Uncommon Kitchens Inaugural Edition

A Collection of Recipes by Mount Holyoke Alumnae and Students from, in or in Love with Europe

MHEAC April 2020 - The Uncommon Kitchen

In times of social distancing, lock downs, and restrictions, many of us turned to cooking and baking for comfort and relief or simply out of dire necessity. In April 2020 the European Alumnae Council issued a call to all domestic goddesses, dedicated bakers and accidental cooks among us and launched a cooking, baking, and drink recipe competition. This competition was later followed by a Festive Edition collecting celebratory dishes from around the world (learn more about this event here). The Festive Edition was not a competition, but instead simply a sharing of celebratory recipes.

Within a few weeks the organizing committee received over 80 recipes from 16 different countries and the submissions included easy family comfort dishes as well as complex and mouthwatering culinary enterprises and most delectable drinks.

All recipes were supported by inspiring and fascinating backstories, illustrating old and new family or regional traditions and often introducing noteworthy family members with a smile.

Our Entries by Category

It took the jury weeks to evaluate the recipes, test many of them and exchange opinions and pictures. Everyone took her job extremely seriously and whenever there was any disagreement a recipe was actually tested a few times before the jury could reach a final decision.

Making a final selection was difficult and the jury finally agreed to select 20 winners in 7 different categories, including a special category for “Best Pantry – quarantine food”.

And the winners are…

Home cooking – Main dishes             

Emily Arnold ’12 – United States Curried Butternut Pasta Emily Arnold
Meryem Puill- Châtillons ’80 – France           Méryem’s Lamb Curry Mereyam Puill- Châtillons
Lynn Meins ’70 – Germany             Lynn’s Favorite Fish Recipe Lynn Meins
Laura Aimone ’04 – Italy Penne in barca con asparagi selvatici (Penne on the boat with wild asparagus) Laura Aimone in India
Qudsia Ali ’95 – Saudi Arabia Masala Chicken Bread Qudsia Ali

Home cooking – Appetizers and relishes

Elizabeth Taeed ’09 – Portugal    Balsamic Vinegar, Thyme and Caramelised Onion Relish         Elizabeth Taeed with Tea

Home cooking – Baking and desserts

Rossella Di Palma ‘99 – Italy Eggplant and Ginger Jam Rossella Di Palma
Mieke Kamps ’78 – The Netherlands Dutch Alp d’HuZes Apple -Oat Pie Mieke Kamps
Vennie Muenzen ’10 – United States Homemade Dairy-free Banana Ice cream Vennie Muenzen
Corinne Morgan ’13 – United Kingdom Cranberry Orange Sweetbread Corinne Morgan

Haute Cuisine

Virginia Ross ’66 – United Kingdom Crab Soufflé  Virginia Ross

Regional – Traditional

Katrina Strikis ’10 – United States Pīrāgi (Bacon Buns) Katrina Strikis
Sarah Poniros ’13 – United States Yiayia Effie’s Moussaka Sarah Poniros
Aniela White ’05 – Poland Szarlotka (Polish apple pie) Aniela White
Deborah Wild ’97 – Georgia Dresdner Weihnachtsstollen (Christmas Stollen/Cake) (German) Deborah Wild


Laura Campbell ’05 – France Marquisette (Champagne Punch) Laura Campbell
Elisabeth Hansen ’95 – Switzerland Madeline’s Elderflower Syrup Come True Elizabeth and Madeline Hansen

Special Category – Best Pantry /Quarantine recipes

May Chen ’21 – China Mama’s Tomato Fried Eggs May Chen
Laila Kienel ’08 – Belgium Potato pancakes Laila Kienel
Micha Hellman ’19 – The Netherlands Homemade Dark Chocolate Micha Heilman
Suzanne Jansen ‘91 – The Netherlands Healthy Banana Pancakes Suzanne Jansen

All winners received a copy of the cookbook “Repertoire” by fellow alumna and cookbook writer Jessica Battilana ‘ 00  (JessicaBattilana.com)!

To see the winners and recipes from our Festive Edition, click here.

Special thanks to the evaluating committee, which included:

  • Victoria Breck ’08 – Belgium – Food blogger – see Kitchenbyvictoria.com
  • Marcella Croce ’72 – Italy – Author and food anthropologist – see Marcellacroce.com
  • Kate Old-Magnere ’90 – France – Chef and restaurant owner at “Le Monaco” in Paris
  • Silvia Maulini ’80 – the Netherlands/European Council – (Slow) food lover and teacher of cooking workshops
  • Ellen Whitehead ’11 – United Kingdom – Gin enthusiast and keen amateur baker

Uncommon Kitchens Cookbooks

Since  then, we gathered all recipes from these two culinary eevents into two beautiful cookbooks. Learn more and order your own copy here!