Around the Kinfolk Table: Last Saturday evening we attended the Amsterdam Kinfolk Table Dinner, part of the Kinfolk dinner series that is currently on a tour around the globe. I love Kinfolk magazine and its vision of simplicity, community and sharing. The Kinfolk Dinners are held in honour of The Kinfolk Table cookbook release, and celebrate all that the cookbook represents: the joy of sharing good food and opening up your table to the people around you. The dinners are meant to be small and simple, as it’s so much easier to connect over an informal home-style dinner. When I saw The Kinfolk Table cookbook online, I immediately ordered it. It is filled with recipes for small gatherings. The recipes come from creative home cooks all around the world, dishes that are easy to prepare at home to be shared around your table. The recipes showcase people’s unique stories, their way of life, their rituals and traditions. It’s full of time-tested recipes from homes and families like your own. Recipes with a story that inspire you to cook at home and to share your table with family and friends. The Kinfolk Table is so much more than a simple cook book. I love to pick it up and just read through the stories, to get a glimpse of the people behind the recipes and the lives they live. It’s truly a wonderful book to have on your book shelves. You can order your copy here.
Food is a way to celebrate life. At Kinfolk, they understand that life is something to be celebrated, and that celebrating is not just for special occasions but part of every day living. It’s in the small things in life, in taking a deep breath, in making your own granola from scratch, in spending time outside, in picking fresh berries from the tree and sharing a table with friends. Food is so much more than a way to fill your belly. Food connects. It’s a way of telling your story and sharing in each other’s stories. Life happens around the dinner table, whatever form or shape it may take. It’s where conversation happens, where people open up and fall in love. It’s where you connect with old friends and make new friends. It’s where you can let to go and rest back after a long day at work. Food is intimate. It is personal. It is real. The food someone serves at their table, instantly gives you an impression of who they are, where they come from and what they value in life. Nothing beats a home cooked meal, prepared with love and attention.
Chantal and Harry were the perfect hosts for the Amsterdam Kinfolk dinner. They put so much love and attention into every single detail. The big dining table was set so beautifully with plates that have been in Chantal’s family for decades, with pine cones, small Burgundy red candles and small plates with salt, herbs and spices. Chantal and Harry created a casual, warm and welcoming dining atmosphere where everyone could relax and feel at home. All the people at the dinner were new to us but we instantly connected. That’s what food does. It naturally brings people together. Chantal and Harry served us a family style dinner and, as family, we were invited to join in with the food preparation and to help serve food at the table. We were also invited to share recipes from our own home that were put together in a small booklet to take back home. I love this idea of collaboration, community and sharing. It breaks down the traditional divide between host and guest. Everyone gets to participate. When you participate in all the steps that precede a meal, you automatically become more involved and you enjoy it more. Simply by chopping up an onion or serving out a plate of hot soup, you have more appreciation for what you are eating.
Kinfolk’s philosophy behind entertaining and gathering is personal, informal, light-hearted. No formal, uptight dinner parties where the conversation does not flow and people remain stuck at their seats. During our dinner people were hanging out on the balcony, others were helping out with food preparation, people changed seats at the dining table to engage in new conversations and connect to other people. There was an interesting mix of people, from artists and interior designers to marketeers and bankers. But deep down everyone shared the same philosophy of life. Everyone understood the value of going back to the basics and appreciating the simple joys of sharing food. The company was wonderful and the food was delicious, honest and simple home-cooked food. Delicious homemade hummus with French bread. Beets with fresh orange and goat’s cheese. A Mediterranean fish soup with Ricard. A lovely green lentil salad. Beautiful oven-roasted fennel (I want to have the recipe!). A delicious yet simple green salad. A creamy thick chocolate mousse (which is still on my mind). A perfect French cheese platter.
Our evening was perfect. Kinfolk’s vision is to make sharing food and coming together accessible, light-hearted and fun. It’s not about spending long hours in the kitchen cooking up fancy and complicated meals. It’s about simplicity, a real appreciation for food and where it comes from. A home cooked meal becomes a way of enjoying valuable time with family and friends. It offers a way to slow down and enjoy the simple things of life.
The laid-back atmosphere of this dinner was beautifully captured by Danique from 88Forever, a very gifted photographer. All the amazing pictures in this blog post were shot by Danique. If you don’t know her work yet, you must have a look at her website 88Forever and check out her portfolio. You can find even more beautiful pictures of the Amsterdam Kinfolk dinner here.