Internet Grandma Goes Viral After Sharing Secret Kitchen Hacks, Seen In Moving Video

Jano le Roux

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This enthusiastic 72-year-old Connecticut-based grandma took the world by surprise after sharing her “storehouse of wisdom” on the internet teaching youngsters a thing or two in the kitchen. After receiving more than 1.7 million likes on social media, former middle school teacher, Barbara Costello (Babs), turned out to be one of the most incredible online teachers of the pandemic.

In April 2020, Costello hesitantly agreed to film only three cooking videos with her popular blogger-daughter, Liz Ariola, while they were stuck indoors “for days on end” during the quarantine. The mother-daughter team uploaded the first video to their brand new @brunchwithbabs account not knowing what to make of it.

The first video got over 100,000 views, but the grandmother wasn't so sure if this new reality was for her. “I did not have a clue as to where this would all lead and even how this social media thing worked,” Babs explained. Before Babs could wipe her eyes, the internet simply couldn't have enough of her enthusiasm, knowledge, and love.

Babs knew her videos made an impact in the world when she opened the comment section to realize her content meant so much more to the young viewers watching than she could have ever imagined.

“After my first few posts took off, and reading all the comments of people asking if I would adopt them, or telling me they miss their grandmother and I remind them of her, and just all the love and support, I couldn’t turn back,” the former Robert Frost Jr High teacher explained.

Little by little Liz started teaching her mom the ropes.

Barbara’s journey soon turned a page when she and Liz went through an old tattered recipe box holding many traditional family recipes as well as winning recipes acquired from friends throughout the years. Video after video, Babs shared some of her most treasured recipes and hacks. Take a look at this one that blew up on her page:

Babs told me about an amazing Italian sauce (gravy) recipe from one of her dear friends and inspirations. “Ida [was] an Italian immigrant who was one of the most naturally talented cooks I have ever known,” Babs said passionately. “She was short on patience when cooking, so I would stand next to her and observe, taking notes. Eventually, I was able to duplicate her two-day labor of love for my family and friends. She’s passed on and I really miss her,” the Chicagoan at heart added.

I asked Babs what she would say to elderly people with disbelief in emerging social media platforms. The tech-savvy grandmother explained: “Don’t be afraid of this new style of communicating especially now when so many people have been isolated from extended family.” She proceeded by telling me that “older people have a storehouse of wisdom that the younger generations would so benefit from.” She emphasized that there are things older people may be accustomed to that the younger generations may never have heard of and we should never take that for granted.

“It’s a win-win situation, older folks establishing a connection with people of all ages and all walks of life and the younger folks learning from an older generation,” Babs explained.

After sharing hundreds of recipes I asked Babs where she gets her seemingly endless supply of creative ideas from. She told me that she loves cookbooks and that she’s frequently inspired by food bloggers. “I like to read recipes but more importantly the comments,” she continued.

At this point, Babs only shares recipes she and her daughter think are truly delicious but also easy to make. She found that the home cooks of today are looking for simple, delicious, and healthy meals.

“We did a few dump meals where you dump all ingredients in a ziplock freezer bag and toss them in the freezer until time to “dump” in a crockpot. Those have been very popular and well-received.”

Take a look at some of her recent inventive dump meals that took the internet by surprise:

Currently, she gets together with her daughter a few times a week to shoot their food videos. Babs said: “It’s been a kick and I feel I’m almost doing my own TV show! Who would have thought?!”

While shooting at Lizz’s place they often have to juggle between two toddlers and a newborn. “So many times you can hear cooing baby sounds or little toddler voices in the background,” the grandmother told me. But I personally think it adds to the authentic feel of her inspiring videos.

Besides being an incredible chef — Babs is straight to the point. She knows kids don’t have a long attention span and make bitesize videos to keep them connected. “It never fails to amaze me [that] I am tasked with teaching people the most complex recipes in 15 to 60 seconds,” she told Today.

“Hooray! Perfect, straightforward production. Not a single “next you’re gonna wanna” or “then you take your” in the whole [video]. Thank you. Making it,” a Brunch with Babs fan wrote on one of her early videos. Her methodic structure was taken with a breath of fresh air on the internet. 

As someone once said: Once a teacher, always a teacher.

Besides her wonderful success on social media, Barbara just celebrated her 51st wedding anniversary with her highschool sweetheart. Babs recently opened an Instagram account and “went from 2,000 Instagram followers to 18,000 in one week.” She has recently been featured on Today.com and looks forward to breaking the stigma of what a 72-year-old woman can achieve with a pinch of enthusiasm in the digital age.

After recently losing my baking-queen grandmother in this pandemic, Babs has kept her light alive in my heart and brought light to many others not only through her knowledge but through her loving kindness, thoughtful comments, and absolute passion. Babs has become one of the much loved, yet underacknowledged teachers of this pandemic. I leave you with one final thought: A teacher affects eternity: she can never tell where her influence stops.

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