Restaurateur and caterer Yvette van Boven’s popular cookbook “Home Made,” first written in Dutch in 2010, was translated into English, German, and French the following year. While the author appreciated her work going global, writing recipes for a worldwide audience presented some concerns as she penned her follow-ups, “Home Made Winter” and her latest, “Home Made Summer.” “It is important to me to find ingredients that everyone should be able to find in shops because I always find it very disappointing to try to make a recipe from a book and then you find out that you can’t get your hands on a special ingredient very easily,” says van Boven. “Because I didn’t know that the books were being translated into all these different languages, I’m not really sure if everything is really available in every shop over the whole world. But I have looked at that very carefully and also with my American editor, we look at substitutes for Dutch ingredients to make sure that everything is easily available.”
“Home Made Winter” focuses on dishes for the cold season, while “Home Made Summer” is a companion piece of sorts for outdoor cooking and eating.
Van Boven will appear on April 13 at a luncheon at the Institute of Contemporary Art from noon-2 p.m. (www.eatboutique.com); on April 13 at 4 p.m. at the Brookline Booksmith, 279 Harvard St., Brookline, 617-566-6660; on April 14 from 2-5 p.m. at KitchenWares, 215 Newbury St., Boston, 857-366-4237; and on April 16 at 7 p.m. at Trident Booksellers and Cafe, 338 Newbury St., Boston, 617-267-8688.
Q. What was the inspiration for “Home Made Summer”?
A. I wrote the winter book first and I wanted to make something that was completely the opposite of winter food. The winter food is more comforting, it takes more time, and it’s stews and grainy bread. Summertime, you have fresh ingredients, fresh fruits and vegetables, so you don’t want to spend too much in the kitchen, you would like to go outside, of course. So I put a lot of recipes just to mix all these lovely seasonal ingredients together and you’ll get a great dish in no time. That was my first goal. Also, because my husband and I spend our summers in the south of France and I’ve got so many recipes from the French people that we are staying with, I wanted to share the inspiration they gave to me.
Q. What is the writing process like?
A. First, I made “Home Made,” which was a huge volume, and that took me a lot of time. But when I finished that, I wrote the winter and the summer book almost simultaneously. I didn’t write one after the other because sometimes you’re working on a book and you decide, “Oh, this one should go into that volume or this should go into that one.” They’re actually just like two chapters, just put into separate books. So they were quicker than the first one, just I think because we had more practice and more of an idea of what we wanted.
Q. The index is arranged by ingredients instead of dishes. Why is that?
A. I tried to make the dishes all separate. In the winter book, there are more complete menus or more complete dishes and in the summer you probably would go out and barbecue and make meaty kind of things and look for a salad to go with that. So I put them in separate recipes, not putting them together, to leave to the readers the possibility of choosing what you want to put together. They all match up. I’m very fond of the grainy salads, you can make a big batch and put them in the fridge and they’ll stay for days because the taste in the salad will get only stronger. I’m very fond of things like that, lots of vegetables and lots of fresh green herbs. It’s lovely.
Q. Your husband, Oof Verschuren, shot the photographs, which are stunning. How does he help you capture the mood your recipes aim for?
A. The photographs are really important to me. Happily, it’s my husband who’s taking them and we can discuss together. It’s quite important because I feel through pictures people get in a mood and you use pictures to inspire them to think, “Oh, I’d love to make that.” If I see certain pictures, they bring up memories of certain places I’ve been and then I remember what I ate or what I drank and that inspires me to make something special that takes me back into that mood. It’s great because I make them together with Oof and we work together very, very closely. We’re working on a fourth book now and we’re growing together with these subjects.
Interview was condensed and edited. Glenn Yoder can be reached at email@example.com