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ABC of food

June 24th, 2011

Filed under: FOOD & TRAVEL


There's got to be more to Dutch food than this

A-Z of food
I have been totally obsessed with food, lately. I am expanding my vocabulary of food, starting with a basic alphabet of cuisine.

I’m Australian, so that’s the “A”. We have great produce, and everyone’s from somewhere else, so the food heritage in my home country is so rich. For B, British – seriously, Brit-food is no joke anymore. The number of great chefs from Jamie, to Nigella, to Hugh should not go unnoticed. And for  C, I would choose Chinese I guess. So, D. What would I choose?

Lowland groceries
I tend to make a real day of it when I go grocery shopping in the Netherlands. I try to keep my visits to the Albert Heijn to a minimum. It’s to the market for me! There I can buy cheese and practise my Dutch with to the cheese vendor. They know their stuff and they’re happy to sell it to you. A couple of weeks ago I walked off with €14 of cheese but had such a pleasant experience, I didn’t mind at all. If you don’t know how to prepare green cauliflower or you’re looking for super hot green chillies, then I can tell you a few good stalls at the Woenselse Markt on a Saturday morning. They know me now. Great to have some reliable suppliers, and feel part of the community. Open 10am – 5pm every Saturday in the Kruisstraat, Eindhoven.

So produce-wise, I find it quite easy to access. But what’s it like, good Dutch food? I’m not really talking about krokets, frietjes (fries) and frikandels. I mean real Dutch cuisine.

Dutch food goddess?
I stumbled upon Yvette van Boven – a foodie and illustrator on Twitter. Her book, Home Made, seems gorgie (as in gorgeous) but I haven’t yet bought it. I like the typeset, the layout, the paper, the photography, and how she’s making Dutch food a little cooler. It’s about making it at home, yourself – no more of the Dutch instant food mentality, of kant-en-klaar. Awarded in 2010 with Dutch Cookbook Of The Year, Best informative Dutch book and nominated for Best first cookbook’ at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards this year, she will tell us how to make cheese from pantry staples, and how to create an oven smoker from scratch in just two minutes. There are even recipes for doggy treats. Home made in every way, Yvette made her own fonts, drew the illustrations, wrote all the recipes, prepared the food for the photographs  and designed the book. I’m holding out until it’s out in English (gotta wait until September – that’s me being lazy).

Work it out in a workshop
But still, I don’t really have personal answers for foodies out there. What is Dutch food!? I am curious myself. Maybe if you head up to Den Bosch this Sunday, from 1.30pm -4.30pm there is a free workshop: “Get to know the Dutch by their food“. If you tag along, do tell me what you learn. Then Dutch food might pip Danish or Dominican Republic cuisine at the post and make it into my A-Z of great food traditions. Who knows?

Holland Expat Services Workshop for expats
Sunday 26th of June 13.30-16.30 AND Sunday 17th of July
“Get to know the Dutch by their food” a workshop for expats. Always wanted to know when we eat “beschuit met muisjes” and what “naked bums in the grass” are?
Location: ‘s Hertogenbosch
Cost: FREE
To join, send an email with your name, address, phone number and dietary restrictions.

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