Rychell has an interesting background. She has both Indonesian and Antillean roots. Rychell's mother is from Bandung, a city located on Java in Indonesia and her father is from Willemstad, the capital of Curaçao. We asked her about both the Antillean and Indonesian food cultures and found out that they have many similarities.
Because of the history of these countries, Rychell's family is an interesting mix of Javanese, Dutch, Native American, Dominican and Spanish. This diverse mix is typical of both Indonesian and Antillean cuisine. Since the discovery of the Antilles by the Spaniards, the islands have been owned by many different countries with different cultures. Something of each occupier has been preserved in the culture. Through colonization and Chinese immigration, Indonesian cuisine has also been influenced by different peoples with different food cultures. As a result, both cuisines are very diverse. Due to these influences, a variety of herbs are also used a lot in both kitchens, making the dishes extra tasty. This is not the only aspect where the kitchens match. Despite the fact that the countries themselves are very different from each other, Rychell thinks the food cultures are actually very similar. In both cultures, food is really about having fun. “It's nice to sit together, eat and chat, linger at the table in peace and comfort. It's really about coming together," Rychell said. The dancing afterwards is typical of the Antillean food culture, she says. “At parties we used to go to, we always danced together on catchy salsa music.”
“It's nice to sit together, eat and chat, linger at the table in peace and comfort. It's really about coming together”
According to Rychell, a misconception about Antillean cuisine is that Antillean food is very unhealthy and that little or no vegetables are eaten. It is often compared to fast food. But according to Rychell, nothing could be further from the truth. “We cut vegetables such as bell pepper, onion, garlic and tomato into small pieces and then use them in stews and soups. That is the basis of most dishes and sauces. We also have dishes in which vegetables form the basis, such as jambo with okra and stewed string beans. Or white rice with brown beans, which we can then combine with tasty braised chicken in a form of tomato sauce.” On birthdays or during other special occasions, on the other hand, a lot of unhealthy sweets are served. They have special eating traditions in the Antilles. They eat cashew nut pie and bolo pretu, a pie with fruits and nuts. Rychell also remembers well that she used to be given very sweet milk powder candies called Ko'i lechi as a child. “We received these candies during my grandfather and grandmother's wedding anniversary, for example. This was very nicely wrapped in pastel colored papers and bows. As a child I always wanted to have them all. So good!"
Rychell is very fond of cooking herself. She especially likes to experiment. “Coloring outside the lines is great fun when cooking.” Her favorite recipes from Indonesian cuisine are satay and bami goreng. “It's so simple, but it still tastes good. Especially if you combine it with peanut sauce according to family recipe, sambal ketjap and atjar.
“Coloring outside the lines is great fun when cooking”
She thinks the snacks from the Antillean kitchen are the most delicious, such as the cheese dumplings and pasties. Sunday is Johnnycake Day at our house! Another favorite, a deep-fried sandwich that you can top with all kinds of things. ” When she eats these dishes, she imagines herself into the past, being a child again. The warm feeling and the cosiness she always had at her grandmother's house.