Sunday, 1 February 2015

Meal 1. Dutch andijviestamppot

Yesterday the trip around the world the Netherlands. My own mother, Lexa, made a typical Dutch meal for me: andijviestamppot. Most traditional Dutch meals are built around potatoes, and andijviestamppot is no exception. It basically consists of mashed potatoes and strips of andijvie (a green leafy vegetable called either endive or chicory in English). The classic version has spekjes too, fried bacon bits, but vegetarians can add pieces of cheese instead.

I see my mother as a good cook with ample knowledge of traditional Dutch cuisine. As it turns out, she really only learned how to cook as a student.
About the stamppot Lexa says: "This is a meal I used to eat at home as well. Cooking a Dutch meal would always start with peeling potatoes! The Dutch kitchen really is, or was, based on potatoes. Some people think that's boring, but actually you can prepare them in many different ways...for example, we never were afraid of peeling and preparing too many potatoes. Any boiled potatoes we had left over would be fried the next day and be delicious and crisp. For good fried potatoes you actually have to boil them the day before!"
I ask if the fact that her parents came from a colonial family (Indonesia) made any difference to what they ate at home once they moved to the Netherlands after the Second World War.
"Well, during the week we would almost always eat a meal based on potatoes. In the winter, the big potatoes that are nice and crumbly and in the spring krieltjes would be a special treat, lovely potatoes that are small and firm. But during the weekend we would often eat Indonesian meals, like nasi or bami."
These are typical Indonesion meals based on rice and noodles that are now very popular in the Netherlands. Every Dutch person thinks of rice if you say nasi.
"One aspect of coming from a colonial family was that certain words were never said in Dutch. So banana would be pisang, coconut kelapa and cucumber ketimun. We really never used the Dutch word for banana and I still find it weird to use the Dutch word for coconut!"
Didn't the Dutch miss potatoes in Indonesia? It turns out that if they really wanted to eat potatoes, they had to settle for the canned version...maybe that's why they all developed a taste for rice and noodles in the end.

What about other Dutch meals?
Lexa: "Besides meals based on potatoes we would also eat beans, or pea soup. With stamppot the meat usually consisted of spekjes (bacon bits) or sausage. Chicken really was something special in those days, we would only have that in the weekend. Fish on Friday was traditional...even if you weren't Catholic, there would be good deals at the fishmongers on Friday, so everybody ate fish that day!"

(the original post about this meal is from 20 Jan 2006) 

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