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International Cooking Club of Delft Mamas —Mom friendship bounded through cooking exchange

As I wrote a couple of months before, cooking/recipe exchange is a method of making friends. While having Taiwanese food is soothing for my homesickness wherever I am abroad, discovering international food is always a fun way to explore different cultures and meeting new friends.

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Chilean empanadas coming right up!

DMM playgroup is such a wonderful place for both kids and moms to begin a new life with meeting many international families from all over the world. I had great fortune to have met an amazing Delft mama who was so kind and generous with open arms to invite us not long after we arrived in Delft in 2014.

Tarja is amazingly dynamic mom with connection and creative ideas. With her Finnish background and living in The Netherlands for nearly ten years, she has accumulated incredible amount of life stories and experiences to share. Despite the fact that she has three kids to take care of, Tarja has been helping other new moms to orient in Delft. I was one of them.

Two years ago, starting from a small ingredient—fresh yeast, that Tarja bought in a local shop, she came up with an idea to invite some mom friends to explore cooking together. She initiated the “international cooking club”. We were 4 moms with all different nationalities to share our own home recipes from the USA, Chile, Finland and Taiwan.

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I’ve always been fascinated by different spices and ingredients, cooking styles, tools and so on so forth that you can apply in the kitchen. Learning cooking different cuisine was so much fun for me, as well as spending quality time with those lovely ladies. We have developed a very special bound with one another by sharing our foods, rotating in each mom’s kitchen. Visiting kitchens with international ingredients and tools is part of the cooking adventure!

It was more than just cooking. We always started with morning coffee since the cooking club took place on one weekend morning. Our kids sometimes played together in the garden while moms worked in the kitchen. And after two hours of teaching and cooking, we always put the food on the table to share a simple lunch together. I’m now having a big grin on my face just writing and thinking about it. This was indeed one of the highlights of my Delft mama life!

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Our cooking group remained small and private. It became our own friendly gathering. Our recipes brought our taste buds traveling from Finnish cinnamon buns, to Chilean empanadas, to Chinese stews, to American pumpkin pie and chocolate chip cookies and to Spanish omelet and cold vegetable soup, etc.

I have developed great interest in exploring international cuisines since. I found through cooking, my social circle expanded and I saw more nice charismata in each one of the moms that participated.

In Chinese we have a saying goes, “there is no feast that doesn’t end”. It means that we have to say goodbye from time to time to friends and families. Especially with international backgrounds, sometimes families have to move to places wherever the jobs relocate. It’s sad to leave. However, I have saved up so many sweet memories from the feast that I have enjoyed so much within our own little “international cooking club”.

Just two months ago, my family had to leave Delft, our dear lovely home for more than two years. It was not easy for me, especially for our son who has lived the majority of his life in Delft and built his friendship connection, including with Tarja’s kids. We are now only three weeks newly settled in Shenzhen, China. I’m waiting for the new kitchen to be set up according to my needs and I can’t wait to try some of the recipes that I have learned with those dear mom friends from Delft. When there’s a special occasion, we are going to open the peach jam that we made in one of my last cooking lessons.

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We couldn’t bring Delft to another country nor transfer our friends to a new city with us, but we have kept memories and friendship. I believe our Delft experiences will last as well as precious friendship. I know we will make new friends where our new home is. But the old friends remain in the depth of our hearts. We don’t just think of them, fortunately we can also have a taste of the good old times of Delft next time when I cook something that I have learned from my Delft mama friends.

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Gazpacho

A refreshing recipe for a hot week (and the importance of reading supermarket magazines)

Every time I go to a supermarket, I cannot help but bring at least one copy of each of the free magazines they have on display. It improves my Dutch vocabulary, teaches me grammar structures whilst it  helps find the answer to the “what’s for dinner?” question that I ask myself (and anyone with ears) almost daily.

As crazy as it reads, I plan my shopping in accordance with the  magazine I got last. Say if I went to the Plus a week ago, next week I will make sure to swing by the Jumbo. If only for a hand of bananas and a magazine. Read more

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A table for six (includes original recipes from Anish Patil)


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Delft MaMa has officially inaugurated the long awaited international cooking club.
Thursday the 21st of July, a mixed group of mums and dads gathered together to cook under the guidance and supervision of Anish Patil, who together with Viji Kannan will coordinate the club.
This very first session took us to India, where Anish comes from. We made a culinarily travel along the 7.571 kilometers India’s coastline and learnt how to use a star ingredient: coconut.

coconut milk

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Taiwanese Food Circles in the Netherlands

My experiences told me that food can comfort one’s mind with a very unique healing power.

As a Taiwanese proverb says, eating and emperor are equally important to a civilian. It shows how much food means in Taiwanese life style and culture. Taiwanese food plays an important role in my Dutch life too. Whenever I get homesick, I enjoy making Taiwanese food for myself; when I have foreign friends over for dinner, I always share Taiwanese food culture with my guests, too. I deeply believe sharing food with friends or beloved ones can certainly shorten the distance between one and the other. Read more

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Food: Going organic

Our ‘fresh from the farm’ (or farmers’ market) approach to grocery shopping here in Delft has been the outcome of a lot of little changes to our lifestyle in the past few years as well as the product of quite a bit of research.  So, now I am one of those people who, when I get onto this topic, you can’t shut up! Read more

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