Still lifes from Flanders

Still lifes from Flanders

You can safely call Regula Ysewijn a Flemish master. Not only are her photos like Rembrandts brought to life, she also educates us in the food and drink culture of days gone by with food photos and stories. - TEXT EDITORS | IMAGE REGULA YSEWIJN

Still lifes from Flanders

On 19 April, it was now 184 years since the Netherlands and Belgium officially separated. The Northern and Southern Netherlands used to belong together, as territories of successive monarchs. But the armed revolt in 1830 against King William I of the Netherlands led to the secession of the southern provinces, and eventually to Belgium's independence.

Then a Belgian identity had to be created. And what better way to build an identity than through culinary specialities? Regula Ysewijn, culinary author, photographer, jury member of Bake Off Flanders and contributor to BBC programmes, has spent years researching it historically and chronicling authentic recipes from her homeland. At first, the French-speaking elite of Brussels apparently still imitated Paris: French restaurants with French chefs opened, and the menus and dishes were all French. Regula: 'Nineteenth-century travel guides to Belgium wrote about French cuisine and wines, and also mention German and English beers. Belgian beer, our national pride, was missing and Belgian cuisine did not exist.'

Mussels and fries

Around 1900, ordinary restaurants in the alleys north of Brussels' Grand Place became popular with visitors to the city. These served oysters (not a luxury item at the time), steak and mutton chops.



Want to know more about Regula Ysewijn? You can read about it in WINELIFE 81. You can order this one here!

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