The Dutch cuisine is not something to brag about. It’s flavorless, colorless and without any inspiration. In an original Dutch meal you will find a dry, flavorless piece of meat, cooked potatoes with gravy, accompanied by a mushy splash of overcooked vegetables. It may even have been mashed together, formed in a way to resemble the Dutch dikes, with Lake Gravy laying in the middle. It’s no rocket science why the Dutch cuisine is so unknown in other countries.
As a logical consequence, most Dutch people from my generation have stopped eating typical Dutch food at one point in our lives. We started cooking Italian (pasta!), Indian (curry!) and Spanish (tapas!). Turkish fast food joints are found at every street corner and for a more serious night out, you can choose from one of the many Sushi restaurants downtown. Lake Gravy is disappearing from our food map.
While that is definitely a good thing — with regard to both taste and health — it’s a shame that the Dutch cuisine has such a bad reputation. Because we definitely have invented some dishes that were great in theory. They were just badly executed most of the times. So it’s about time to rediscover our national signature dishes and have something to be proud of, right?
That’s exactly what the writers of the cookbook ‘Dutch Cooking – The New Kitchen’ must have thought. As a Dutch home cook that almost never cooks Dutch food, I believed it was my duty to cook someone from this book for this goal of my list:
No. 69: Try out 10 new recipes from 10 different cookbooks.
My father once gave it to me as a present when he came back from England. It’s funny actually, because he gave me an English book about the Dutch cuisine, which also appeared to be available in Dutch in the Netherlands. What a detour! But as much as I loved my father’s gesture and the idea of reviving the Dutch cuisine, I’m guilty of letting this book eat dust for years. On April 9 I decided that should change. I wiped the dust off and searched for an interesting recipe.
The book turned out to be less interesting than I initially thought. I had expected ancient Dutch recipes, literally spiced up with interesting ingredients. But the main spices that were used were still the plain old salt, pepper and nutmeg. Very traditional (read: boring). The writers could have made our Carrot Hotchpotch, ‘Hot Lightning’ and ‘Houses of Amsterdam’ so much more interesting. I felt disappointed that they stuck to the traditional recipes so much.
Fortunately, some of the recipes were more interesting. Sometimes the recipes would contain vegetables we long forgot existed (such as salsifies, turnips and parsnips). And in other recipes they would use a typical Dutch ingredient to make a very non-traditional dish. One of these dishes was Cheese Soup. As you might now, The Netherlands is famous for its cheeses. I had never heard of cheese soup before, though! Since you could wake me up in the middle of the night for a delicious cheese dish, this seemed like the perfect recipe to try.
Oh and it was. It was sooooo good! It tasted like cheese fondue on a spoon. And who doesn’t like a nice cheese fondue? The fondue would probably be healthier than the soup though, because you would dip all kinds of vegetable in it. This cheese soup wasn’t healthy at all, apart from the few leaves of chive floating on top. But as long as I won’t eat it everyday, who cares, right?
This is the 8th cookbook I’ve used during my Day Zero Project, which means this recipe helped me to reach 80% of my goal! The end is nigh!