Soup & Stuff | “I can easily forgive, but not without a ‘sorry’”

As a child growing up in a family in Zeeland, Noah Joosse decided at a young age: When I grow up I want a partner who loves to cook. Laughing: “Because I love delicious food.” Today, thanks to her mother, this 21-year-old student of Industrial Design is more enthusiastic about cooking than she would have expected. “My boyfriend detests cooking, he does the washing up.”

by
photo Rien Boonstoppel

Noah grew up in Middelburg, sharing a home with both her own family (as the youngest of three sisters), and her uncle and aunt and their children. “Every day someone different did the cooking. Always varied, always tasty, but nothing particularly striking.” Quick and easy solutions to feed the hungry mouths was always the first priority, and occasionally that would mean reaching for instant foods, the student tells us.

That changed when at a later age Noah’s mother discovered the joy of cooking. “We had a spare room in the house; my mother started to rent it out as a meeting room, and provided the coffee, pie and sandwiches or the evening meal. She made everything herself, and fresh too. I was home much of the time and so I got to see a lot of what my mom was doing.”

In 2010 the family moved and Mrs. Joosse closed her catering company. But the shared love of food and the attentiveness paid to both food and cooking lived on. “Nine times out of ten, the topic being discussed in our family app is some or other food we have made.” Since living in a student house, Noah has realized that she has picked up a fair bit of culinary knowledge and expertise, “yet I always thought that in our family I was the least interested in this.”

Within her dispuut and Christian student association Ichthus, for which she is currently doing a board year, Noah is known for being the cook. Not that she sends culinary sparks flying from the kitchen worktop seven days a week (at neither the association nor the Vestide house where she lives), “but if I have even the slightest amount or time or energy, I really enjoy making delicious things”.

I really disliked the savoury tarts my uncle made with brie and broccoli

Noah Joosse
Industrial Design student

Much of what she makes is vegetarian - although she's happy to bend the rules. “Vega makes up 80 percent of what I eat, but if bacon bits are really tasty with something, I'll add them.” She can't rely on her boyfriend, the once dreamed-of partner who would cook for her for eternity, when it comes to cooking. “He detests cooking. I cook and he always does the washing up.”

While Noah doesn't have a signature dish, she adores Middle Eastern cuisine. Her love was sparked by an eight-month stay in Israel after which she started to delve into the regional dishes. She is also a big fan of the Israeli-British chef and cookery book author Yotam Ottolenghi, “he has such fantastic dishes”.

She says she has never been a picky eater, “even though I used to be the most difficult eater in our family. But that's not saying much; the others will eat anything. Even though I am from Zeeland, as a child I didn't like fish all that much. And I really disliked the savoury tarts my uncle made with brie and broccoli.”

A specific guilty pleasure isn't something this ID student has. Laughing: “But there lots of kinds of food I wouldn't say no to.” She likes eating out, too, “and often at quite fancy restaurants. My mom cooked so well that to us it just seems like a real shame to eat ‘simple’ food at a cheap restaurant.”

Read more about Noah below the recipe.

Soup

Bacon and lentil soup by Noah - alternately available in the canteens in Atlas and MetaForum all this week and on some days at other VITAM locations as well.

This is a Donna Hay recipe from her book Fresh, Fast & Simple, for 2 people.
Preparation time: 30 minutes

You will need
- sour cream, as topping
- 2 tbs. vegetable oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 slices of bacon, finely chopped
- 1 tsp. thyme leaves
- 150 g dried red lentils
- 1 1/4 liters of chicken stock
- sea salt and coarse-ground black pepper
- finely grated Parmesan cheese, as topping

Instructions
Heat a thick-bottomed pan over a medium heat. Add the oil and fry the onion and bacon for 4 minutes until light brown.

Add the thyme, lentils and stock, and simmer for 20 minutes with the lid on, or until the lentils fall apart.

Stir in the salt and pepper. Serve the soup in bowls and finish it off with a garnish of cheese and sour cream.

& Stuff

Finally, three provocative personal questions for Noah from Cursor's glass storage jar, while the chef dots the i's and crosses the culinary t's.

What would you find the most difficult thing to give up?
“The first thing that comes to mind, here and now, is food. Tasty food is something I really value. But this question can be interpreted in lots of ways. As Christians we mustn't get too attached to the things we have in this life. That can be tricky at times; of course there are things, certain objects or trips, that I feel attached to and I enjoy. It's a never-ending search, it's a road you have to travel again and again. Where does a particular need or urge from? Why do I want this or that so strongly?

I attach quite a lot of value to what other people think of certain choices I make. Especially now that I'm doing a board year, which puts you more squarely in the spotlight, I am noticing that people are quicker to have an opinion. At times it is difficult not to let that get to you. At the same time I try to let it go and to trust in God who, I believe, guides and steers me in the choices I make.

If my home were on fire and I could save just one thing? Nothing. There's much nothing of any value there; it's a typical student room. I think what I'd like to take more than anything would be my noticeboard full of memories.”

What annoys you most?
“When other people are indifferent. People who do not lend a hand while others are working hard at something, for example, because they ‘are guests here’. Or when you are really intent on raising a point with someone, and that person sets it aside without a second thought. Even as a child I felt like this, I couldn't stomach injustice. I have been raised to be very forgiving and it has stuck with me, but a person should be able to see and acknowledge their own mistake; after that you can start afresh. I can easily forgive, but not without a ‘sorry’.”

What would you most like to change in the world?
“The first thing that springs to mind is the climate. Or actually mainly this: the mentality of a lot of people. We are ruining the Earth and we have a responsibility, but some people manage to be indifferent even to this. We often care more about money than about what we leave behind here. I'm by no means a saint, and I sometimes eat meat simply because at that moment I fancy it. But personally I am becoming increasingly aware of my choices.

On my program, too, I am looking for ways to make this kind of change. This past quartile I have worked with others on an Eindhoven-based initiative by alumni of the Design Academy to transform and change plastic. This kind of thing really interests me. You can achieve a lot with Industrial Design, the choice of source materials alone offers possibilities. Where this is concerned, I'm more interested in the here and now. You can get hung up on focusing on the future, on what we'll be able to do in twenty years' time - but you can also make a big difference with the knowledge we have today.”

About Soup & Stuff

Every three weeks we interview a TU/e student or employee in the kitchen; about food, about their motivations and (pre-)occupations, and any other topic that comes up. The interviewee shares their favorite soup, and in the week that the interview appears, the soup is on sale on our campus in one or more of the canteens run by caterer VITAM. You will find all the interviews and recipes here.

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