if that makes sense) so it’s not hard! While we were prepping the leaves, she started telling me how to cook it. And also casually mentioned who had consulted her on how to stir-fry grandmother’s style sweet potato leaves before.

She said, “Many people don’t think much of sweet potato leaves like they don’t think much of affordable ingredients we can easily get…”

but a good cook can make magic out of simple ingredients, while a bad one can’t make any good food even using the most expensive ingredients!

I almost stood up and applauded.

Grandma was right, a good cook is a food magician!

And so my journey of learning how to cook (properly) began…

It starts from my asking.

Ask. Ask and you will learn.


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