Sunday, 22 April 2012


I love reading cookery books and recipes in general. I have a bookcase full of books and folders of clippings and I read them over and over again, getting ideas for food and spice combinations and different cooking techniques. I was reading one particular book this morning entitled “Aan Tafel” (“On the Table”) published by Croma, a brand of Dutch margarine. You see, I used to work for Unilever, a large multi-national company that makes food, detergents and personal hygiene products and every Christmas we received a hamper full of the company’s products, which always included a cookery book - using the company’s products of course.

This particular book is about Dutch cookery, it gives many tips about how to prepare traditional Dutch specialities like meat balls, spek lapjes (1 cm thick slices of streaky bacon), touwtjesvlees (literally translated as stringy meat, which is in fact, delicious tender slices of well brazed beef) and so the list goes on, good home cooking, nothing fancy, just tasty Dutch food, eaten by millions, every day.

So there I was, reading this book and I spotted a tip I had never noticed before, about high and low heat. Having worked in the food industry, for more years than I care to remember, I am very interested in food preparation and it is obvious that the intensity of the cooking process, affects the way the end product comes out. Let’s take touwtjesvlees as an example, you have to cook these pieces of meat very high at first to create a deep colour, then you cook them very low for hours, to make them tender. So I was naturally interested what this little snippet would be about. I suspected that it would be about the benefits or effects of using different levels of heat in the cooking process. But no, it was much, much more than I could have even dreamed of and I want to share it with you:

“Whether you cook with a gas, electric or ceramic hob or on an induction plate, the concept of high, medium and low heat is actually the same. High means the highest temperature, low means really low and medium is in-between.”

Stunned by that wonderful pearl of wisdom, I put the book back on the shelf, where it will remain for evermore.


  1. Wow, enlightening

    1. I know Kerrie, if you look in your bookcase you should have the same book, it's from about when you were in Vlaardingen too !


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