Here’s something I totally hate about Dutch cuisine. It’s responsible for such a high level of ewwwww-ness in my life, that I would personally be grateful if this thing is banned from all the world. Because it’s the grossest thing I’ve ever eaten. It is, I’m not kidding. ‘Zuurkool’ is the Dutch word with which we describe something generally known as ‘sauerkraut’.
And I truly hate it. I have long lost memories that I would like to keep lost forever, concerning sauerkraut. My mother would make us sauerkraut regularly. And I’ve never stopped hating it, not from the first day I ate it. She would boil potatoes, mash them, boil some sauerkraut, some apples and raisins, and she’d serve some meat on the side. That probably is a good way of preparing sauerkraut. But, once again, I hate it. The sauer is still sour. Very sour. I never really liked meat, so I probably skipped that. No matter how many apples and raisins you would add, the sour did not subside. I’ve told you before that I admire my mum, she’s the living legend of a good housewife. Really! She manages to keep a huge house clean and tidy, whereas I have trouble getting through with cleaning my tiny apartment. So I don’t get how she does it, or how she ever did it when she had small children roaming about. I just don’t get it, honestly. And I don’t get how she got a meal on the table everyday, either. And that meal was nice and edible almost all of the time. Except for her flirting with sauerkraut. It just doesn’t do anything for me, you know. Never will, probably. And I will never buy sauerkraut and attempt to make something that tastes OK, see, I’m not even going to assume ‘great’ would be possible.
But the other day, I had great sauerkraut. I did. And I don’t get it. I didn’t cook it, naturally, and when I heard it would be sauerkraut I had reserves. I thought ‘Oh boy’, but I didn’t say anything. You know, if someone is cooking you dinner, you damn well don’t complain about it. Just eat it. And if you don’t like it, make your own dinner! So, as we sat at the table I helped myself to the potatoes, the sauerkraut, the meat and the gravy. And I was shaking with anxiety. I was scared to death that I had to eat it all and that it would be a struggle. But I was so very, very hungry. I’d been working all day, and I was just not going to not eat. That wasn’t an option. I was mentally preparing to slowly work my way through the sour food of doom. And it wasn’t sour. The gravy complemented the sauerkraut in such a way that it wasn’t sour at all! It was absolutely great. It was terrific. And I helped myself to a second serving (proving to the person who made me dinner that I’m a big girl and I eat truck loads of food, every friggin’ day!). I was so surprised with how much I liked it that I totally lost my sense of good behaviour and I just said it: ‘Wow! This is some great sauerkraut! What did you do to it?’ I exclaimed, while beaming happily to the greatest gravy of all time. You know what the answer was? ‘Oh, it’s just sauerkraut with potatoes, meat and gravy.’
The saddest thing about this is that I didn’t learn the secret to the greatest gravy-sauerkraut ever. So I have no bloody idea how to make it myself. I will forever be depending on this person to make me great sauerkraut, because I still won’t be able to do it myself. So, so sad.