In 2017, I took two notable trips to Europe. Both times with my mother; both times for memorial services of people that had played very significant roles in my life. A few months later I started my own company.
I was raised in The Netherlands and have travelled throughout Europe my entire life, yet these visits gripped me -- I was struck by the realization I had largely ignored an important part of my life for the past 15 years. I had become caught up in my New York life, with work, with my husband, and then with my children.
I grew up cooking and entertaining along-side my Swedish mother. She trained me and my sister rigorously and on occasion even dressed us in costume (think traditional Austrian not Disney) to serve her guests with precision. While this continued throughout my childhood, I broke out on my own at an early age. My first “café” was in the back of the family station wagon: baguettes, Parma ham, tomatoes, dried herbs and olive oil made into sandwiches during family road trips through Europe with the aid of a Swiss Army knife.
The years zoomed by… while maintaining an accidental career in the fashion/design/accessories worlds, I hosted and hosted and hosted and attended cooking schools. I circled around the food space: catering and food styling and teaching cooking classes for kids and pitching a cooking show.
While in The Hague, I noted just how many cheese crackers, or Kaaskoekjes, my mother bought from her favorite bakeries and how tenderly she carried them in shopping bags, exclaiming “Careful with my crackers!!!” every so often. And just as it was when I lived there, every house we were invited to for dinner served these cheese crackers with drinks.
Back in Brooklyn in the months after these trips, it occurred to me that you couldn’t find divine crackers like you can at Ottolenghi in London or in the neighborhood bakeries of Holland here in the States. I had been making my custom-colored sugar cookies for years but decided it was time to start focusing on savory cookies. My Rounds are not the same as the crackers of my childhood: the flavors, texture and shape are my own and I am very committed to the quality of my ingredients.
My hope is that The Rounds play some part in bringing people together, in creating times to be remembered - during gatherings that embrace cultures and ideas and the joy that can be found in eating something yummy.