What Should We Make for Dinner?

10 March, 2019

Most of us might only begin to think about dinner in the late afternoon: What should I make today?

But Jelena Petrovic begins to think about her big meal early each morning.

After morning tea, she and her husband, Milan, begin their plans for a traditional Serbian dish. The cooking method they use probably comes from Jelena's mother or grandmother. Each recipe uses local foods found in Serbian markets.

Milan goes to the market to get the food they need. And the 69-year-old Jelena makes plans for how she will explain the cooking process to her 150,000 followers on YouTube.

 Granny's Kitchen: Jelena Petrovic places the tray with food into the oven
Granny's Kitchen: Jelena Petrovic places the tray with food into the oven

Once she is ready, Jelena films her cooking show from a small kitchen table. Milan holds the camera. Online, she is known as "Granny Jela." And her popular YouTube channel is called "Bakina Kuhinja" – or "Granny's Kitchen" in the Serbian language.

Jelena has many years of experience cooking at home. Ten years ago, she started an online forum, where she shared recipes and cooking suggestions for meat, soup, bread, sweet treats and more.

Her number of followers grew over time. She decided to start a blog and began also making videos she filmed with her mobile phone.

Today, her videos on YouTube have over 50 million views. Last year, "Granny's Kitchen" was named one of the Top 50 YouTube channels in Serbia.

"All you need is love, the will and desire to do something," Jelena told Associated Press reporters. "Anything can be done only if you really want to do it."

Before she became a social media star, Jelena first had to teach herself how to use a computer. "I didn't even know how to use a computer mouse at first," she said. "But I Googled a lot and read hundreds of tutorials."

Now her YouTube channel takes up much of her day. She works from her small kitchen and home office. Colorful plants and flowers fill the room. A bright cloth covers the table where she works. She says she gets tired from working long hours each day.

But, she said, "my viewers wait for a new recipe every morning. If I am late, they ask if I am well and what is happening."

Often, her viewers write that the recipes bring back happy memories of their childhood.

"My recipes are all local, traditional home-food recipes," Jelena said. "I make things my mother or grandmother used to make."

But, who eats all the tasty food?

"Oh, I give some of it to the neighbors and friends, but I pack the sweets for my grandchildren," Jelena says with a smile.

I'm Jill Robbins.

Jovana Gec reported on this story for the Associated Press. Jill Robbins adapted it for Learning English. Ashley Thompson was the editor.


Words in This Story

afternoon – n. the part of the day between noon and evening

dish – n. food that is prepared in a particular way

recipe – n. a set of instructions for making food

desire – n. the feeling of wanting something

tutorial – n. a book, or computer program that teaches someone how to do something by explaining each stage of a process

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