about

bouquet of peonies

rhubarb stalks

hester van dam-pieters

bunny-contemplating

bunny admiring wedding dress

bunny in the sun

tulips in london

tivoli vredenburg

 

Welcome! I’m so glad you’re here. I’m Hester, a photographer, writer, recipe developer, and a chaplain-to-be. In this tiny corner of the world wide web I share my stories about food, travel, and daily life, and show you how to spice things up while living with allergies for vegetables from the allium family (onion, garlic, leeks, scallions, etc), the most common ingredients used for flavouring meals in kitchens around the world. When not roaming the earth, I live in the Netherlands with my husband Matthijs, our three bunnies, and my book and plant collection. I hope you will enjoy your time here, and I look forward to see you again.

If you’d like to know a little more about me and betweenthedots.nl, make yourself a cup of tea, and continue reading below.


When I was a child, I loved this game ‘connect the dots’. I would go from number to number with my pencil to discover what picture was behind them. Now I’m a little bit older, I notice many people live their lives like it is a game of connecting the dots: finish school, get a degree, buy a house, get married, have children, and so on. And by the time they are sixtysomething and stop working, they don’t really now what they have done with their life, who they are and who that person is they are living with.
Sometimes I get this feeling that other people are only interested in if I reached the next dot already. But for me, things don’t go as quickly as they are supposed to be. According to the norms of society. For me, things go exactly as they need to be going. It took some time to learn to accept this, but now I’m glad I did. Life is not only about reaching the next dot. The last dot is dying. Then the game of connecting the dots has come to an end. How do you want to look back on your life when you are there? Like you’ve just checked things off, rushing from dot to dot? Or do you remember what happened between the dots?

This blog is about what happens while I travel between the dots.

I’m a late twenty-something, living in The Netherlands. For a long, long time I didn’t care for it. I was born in the West and while I was growing up, I was too busy reading books to be aware of my surroundings. As longs as there was a quiet place to read, I was happy. I spent my secondary school years in the North. We moved to a very small town when I was ten. I thought it would be exciting. But as a grew up, I found out it wasn’t. So I started dreaming. Dreaming of travelling to faraway places, as far away as possible, and if it was up to me, I would spend the rest of my days anywhere but this small country in Northwestern Europe.
When I was 19 I escaped small town life. I moved two hundred kilometers away to study. The first step in achieving my dream. From here I ventured out to explore the world. I started with dissecting my city. I rode my bike for hours, discovering new places, learning to connect the dots. Always a map in my bag, in case I got lost. After a year navigating through my city, I traveled to France, to stay in Taizé for a month. To get there wasn’t as exciting, as one might hope: I took a bus to the bus station, where I got on another bus, that took me directly to Taizé in about twelve hours. Six months later, in about twelve hours, I found myself halfway around the world, on my way to Manilla. Another step in achieving my dream.
In 2011 I met the love of my life, whom I married on November 10, 2016. After three months I told him about my dream; my dream of travelling to faraway places, as far away as possible. At the time, it wasn’t really his dream, but he embraced mine and it grew on him. Eighteen months later we left with a one-way ticket, explored the world, and after eight months and three days we came back to this small country I never really cared for living in.
A couple of years later, this country has grown on me. I actually quite enjoy living here, in this city with a population of only 340.000, in a small country in Northwestern Europe. A big part of that has to do with learning to appreciate, and more important: learning to accept, what I have. And it was also about finding a purpose in life. I like so many things, have so many interests, that it took me a while. But by now, after twentysomething years, I think I have figured it out. And, surprisingly, it isn’t roaming the world forever. At the moment, I really enjoy just being at home, and exploring my city once more.

I’ve always loved to cook, bake, and try out new recipes. In a way, it is a form of exploring the world. But ever since we left to marvel the world, it has become a necessity. Only two weeks into our adventure, I  got a severe case of Delhi-belly turned into a gastro-intestinal infection turned into food allergies. For the following years, I no longer tolerated plants from the allium family (garlic, onion, scallion, shallot, leek, chives), or mushrooms. In 2017 my intolerances became worse. For six months I was happy to get out of bed and make it too the couch. Then I spent all the energy I had for that day. There was hardly any food left that wouldn’t cause pain in my intestines. There was no medical explanation for it. So after all test results came back negative, I took matters in my own hands, and made an appointment with an orthomolecular dietitian. I was to follow an elimination diet and would avoid gluten, dairy sugar, and fructans for the next couple of months. By now, I have established which foods I cannot eat – the same ones mentioned above – and which I tolerate only in really small quantities. And I am no longer in pain, which is the most important thing. Most of the time, these restrictions don’t bother me. I just omit the ingredients I don’t tolerate to well. But when I’m invited for dinner by a friend or relative, sheer panic kicks in. With them.
To help my friends and family out, I decided to start this online cookbook. And I hope that, along the way, it will also help anyone that recently found out they do not tolerate alliums, and their friends and families. Because while I was exploring this new way of cooking, I found out it isn’t just as simple as leaving them out. Most food becomes plain, boring and tasteless. And I couldn’t go happily through live by only eating meat and vegetables. And since you’ve found my website, you probably don’t either.

On my journey between the dots, I’m not only cooking and baking. So there will be other stories as well. About travelling. About day-to-day life. About the dots. Feel free to wander around, and share your story as well, through comments or by sending me a message. I hope you enjoy your time here.

Hester


My food philosophy – I believe that one should eat the types of food that makes them feel good. For me this changes continually, ok, except for my intolerances, they are here to stay. But for other products, I could be completely fine eating something one week, and the next week it just isn’t working for me. Also, I prefer using the stuff that is in my cupboard or fridge. Therefore I sometimes bake fruit tarts with a wholemeal crust and a mixture of dairy and dairy substitutes for a filling. In my recipes I choose to use general descriptions, so you can use the products you require, like, or have on hand. To learn more about the ingredients I omit or use in moderation, click here. If you cook for someone with intolerances, always ask what they need.


Why should I buy you a coffee? Good question, especially since I stopped drinking coffee in May 2018. This cup of coffee I ask for is a figure of speach. It takes quite a lot of time and money to keep betweenthedots.nl up and running. One of the ways many blogs generate income is through those hideous banners. Something I would like to steer clear of in order to keep this a calm and quiet environment. So instead I ask of you to give me a small donation to support my work.


Privacy – If you’d like to know more about what is done to protect your privacy, click here.


If you have a question, like to share an idea, or just want to say hi, feel free to send me a message. My e-mail adress is: hestervandam@betweenthedots.nl.

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