Monday, February 25, 2013

Family recipes, stamppot and fertility


In case you missed it, last Friday a lovely and deeply meaningful story, called "The miracle of the Latkes", by Julia from "Writings in the raw", led to a discussion on family recipes, grandmas, traditions and how something apparently simple, like food, can become a transcendent part of your inner family culture. A comment in the thread (by Granola) summarized it best:

"The times when I have prepared the recipes of my mother and grandmother and great grandmother and great aunts are some of the most mundane and meaningful of my life. It’s as if a very fine and strong thread is connecting us, through moving and illness and death and new things; there’s a power in it that I think is the closest thing in this world to real magic."

Or like Laura Esquivel, author of "Como agua para chocolate" (Like water for chocolate), put it in this interview* for the BBC:

"... (la cocina) es un gran laboratorio de alquimia. Es un lugar sagrado donde uno no sólo está en contacto con los cuatro elementos que conforman el mundo, jugando con ellos, sino que entra en comunión con el verdadero origen y con algo más allá....El acto de cocinar es un acto de amor. Todo aquello que hace que dos cosas se conviertan en una es un acto amoroso."

And so I would like to take this opportunity to lead you readers to "Project recipe swap", organized by Laura, from The Mrs. Makes, "as a little nod to all those women in our lives who have lovingly taught us their heirloom recipes, let us lick the cake spoon and learnt their favourites by heart." Anyone in the world can participate, you just have to email her / comment on this post, she will then send you a questionnaire, pair you up with someone, to whom you will send a recipe. You will of course receive a recipe as well and after you make it you can report it back to her so as to put a giant recipe file. It sounds like fun! Snail mail! Cooking! Sharing!


On the same line, this got me thinking, the first time I made stamppot, the Dutch's national dish, the boy took a pic, put it on instagram with a little comment: "My Mexican wife is finally making Dutch food (stampot met worst) now." And the other day I read that according to some, stamppot might increase fertility. 

 So for those curious, it is actually very easy to make this dish. You just boil some potatoes and peel them. In the meantime you should cook a traditional sausage (worst) according to the instructions (normally you just submerge it for 15 min in boiling water). Once your potatoes are ready you mash them with a little bit of water, milk and butter and season with salt, pepper, nutmeg (and maybe some chilli powder) while on a low fire. You should then add your vegetables (normally shredded curly kale, but really, anything can do), and mix until it reaches the consistency and taste you desire.


 You proceed to eat it with the sausage (and a little parmesan cheese if you're like me). Funny story: when we were in the UK we were invited to a very typical British restaurant. And what does the boy order? A dish called "kale mash" which was essentially stamppot (except of course it was drowned in gravy). 


15 comments:

  1. This is wonderful! So much so, in my opinion, I actually wrote my PhD on a very similar topic... food/identity/belonging are certainly very closely linked. So I guess if you're making stampot, you're really integrated ;)
    It was one of those funny things I took a while to get used to. But then they like it here in the UK too, although they call it Bubble and Squeak. I think the idea is that you use all the leftovers from the Sunday roast, so it's practical as well.
    I really like this post :)

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    1. Oh that must have been a very interesting PhD. Do you have a pdf file?
      And yeah, at first I thought it was quite the insipid dish (if you compare to Mexican food), but then, it is earthy, filling, nutritious and you can spice it up a bit to add flavor.
      Glad you liked the post !

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  2. His instagram caption made me smile. I absolutely love the diversity of your relationship. Not even sure if that's a proper sentence so I hope you know what I mean, lol

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    1. Haha thanks, I guess I know what you mean... the mix of cultures? Would it surprise you if I told you there is French, Austria, Indonesian and Surinamese blood mixed in both of us aside from the Mexican, Dutch and Swiss?

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    2. hahaha, that's AWESOME. I'm hoping that if I get married one day that our family will be culturally diverse as well :)

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  3. Mashed potatoes with vegetables mixed in? Where has this been all my life? That sounds amazing.

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    1. It really is good. Specially if you season it with stuff like paprika, or nutmeg. You can add spinach, endive, cooked carrots, lettuce... any leafy vegetable basically.

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  4. You know the picture didn't look too appealing until you described it. Now I want to try it. How funny that it says it could increase fertility. What is the reasoning?

    Me encanta lo que dijo Laura Esquivel. No es una sorpresa, porque me encanta todo el libro de Como Agua Para Chocolate, pero me gustó como ella dijo que estamos jugando con los cuatro elementos. No se porque nunca pensé de esto, pero me gusta la idea. También, yo diría, y creo que ella estaría de acuerdo, que tambien la cocina juega con las emociones y recuerdos. Debes hacer un Post sobre tus recuerdos de unas comidas de tu niñez.

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    1. Hahaha, the picture is not appealing? I thought I had chosen a relatively nice one, but it is certainly not the most photogenic dish, since it's basically a mash.
      They don't really give an explanation regarding the fertility, they just say that men who eat traditional "pot" (potato + vegetable mash, with meat)had a higher concentration of sperm cells compared to those who had a different diet. There was a twofold differrnce among the groups (62 million sperm per ml, vs 37 million/ml). I guess it could have to do with vitamins (vit C, Zinc, B). It does not look very scientific and it was just a random magazine, but I thought it was funny.

      Ese artículo de Laura Esquivel, y el libro es muy bueno. Y definitivamente la cocina juega con las emociones y recuerdos, es una buena idea para un post! Justo el otro día comí lo que solía ser el desayuno favorito de mi papá cuando éramos niños y me vinieron los recuerdos como un torrente.

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  5. Wat grappig, ik heb vandaag toevallig voor het eerst stamppot gemaakt! (wel zonder de worst...)

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    1. Wat een toeval :) Ik hoop dat het lekker was. We hebben gisteren ook nog een keer aardappelen gegeten.

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  6. Ah thank you for the mention! :D

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    1. Thanks to you for organizing this :) I am so excited ! And I hope more people will join (the more, the merrier! )

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  7. Mm, sausage and mash. So very English ;) And one of my comfort foods. I like cooking the sausages in a little maple syrup and mixing leeks into the crushed potatoes...

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    1. Oh I will totally make them with leeks next time. And maple syrup in the sausages sounds good too. Gotta try that!

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