Welcome on Helen Holunder’s website!
Helen was my Grandmother’s name. Besides since my childhood I have felt deeply connected to the elderbush (Holunder), especially as it was her favorite tree. If you want to know why this tree is something so special for me as well, click on sambucusnigra!
Helen and even my other grandmother 😡 Maria have both inspired my passion for cooking and baking from childhood on. We spent many afternoons in the small kitchen, and grandma Helen used to bake apple pancakes and plumcake together with me, in winter she cooked turnip stew and in summer she stirred chilled fruit soups with berries. Maria passed on her handwritten recipe book.
Together with the records of Helen these recipes are my favorite reading matter for cooking and my sources for developing new recipes.
Moreover I love collecting ideas for dishes while traveling. Departments for recipe books in foreign countries attract me like magic, and how I love sitting in a cafe across the road with a good recipe book and browsing through it:
Recipes are so much more than just an instruction for cooking dishes. They are tell me a story and touch my soul.
Apart from books about cooking I am also fascinated by things having to do with cooking and baking. Old cake plates with a silver edge and showing a still life in the middle e.g. are another great passion for me. They are hanging on the wall in our kitchen and of course they are being used.
Together with the cake plates go many different cake servers – fine silvery ones, thin knives and big “shovels” – sometimes I imagine what creations of cakes and pies these small works of art may have transported during the last one hundred years! And how many different kinds of plates are there, that staged these pieces of cake?
Well, that’s why I hardly can pass by old plates on jumble sales without purchasing one or the other.
From each bigger journey some dishes have found their way into our house. When it’s being used wonderful traveling memories are coming back to life again. Can you imagine what it looks like in my kitchen? Well, it is quite packed in there. All things in there can tell a story – and I love listening to them!
Back to my cooking passion:
I am deeply convinced that through cooking one can change our society in a positive way.
After studying (education, German studies, religion, ecotrophology) health education was a main focus when I worked as a classroom teacher. During my first years at school it became obvious that cooking was only offered in an isolated way as a project group during the last hours in the morning at school.
So we changed the lessons according to occasions: for breakfast we prepared uncooked food and stirred a dip or cold fruit spread; baking was done now and then, e.g. a pumpkin cake was made when one of the children brought a pumpkin from their garden. In summer we mixed lemonade that contained far less sugar than the ready made products. Or we had “super quick ice cream” made from iced fruits.
This project-centered learning showed us among other things:
- Children realise that preparing a healthy dish is a meaningful and commonplace job for a human being.
- They are occupied and fully concentrated over a longer period of time preparing their product and thereby learning new abilities which they can apply instantly.
- They enjoy very much preparing delicious dishes from unprocessed ingredients and they realise the “value” of their food.
Especially through cooking the children became aware of the following questions:
How is a society supposed to know the value of food when less and less people prepare it with their own hands?
How can we feed in a healthy way when we have less and less experience with food and no longer know even simple methods of preparation?
And finally the very important question from my point of view:
Why do people swallow up a Burger in two minutes blocking out that for this piece of meat animals had to die and spend their short and unhappy life in large-scale livestock farming?
For myself, on the basis of this and many other experiences, a vegan diet that is composed of regional, organically grown and mainly unprocessed ingredients is part of a society that is changing in a positive way!
My request with my book: „Providing Vegan Food for your Family“ therefore is to offer recipes that can especially be enjoyed by children and grown ups and that may be prepared by young and old ones in common. In the past we missed this kind of reliable collections of recipes for families. Maybe it is because in families often a diversity of different preferences of taste and feeding habits meet.
My recipes are giving suggestions that help you to happily dare trying out dishes that are tasty, easy to prepare and therefore “suitable for families” and that do not require products of animal origin.
My joy in vegan cooking therfore lies in developing new recipies as well as “veganising” “old” respectively “traditional” recipes and adapting them to the likes and dislikes of a family.
In my blog I share my recipes with you! I am glad when you cook these dishes, for this way we change our lives together!