Why a rural Chinese lady might be the most popular grandma in the world
Mao Shihua might just be the world’s most popular grandma. This 83-year-old has been making breakfast for primary school students for 24 years straight. She sells each breakfast item for just 0.5 yuan (about $0.08), a price point that was reasonable even 24 years ago. And this isn’t a fast food breakfast either.
Every morning, Mao Shihua wakes up at 1am to start preparing the ingredients for her breakfasts. She values real and good food, so she grinds the soybeans herself and hand picks the eggs she uses for her dishes. After she’s done preparing, she loads all her food and equipment (four stoves, three pots, and three pans) onto a tricycle and cycles to her little stand to sell her breakfasts.
It’s the love for children that gets her up every morning. “Even when I see kids on TV, I want to hug them,” Mao said. She is on a mission to provide children in the poorer rural area where she lives with an inexpensive breakfast to start their school days off right. The children, in turn, love seeing ‘Grandma Mao’ in her little stall. One of them said, “The food doesn’t taste that special, but it’s full of affection.”
The only ones less excited about Mao’s inexpensive breakfasts of love are the neighboring vendors selling their own breakfasts. “”We all know she can’t make money. She even loses money,” said one of them. “The costs for ingredients today are not comparable with that of 24 years ago.”