Today I was in the Albert Heijn, our national supermarket. They can be found in every single part of the country. And they’re a big multinational as well. The concept of this typically Dutch supermarket is best explained by John Fealey’s ‘Zakje’. You really have to watch this video
A few years ago our local AH (and lots of other supermarkets in the country) introduced scales integrated in the cash register, to fight the cheating. But once they’ve introduced self scanning (which is the most brilliant thing in the world), the self weighing was reintroduced. So it’s still quite accurate! (Ok, if you don’t get why the audience is going wild and crying their eyes out, you either don’t have a sens of humor, or you’re not Dutch and have no idea where ‘The Dutch’ are coming from 😛 I think this video is one of the most popular video’s here, I think every one knows it. If you say ‘zakje’ most people will at least smile)
Anyway, I was in the AH, minding my own business, self scanning my groceries, feeling really cool about myself. Right at the cash register, in the corner of my eye I saw a cookbook. Twelve months of good food, it said. And it looked massive. 365 recipes perhaps? But then I spotted the price label: not even 15 euros. Ok, come on! That’s just ridiculous. And I bought it. I just did ‘beep’ with my self scanner, and then I ‘put it in my zakje’. And it is massive. Full colour print, loads of recipes. I couldn’t let it sit there in the AH, waiting for someone else to take home a cookbook. So what else could I do but buy it? Yeah, I know, I could’ve saved myself the money and the energy of dragging it home, but I didn’t.
Naturally I was immediately curious if the recipes in it were something that would work for me. Would it be possible to make the ‘January’ recipes and not buy something that was grown in South America? In the introduction they explain that they’ve redone the book. I wouldn’t know, I don’t have an older copy. They say that people have become more and more interested in original Dutch dishes (aha!), and that some products are best enjoyed in season. Basically what they mean is that if you can have strawberries for Christmas, it doesn’t mean they’re good, delicious strawberries. They might be a bit of a tasteless surrogate. Aha! Well, I liked that. For every month they have a certain theme. January is Dutch, February is wintery Europe. And they list all kinds of ingredients that are in season.
It’s not all Dutch, but I must say, I do think that would be boring. But I can make a few of these recipes and stay local. I’m really looking forward to using this book to make my way around the kitchen!