Friday, July 13, 2007

Friday Flashback

Fine Dutch Cuisine - you've never seen that sign have you? There's a reason. Trust me.

The Dutch love sweets, we always had cookies in the house. Not often chocolate, or chocolate chip. Usually some variety of spicy or fruit filled cookie. I have no complaints. Speculaas, Stroopwaffels, Peak Frean jelly or filled maple cookies - those are the sweet tastes of my childhood. And ONE cookie, always only one cookie, usually with a cup of strong coffee or tea. To get around the one cookie rule, though, they drink a LOT of coffee. ;o) At New Years, my dad would roll up his sleeves and make krentenbrood and oliebollen - raisin bread and doughnuts. I haven't had olliebolen in close to twenty years.

So sweets, they've got that down pat, the Dutch. But the entres? Eh, not so much.

We ate Stampot a lot (or it seemed like a lot.) Boiled potatoes mashed with boiled endive and boiled sausages. Makes some great plate castles or volcanoes, especially if you pour the sausage dripping gravy over to recreate a) a boiling oil attack, or b) pretty sad lava. There's no thickener in Dutch gravy - it's more like the jus you get with a french dip sandwich so it tends to soak into the over-cooked everything, immediately.

My mother, perhaps not indicative of Dutch cooks as a whole, but certainly indicative of those Dutch cooks whose culinary efforts I experienced, believes everything needs to be cooked for 30 minutes. Or 30 minutes per pound in the case of anything meat. There was no point in buying good steaks or expensive roasts, everything came out the same. Stir-fried, rare, marinated - these words had no meaning at our table.

I don't cook like that, my sister doesn't cook like that either, and my brothers' wives most definitely don't cook like that. But you know, every now and again I get this weird craving for bacon pancakes (with brown sugar), or red cabbage boiled (for 1/2 hour) with apples, or grey/green beans with nutmeg. Not often, thank goodness, and usually they go away. I'd hate to get my family hooked on this stuff, after all!


Rian said...

Very interesting story of the melting pot. My father was Dutch. But he didn't cook.

QuiltingFitzy said...

I could do bacon ANYTHING. Do you remember in about 1963 or so, peanut butter with bacon bits?

Funny what makes our nostalgic tummy grumble!

Great post!

Dorothy said...

Rian, interestingly, while the US immigration policy is considered a melting pot, in Canada, we have what's called a salad bowl mentality. Cultures are encouraged to retain their differences, rather than homogenizing with everyone else. I suppose that's less the case now, as Canada is exposed to so much Americanism. That tide may be turning, though, as Canada tries very hard to separate itself from it's identity as the 51st state.

And Fitzy, do I *remember* 1963? Nope. I was gestating, though perhaps there was some indirect exposure to pb&b - it sounds like something my mom would eat. And it's true, everything's better with bacon.

dee said...

Oma cooked everything in my family since the others were working. She made this one dish with green beans, potatoes and bacon-all smooshed together. It was probably all cooked in bacon fat and honestly was the only thing I could sit and eat a pot-full of. Since bacon was a primary food group-I liked her hot sweet&sour cabbage slaw with bacon as well. No wonder I lost 55 lbs when I left home!