I Want This TikTok Grandma to Teach Me Everything About Food

BY Bettina MakalintaL

VIDEO CLIPS BY @COOKINGWITHLYNJA VIA TIKTOK

Just as some people started baking bread or embroidering or trying out new hobbies as a hobby in itself, Lynn Davis and her son Tim were looking for a way to keep themselves busy when the pandemic hit the U.S. in March.

Four months and 25 videos on YouTube later, Lynn is better known online as "Lynja" or @cookingwithlynja, whose cartoonish TikTok clips inspire fans on social media to say things like: "I would like for her to be my new grandma."

With nearly 578,000 followers on TikTok and over 2,000 on YouTube, Lynja has built up a pretty solid following, becoming one of TikTok's most enjoyable new food stars.

"Cooking With Lynja" videos rely on pretty simple recipes: examples include fried rice, chocolate chip cookies, or copycat McDonald's French fries. But what sets them apart is their clever editing, and viewers often comment on both her editing and her scripts.

In a video for "dirty water dawgs," for example, multiple Lynja cut-outs say "glizzy check" before dancing in front of the New York skyline and joking about getting water from the East River in which to cook your hot dogs.

A video for homemade Dunkaroos is superimposed with a small Lynja, who pretends to dribble a basketball in front of a plate of cookies and comments on bigger Lynja's cartoonishly large biceps as she lifts a stand mixer onto the counter.

The videos all pack a lot into one minute, while also walking viewers clearly through a recipe, but above all, Cooking With Lynja videos feel extremely online, full of the quirky and self-referential quips people have come to love from series like “It’s Alive.”

“I believe the videos became popular because I am an older person on an app where a large part of the audience is much younger than me. I think people are surprised by the dichotomy of someone my age using pop culture references.”

-Lynn Davis

Despite TikTok's immediate association with Zoomers, "Boomers and grannies," as the New York Post once put it, often do well on the platform as they gain comparisons to beloved older relatives.

VIDEO CLIP BY @OLDMANSTEVE VIA TIKTOK

For example, there's "Grandma Lill" (200,000 followers), who tries TikTok dances and talks about how much she wants a boyfriend, and "Old Man Steve" (1.3 million followers), who explains simple meals like English muffins with peach preserves.

While the title for TikTok’s ultimate grandma might be contested, Lynja accepts it regardless.

“I LOVE being referred to as a grandmother as I am a grandmother in real life. I’m honored when people ask me if I can be their grandmother.”

-Lynn Davis

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