Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Food has always been one of my lusts for life so I guess it would be fair to say it was one of the bigger differences I noticed first.

Breakfast is usually a slice of bread or beschuit - which is nothing more than an over sized crouton (see picture below). Toppings for the bread or beschuit usually includes jams, peanut butter (but apparently NOT together), chocolate paste, chocolate sprinkles (what a way to start your kids off with a sugar high), a simple cheese slice makes a nice alternative for those who don't wish sweets on their bread.
Beschuit - not only used for breakfast or lunch but also traditionally after a baby is born they would top it with muisjes (licorice flavoured balls in either pink or blue).
chocolate sprinkles aka hagelslag

Chocolate sprinkles on bread

Another gewoon (normal) meal or snack is their ontbijt koek 'breakfast cake'. Ontbijt koek is a fairly dry spice cake - most people would cut off a slice and smear on some margerine and/or jam.

Lunches are very similar to breakfast except it is served with a cold glass of milk. This took me some time to adjust to. I quite often made warm lunches as did my mother and my mothers mother and my grandmothers mother did. My Dutch mother-in-law thought I was CRAZY to be making a warm meal in the middle of the day. She let herself in my house, smelled the air, "Mmmmm, are you starting supper all ready?" "ummm no... it's just the mac and cheese for lunch" "Oh we don't eat that heavily in the middle of the day. Will you eat supper then?" She really did think I was nuts and looking back, I must have been nuts to be eating mac and cheese. The foods you will eat when you are young. These days I just stick to my sandwich or tosti - which is basically a grilled cheese done on a panini grill.

The Dutch LOVE their snacks. In most cities, there is always a snackbar with in walking distance or at least a Febo. A febo is a wall yes a WALL with small heated compartments containing food, such as hamburgers, chicken burgers, chicken sticks and some of Hollands favourite fried treats.


The oh so popular Febo.
The frikandel (see above) is a fried, mildly spiced meat stick. In general they are rather tasty but I have had a few that ended up in the garbage.

The kroket is crunchy on the outside and soft and HOT in the inside. The inside is filled with a meat ragout or stew. This is usually served with mustard and sometimes in a bun.

Bitterballen are pretty much the same as the kroket but obviously smaller.

Fries or Patat are another favorite snack, usually served in a cone bag and almost always served with a thick mayonnaise sauce.

Raw haring is a tradition and the Dutch are very proud of it. The haring is even to be eaten as shown in the picture. This is NOT something you will be seeing me do any time soon.

A traditional Dutch supper is potato, vegetable and meat. Often the vegetable and potato are mashed together before adding the meat. Since Holland is a very multinational country, a lot of different dishes from all over the word has been introduced to the Dutch kitchen. A particular favourite is Indonesian foods (since Indonesia was a colony of Holland). Ordering Chinese food here is not the same as the Chinese food you will get in North America, it has a lot more Indonesian influences.
Hutspot - a mixture of carrots, potato and onion.

Andijvie Stampot - a mashed mixture of endive and potato. Often served with a sausage. Very similar looking to the Boerenkool which is curly kale mashed with potato also served with sausage.

Desserts - I don't know if it is a MUST have in every family but it was in my husbands family. My in-laws insist on a toetje (dessert) after every meal. It took me many years to break my husband from that habit. My husbands toetje of choice was usually vla - which is a thick pudding - usually comes in a milk carton, like most of their dairy products including yoghurt.

Chocolate vla

poffertjes - this can also go under snacks. It is basically mini pancakes with sugar powder sprinkled on top.

vlaai - a pie with a thick cake like bottom and creamy inside topped with fruit. YUMMY. Too yummy to eat too often!

One of my favourites and my families. Stroopwafels - syrup wafers. Even better served with hot coffee - balance the cookie on top of the cup to let slightly soften, then eat Mmmmm. I often spoil my Canadian family with these cookies. Who could resist them?

Tompouce - A typical Dutch pink icing pastry. They particularly enjoy giving to foreigners to watch them eat it "differently"then they would eat it, then they laugh at the foreigners vreemd (weird) ways.... thanks guys I will never forget!

Drop - or black licorice - be warned - this is nothing like the black licorice from North America. This stuff can be saltier than the red sea! Zoet (sweet) drop is usually pretty safe.
Anywhere where you can dish out your own candy (like in a bulk bin type manner), you always get a cone shaped bag. Usually all the candy are the same price so you can mix and match. Just don't rot your teeth!

How could I forget the cheese?  Dutch LOVE their cheese (and so do I)!  I used to think cheddar cheese was the best cheese ever... that was until I moved here and was introduced to REAL cheese!  I am still not fond of strong tasting cheese but there still is a large selection of mild cheeses that is just right for my taste pallet. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This post makes my mouth water! Never tried frikadel or herring though