Welcome to my second SFATW post! Souvenirs From Across The World (SFATW) is a feature created by Marie@Drizzle & Hurricane Books to get to know each other a little better, focussing especially on where we are all from, and share a bit from our countries, cities, cultures, traditions, writers, and authors while we’re at it.The main goal of Souvenirs From Across The World is to create a link between all bloggers, from everywhere, and to share a bit of the diversity that makes everyone unique on the blogosphere.
This month (October 9th – November 6th)’s theme is:
Okay, to be completely honest here, the Dutch (dining) cuisine isn’t very eventful. The typical Dutch dinner consists of boiled potatoes, boiled vegetables and a piece of fried meat. A little salt added to everything and that’s it mostly. During the winters, people like to mix it up, go crazy, and throw everything (traditional ‘stamppot’, as we call it, includes various combinations of sauerkraut, carrot, onion or kale – and is usually served with a big juicy sausage) in one pan and mash it up with one of these…
…until it looks like this (depending on the types of veggies you use obviously):
Now, if this doesn’t look appetising to you, I don’t know what will!
Yeah, okay, so needless to say, I’m not a big fan here and rarely make any traditional Dutch dinner meals…
This would be the end of my post if it wasn’t for snacks and sweets because, thank god, we’re good at that, at least!
Let me start off here by telling you something about our meal structure. I remember being flabbergasted when I discovered not everyone eats dinner between 5 and 6 pm!
Breakfast and Lunch
I’m sure most of you know that we’re quite the cheese country here. We’re even lovingly being called ‘Cheeseheads’ by the Belgians. The majority of Dutch cheeses are semi-hard or hard cheeses. Famous Dutch cheeses include Gouda and Edam. A typically Dutch way of making cheese is to blend in herbs or spices during the first stages of the production process. Famous examples of this are cheeses with cloves, cumin, or nettles.
Dutch bread tends to be very airy, as it is made from yeast dough. From the 1970s onward Dutch bread became predominantly whole grain, with additional seeds such as sunflower or pumpkin seeds often mixed with the dough for taste. My breakfast and lunch almost always consist of two slices of bread with old cheese.
Ontbijtkoek (literally translates to ‘breakfast cake’) may be eaten as a substitute for a full breakfast, or simply as a snack. It is served as a small slice, usually with a shitload of butter spread on top of it. It tastes a bit like gingerbread, but is denser and has allspice in it. The other name for it, Peperkoek (Pepper cake) kinda refers to that. Breakfast cake comes in loaves (or pre-sliced but that’s for lazy people) and works wonders if you’re constipated…
Dutch people invite friends over for koffietijd (coffee time), which consists of coffee and cake or a biscuit, served between 10am and 11am (before lunch), 4pm (between lunch and dinner) or between 7pm and 8 pm (after dinner). The Dutch drink coffee and tea throughout the day often served with a single biscuit. Not in my house, though. A single biscuit….sheesh.
A popular Dutch story (never confirmed) says that in the late 1940s the wife of the then Prime minister,Willem Drees, served coffee and one biscuit to a visiting American diplomat, who then became convinced that the money from the Marshall Plan was being well spent.
We traditionally drink our tea without milk and the tea is a lot weaker than typical English or Irish types of tea which are stronger and are usually taken with milk.
Borreltijd (snack time)
Between 4pm and 5pm, it’s time for an alcoholic beverage, beer or wine, and a savoury snack. This is when the famous ‘bitterballen’, deep-fried balls of meat, traditionally served with mustard for dipping, can be served.
These might not look very appetising to you, but they really are! My husband said the wedding would be off if the place where we held our wedding reception didn’t serve any bitterballen.
Let’s move on to the really good stuff now:
Unlike American pancakes or French crepes, Dutch pancakes are basically the size of a pizza and can be topped like one accordingly. Traditionally, we eat them with sugar or treacle and roll them like a crepe:
But look at these babies!
Because I love pancakes so much, my wedding was being held at a Dutch pancake house for the entire day (ceremony included). Here’s a very charming picture of me during dinner there:
I don’t know if my husband is okay with showing his picture in public, so let’s all just pretend I got married to Jon Snow last year. I know, my photoshop skills are amazing.
Apart from the pancakes, we also have ‘poffertjes’. They are basically mini-pancakes albeit a lot puffier than our normal pancakes. They’re usually served by the dozen and topped with melted butter and powdered sugar.
Other delicious Dutch foods in no particular order:
Take two still-warm, freshly grilled thin waffles, spread gooey caramel-like syrup in the middle, and stick them together. The result is absolutely yummy, but…the fresher, the better!
This is not liquorice as you know it, but a more salty, black version known as ‘drop’.
Apparently named after a performing dwarf who went by the stage name of Tom Pouce, this cream-filled rectangular pastry is characterised by a layer of smooth pink icing on top. Tompouce is strictly regulated to ensure consistency in size, shape and colour – although for the past few years the icing has turned bright orange in Amsterdam around King’s Day.
THICK DUTCH FRIES
We eat our fries slightly differently over here, to the disgust of our Belgian neighbours. When we’re eating fries that we take out at a local snackbar, this is what my favourite dish looks like:
It’s thick fries with mayonnaise, curry sauce and onions. If you’re asking for ‘Fries of War’, you’ll get a generous dollop of Indonesian peanut sauce on top of this.
This is how we eat it: just dip the cleaned herring in some finely chopped up onions and GO!
If you’re a herring or sushi newbie, try it on a white bun first ;).
If you’re not feeling quite brave enough to try raw herring, try some kibbeling. I think it’s the equivalent of the Fish in England’s Fish&Chips: battered and deep-fried morsels of white fish; usually cod. We usually serve it with a sour mayonnaise-like sauce.
Last but not least, here’s the stuff we eat around New Year’s eve: deep fried balls of dough. They are absolutely and horribly (because, hello grease!) delicious and I can’t recommend them highly enough! I already put up a recipe on how to make them yourself last year over HERE.
It would be a long ass post if I’d cover all the delicacies from over here, so if you want to read more about Dutch Cuisine, I suggest you go HERE. Full disclaimer: I might’ve stolen a few snippets of text from this page to make my post more accurate/consistent.