I guess it’s clear that for me food is more than just cooking something delicious and eating it. Recipes, dinner parties and culinary discoveries: everything has a moment, story or memory to it.
And a person: eating a whole fish for the first time with a dear friend in Ibiza; my first oyster with the in-laws; or that one dinner at home, where my brother brought over a 30-year-old Pedro Ximenez sherry: pretty memorable!
I could of course write down all these stories and share them with you but wouldn’t it be much better if the important people in my life did that? In “memoirs & meetings” they share their best, craziest or most delicious food memories, they talk about their culinary upbringing and they obviously share a favourite recipe. Wonderful stories that give a personal glimpse into the life of Miss Gingerish, today with my “little” sister Linda.
Although Linda is 3 years younger than me she has always been taller, so everyone thought she was the oldest; not funny! The fact that our mother usually dressed us in the same clothes did not help … Today people are still often surprised when we tell them that I really am the oldest – story of my life ;-).
I think we were quite different as a child: I could be pretty temper when things didn’t go my way while Linda was the more quiet and relaxed child. I remember once we were playing with dolls; I only carried my own doll and told Linda to take all other dolls. With the result that she fell down the stairs; again my apologies sis ;-). We shared a room for quite some years where we fantasied the most fantastic stories; did ballet together and biked to the same high school.
Even though we now live about 130 km apart: we luckily see each other regularly. We go for a good walk, have lunch or just chat because there is always something to talk about ;-). We regularly send each other messages: “Do you add an egg to those oatmeal banana pancakes?”, “How come my almond muffins are much drier than yours?”, “You know adding pieces of rice cracker to your granola is delicious, you should try!”. Of course we are brought up around the same kitchen table, so we’re both wondering if we have the same memories!
Memoirs & meetings #2: my younger sister
How have you seen raised culinary?
On weekdays 4 out of 5 times we had potatoes, vegetables and meat. Something I can remember very well because I didn’t like a lot of vegetables. Still, I had to taste it every time, if only a little. Luckily our mom always made tasty gravy and I was allowed to eat applesauce with almost everything. Good memories are the homemade fries, macaroni and Sunday soup. It was an “honour” if you were allowed to make the “paste” for the soup. I also remember the hot plate grilling, typical dutch; prepare all the food together and then enjoying a long meal.
What does food mean to you?
I find it important to enjoy food, whether it’s breakfast or dinner. Good taste is priority, which can be both healthy and unhealthy for me. I can enjoy a spinach salad with goat cheese as much as French fries and a “frikandel”. I had gluten intolerance and had to follow a special diet for a while. This means I can now really look forward to certain food.
What is your best, funniest, craziest food memory with me?
The nice thing about eating together with you is that you also enjoy the food. We’ll chat about it, exchange new recipes and give eachother tips. I actually have two food memories. The first is celebrating Christmas evenings. The complete family together at the table, each sibling cooks one course and we all enjoy eating together. The other memory is one from last summer. We went to the zoo and after a day of wandering around we had a nice picnic in the sun. We brought all kinds of homemade tapas and had doner kebab for “dessert” 😉
How would you describe your cooking style?
The fist time I follow recipes. When I cook a dish more often, every time I adjust it a little bit. I do own some cookbooks, but most recipes I get from the Internet or from magazines. I prefer to cook something not too ordinary, but a recipe shouldn’t have too many crazy ingredients that I have to go find everywhere. In the weekends I like to make some more complex or time-consuming recipes. I prefer to cook with fresh ingredients. The cookbook Easy Peasy has a very handy list of basic pantry ingredients. Together with fresh or frozen vegetables and fruit you can easily create a delicious dish.
If you had to choose one recipe to share, what would it be?
Butternut squash soup with cumin. It’s an all-time favourite that I could eat at anytime. Once in a while I make a large pan to keep in the freezer. It’s best to roast the squash in the oven before it goes into the soup. It’s a bit of a dirty job, but the flavour will be so much better! This soup is very tasty with a little feta cheese on top.
Roasted butternut soup with cumin
- 1 pumpkin
- 1 onion
- 1 sweet potato
- 2 carrots
- 1-1.5 liters stock
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 2 cloves garlic
- Cut the pumpkin in half. Put the two halves in the oven at 150 degrees for 40 minutes until the pumpkin is soft
- Meanwhile cut the sweet potato and carrot into cubes
- Cut the onion and garlic
- Fry the onion and garlic in a bit of oil. Add the cumin seeds so they can release their flavour and scent
- Also add the carrots and sweet potato and fry briefly. Deglaze with the stock
- Simmer the carrots and potato in the broth until they are soft
- Once the oven is ready: scoop the squash from the skin and add to the soup
- Blend the soup and season with salt and pepper
Together with a nice, thick slice of bread and butter you will have a delicious warming meal. It is not pumpkin season but when I make this recipe next autumn I will probably send my sister a message: “Do you make that pumpkin soup with chicken or vegetable stock?”