‘It’s important to eat food that has not traveled the world’ | Stories behind the news

Mother

Laura comes from a large Maastricht family with five children. Her mother instilled in her a love of food and freshly prepared dishes. “She went to the culinary academy and always bought fresh produce from local vendors,” says Laura. “I myself have studied Dutch and studied as a minor in journalism, but it was really not something for me. I found a job at a publishing house that I did not quite like either. But we also published cookbooks at that publishing house, and that’s where my passion lies. ”

smoked sausages

When she quit her job, Laura thought she could take a behind-the-scenes look at artisans and chefs and tell stories about it. So in the early days she was boned at a butcher in Leiden. “One of the first things he told me was that pork is mostly like human flesh. He also always delivered smoked sausages home to the customers, which he simply threw through the mailbox by flattening them out a bit. As a result of that experience, he wrote I told a funny story where I was relieved that I was glad I did not end up like smoked sausage. That story was picked up by top chef Jamie Oliver’s magazine editors. They asked me to write for their magazine. So my switch to food journalist got a flying start, ”she says with a laugh.

Popular

Laura’s articles were popular, and in no time she wrote for more food-related media. This is how the idea for the Amsterdam cookbook was born. In it, she researched nutrition by once again looking into the various kitchens and doing extensive research. That’s how she found out that your plate sometimes runs 30,000 miles. “After the success of the Amsterdam Cookbook, I made another book, which I traveled around the Netherlands on my electric motorcycle in search of the best products from the regions where I stayed.”

Together with photographer Hans de Kort, who photographed for the book, Laura philosophized about a next project. For how amazing would it be to do the same in another country? “This is how Natural Austria was born,” says Laura. “Austria is a country that has an enormous diversity of flavors, crops and dishes due to its countless microclimates. Did you know, for example, that the cheese you find in Austria tastes different when the cows or sheep have grazed high on the mountain? They have many special cheeses, such as Alpen Bergkäse and Montafoner Sura Kees, which taste enormously different from the cheese made in the Netherlands. ”

pumpkin seed oil

In about a month and a half, Laura visited several farmers, producers, chefs and hosts and gathered all the information for the book. “I interviewed 55 people and discovered all sorts of surprising things about Austrian products. Take, for example, pumpkin seed oil or pumpkin seed oil. I was on a trip in the state of Styria with my e-bike and saw all kinds of orange pumpkins in the field. It really caught my attention, so I visited the farmer and discovered that a tasty oil had been made from these seeds. Something you hardly come across in Holland. ”

dessert

In this way, she found something special in every federal state, and she became even more aware of the importance of local products. “I love when chefs work with nature and the elements. It is definitely happening in Austria. Chefs who grow their own produce in their backyard and put a bench in the middle of that field so you can enjoy your meal between all the deliciousness. Or chefs developing a dessert based on the ridge in their area. I have so many examples of chefs creating their dishes based on nature. I always get very excited about that. ”

Culinary treasure chest

Traveling around felt like a culinary treasure trove for Laura. “When you read my cookbooks, you who read me look over your shoulder and discover these treasures with me.” “I wrote it so you can travel with me and see that it is important to eat food that has not traveled around the world, but just comes from your surroundings. For example, I really do not buy almonds from California anymore. There is a monoculture, which means that only one crop is grown on one piece of land at a time. Even bees have to be transported there so that the trees get fruit in the first place. ”

Trout

Not sustainable at all, says Laura. “Like avocados. A few people benefit greatly from it, and it is not the farmers. Of course, if you travel to a country where a particular product is grown, you can eat it. But in Italy you do not order Alaska salmon. In Austria, on the other hand, you can easily eat a tasty trout from a mountain lake. I get happy when people get to know the stories behind the food by reading my cookbooks. ”

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