Eveline Delnooz will be writing a vegan cookbook with dishes from around the world. The alumnus is looking for people in Wageningen who could provide her with recipes and the stories behind them.
Photo: Sven Menschel
Five years ago, when she was still studying at Wageningen University, Eveline Delnooz founded her company called Eveline Cooks. She started by preparing vegetarian take-away dinners that people could pick up from her home in Dijkgraaf. This company still exists today and Eveline now also works as a cook in two vegetarian restaurants: at Voorheen slagerij de Jong in Nijmegen and at Enig Alternatief in Arnhem. ‘I wanted to do something practical after studying, and that’s how I got involved. I really enjoy it and I actually like it more than anything else I’ve ever done before.’
But Eveline also has a new plan: writing a vegan cookbook. ‘The idea actually came from my dad several years ago. Wageningen houses people from all continents and each of them has dishes from back home that mean a lot to them. It might remind them of their native country, or perhaps of their youth. I would like to bundle these recipes. They don’t even need to be 100% vegan when submitted, some products can easily be substituted by vegetable variations. So if the recipes contain a bit of milk or butter, that won’t be a problem.’
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Eveline would also like to tell the stories behind the submitted recipes. She wants to give her cookbook a twist by adding pictures of the submitters and along with short stories. She currently has around twenty recipes, but she wants to collect about one hundred of them.
Eveline tries each of the recipes that are sent to her (like this one for zucchini cookies, although it is in Dutch) in the restaurants she works at. ‘People were very enthusiastic about it. It’s a nice way to see how people react to the recipes and whether I should change something about them.’
Eveline has received recipes from various international cuisines already: Greek, Indonesian, Scottish and Indian. ‘An Indonesian girl sent me a recipe for nasi pecel, a vegetarian salad with peanut sauce. She told me it’s a very simple yet typical Indonesian recipe that she has been missing badly ever since she moved to the Netherlands. The dish can be prepared in many ways; you can use all kinds of vegetables and decide how sharp you want the sauce to be. Her mom made it just before she left for the Netherlands, because she was worried that her daughter would miss this kind of healthy food.’
‘People sometimes think that vegan food is boring and tasteless. I see it as my duty to show that these prejudices aren’t true. I only have to cook vegetarian food at work, but I also cook vegan meals to introduce people to this approach to food. People often don’t know that they’ve had a vegan course and are positively surprised. It isn’t hard to cook vegan meals, but you need to make a switch. For example, you can’t spice up a dish with cheese, but once you know how it works, it really isn’t that difficult. There is plenty of choice as well; you can choose from so many kinds of plants. You can use all kinds of vegetables and fruit, which allows you to make many different combinations.’