March 26, 2003

Food and the dutch

When was the last time you ate Dutch food (being in Holland doesnt count). Can you name any Dutch food? No? Don't worry - you're not missing out on much. There are some great things in the Netherlands, such as the people, the towns, the beer and various other aspects. However there is no such thing as internationally renowned Dutch food.

Why? Read on...

The Dutch are very proud of their customs and traditions. Many of the day to day activities are based on centuries-old customs that have changed little since first appearing. Most outsiders view many of these customs as backward and outdated, and in fact many Dutch even cannot explain the reasons or the origin for each. Amongst the more well known ones:

  • Having social gatherings and parties done such that everyone is sitting in a circle around a woefully inadequate coffee table, sipping on coffee. They talk about the same thing and people are all very polite. And visibly uncomfortable, as if it's a necessary burden to go through.
  • Eating dinner at 6pm on the dot.. The majority of households eat dinner at exactly this time, and seem almost in a panic if they can't get home in time to eat at 6. (Hint: Take a chill pill!)
  • People being very slow at shop counters. they will pay, get receipts, and then leisurely spend a minute or two putting wallets away and packing bags without getting out of the way for the next customer. AARGH!

    These are some of the more noticeable customs that a foreigner here is likely to see. Now, someone who works in the Netherlands may also notice something else about the Dutch - the lunch hour. It works something like this:

    Everybody files down together to the cafeteria at generally the exact same time every day. This must not be allowed to deviate by more than 5 or 10 minutes. Once there, you go around the cafeteria and pick out something warm. usually it consists of:

  • Krokets, kind of like a deep fried sausage shaped lump of stew, made of unidentifiable animal products and plant material.
  • Frikandels, best thought of as long hot dog frankfurters without the skin and with drier "meat". Deep fried. Hm.
  • Chips 'n' mayo, yum yum!

    The most popular food for lunch though is boterham. This consists of a slice of bread, slathered in butter, and a single topping. The topping is generally either a slice of cold meat, a slice of cheese, some raw mince, or chocolate sprinkles(which I stopped eating before I was ten!). There is rarely a second slice of bread on top. The most intriguing part of this, is that it's is eaten with a knife and fork! Cut into either four or six squares, it forms a staple lunchtime diet for millions of Dutchmen and women. As a foreigner, it was initially quite bewildering to see this happen, and to this day I still cannot get over the sight of grown businessmen eating chocolate sprinkle sandwiches with a knife and fork. It really is quite bizaare.

    That's my little insight into the dutch culture of food. I'm off to have some pizza now.

    Posted by Ben at March 26, 2003 10:49 PM
  • Comments

    I can't believe it, my co-worker just bought a car for $11241. Isn't that crazy!

    Posted by: Betsy Markum at November 16, 2005 10:21 PM
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