University of Amsterdam awards two gastronomic prizes

Johannes van Damprijs for Claudia Roden,<br>Joop Witteveenprijs for Daniëlle De Vooght

18 January 2013

In Amsterdam today, the Johannes van Damprijs and the Joop Witteveenprijs were awarded to Claudia Roden and Daniëlle De Vooght. The prizes consist of a plate designed by Joost Swarte and a cash sum. The festive award ceremony marked the start of the ‘Gala van het Kookboek’ (‘cookbook gala’) at the Special Collections of the University of Amsterdam.

Johannes van Damprijs for Claudia Roden

The Egyptian-British cookbook author, Claudia Roden, received the 2012 Johannes van Damprijs for her extraordinary achievements in spreading knowledge of gastronomy in her publications. Culinary journalist and writer Johannes van Dam, after whom the prize is named, said in his laudatory speech that, through her books, Roden had “opened the doors to a greater understanding, not just of other cuisines and cultures, but of complete ethnic groups.”

Roden published A Book of Middle Eastern Food in 1968, to be followed by numerous cookbooks, many to high acclaim and many of which were translated into other languages. She also worked as the food correspondent to several British newspapers and presented the Claudia Roden’s Mediterranean Cookery programme on the BBC. During the ceremony the first copy of a Dutch translation of her book on Spanish cuisine, The Food of Spain, was presented to the Spanish ambassador.

Joop Wittveenprijs for Daniëlle De Vooght

The Joop Witteveenprijs, named after culinary historian and bibliographer Joop Witteveen and awarded in recognition of the best historical research into the eating culture of the Netherlands and Flanders, went to Flemish historian Daniëlle De Vooght. She received the prize for her book The King Invites: Performing Power at a Courtly Dining Table, in which she describes how nineteenth-century Belgian kings used the eating culture at court to maintain their networks.

De Vooght found a clear link between the social status of the table guests and the quality of the dishes that were served. Her research clearly shows that the court was still an important meeting place for the élite in the nineteenth century, and that the monarchs made good use of that fact as a means of increasing their influence. Through The King Invites De Vooght demonstrates how the study of eating culture can shed light on historical power relationships.

Design: Joost Swarte

Plates for the winners. Design: Joost Swarte.

Gala van het Kookboek

Around four hundred visitors attended the first University of Amsterdam ‘Gala van het Kookboek’. As well as the two prize-giving ceremonies, there were many culinary exhibitions, presentations, and tasting opportunities. During the weekend, there will be a chance to see historical cookbooks, books by the prizewinners, books by the two culinary writers after whom the prizes are named, and books that were nominated for the Gourmand World Cook Book Awards 2011.

Published by  Special Collections UvA