Thursday, 30 August, I followed a session of the Summer School "History of the Book" at the University of Amsterdam. I have chosen the topic "De Indische Keuken: Ontwikkeling van de Indonesische Keuken" (Indies Kitchen: Development of the Indonesian Kitchen) guided by Marleen Willebrands.
There were about 20 participants, mostly experts in the kitchen area, culinaire history and publishers of cooking books. There was also a cooking celebrity, a famous cook from the television channel 24Kitchen. There is a lady who will start a research about rice. There is a graduate from a master's study called 'Food History and Culture" in Brussels. The more I learned about the other participants, the more I was fascinated how serious is relationship between food and history. It is also important to mention that most of them have direct and indirect relations with the Dutch Indies.
We analysed recipes about Indonesian dishes based on cooking books written from the period when the Dutch arrived in the Indonesian Archipelago in the 16th century until recipes from the 21th century. We studied carefully the hand written recipes, tried to understand every ingredients and cooking instructions followed by discussions about similarities and differences with our practices today.
I think we should have a session with the reciprocal topic, the Dutch influences in the Indonesian kitchen.
Personally I didn't intend to learn the recipes. I have learned from the best teacher I have, that was my mother. I was only curious how far and how much the Indonesian influences in the Dutch kitchen. I got the answer from this session.
Good to mention that I was simply fascinated with how dilligently the Dutch people to take all the trouble to understand the topic. Wow. We sat in the room for about 3,5 hours to learn about this while outside was sunny (which is seldom in the Netherlands).
And for those who will join the club, there is a symposium on the History of Food, 16-17 November 2018, in the University of Amsterdam, with the theme "Body and Soul: Examining the Historical Relation between Nutrition, Health and Culture." Just google it and you will find detailed information.