Growing up, I’d heard that precision and discipline were ingrained in Dutch culture - which seemed like a nice legacy to grow up with. One cold Sunday morning however, upon finally being granted access to my grandmother’s recipe book, the illusion of my ancestry as a line of “precise” and “ordered” people dissolved completely. The book was - and still is - a mess.
Now, that’s not to say my family isn’t full of brilliant cooks. They make exquisite food, that’s for sure. But it’s the type of genius where you find post-its all over the walls and sometimes, the great recipes are hidden in notes and heavily edited print-outs.
My mother managed to pass down enough tricks and hints for me to survive in the kitchen as an adult. My brother taught me a good pizza dough recipe and taste.com filled in the gaps so by the time I moved out of home, I could hold my own in the kitchen.
But I hadn't - until now - owned a paper copy of any of my favourite recipes, nor did I feel like I was adding anything to the grand collection that precedes me.
Spencer Davis is the creator of this collection - which is a good thing because he's one of the best cooks I know. I have fond memories of baking a cake with him very early on in our friendship and while I fumbled about trying to find the measuring cups, he was detailing the many processes he undertook to find the perfect recipe.
I'll let him tell you some more about this project:
I grew up sharing food. Large dishes on central tables enjoyed between family, friends and neighbours with loud conversation. It gave me a glimpse of the sort of pleasure and community that can be created through cooking; when you give of yourself, of what you enjoy, and what (or who) you like to surround yourself with.
Moving out for the first time, it is easy to forget how much the notion of home and community revolves around food. Nor do you stop running long enough to pause and reflect on how quickly your diet has degraded to two minute noodles.
That is why I started collecting these recipes. To be surrounded by friends, family and fine food even after I have moved out. Something I would love to share with all of you:
I would love for you to add your recipes to the collection. To share with us where the recipe came from and why you love it. When I have the time (and your permission), I will cook some of these recipes to share with their story on The Penny Mint!
You can do the same! I have written an assortment of recipes to get the ball rolling, including a real deal bolognese: a staple of any collection. If you do make anything from the collection, please share it with myself or The Penny Mint!
All of the recipes can be found in the Google Drive folders below or by clicking here.