The Delightful Dutch Dish

How one can cook oneself back into local reality

Christmas dinner December 25, 2009

Filed under: cooking,main course — orangepumpkin @ 21:57
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Today is Christmas and yes, I did cook. But I won’t post about it, because it’s not really what goes. I cooked maybe one semi-local thing. A pumpkin. I could’ve got one more locally, this particular pumpkin travelled something between 50 and 100 km to the kitchen where it was cooked. While I have one lying in my own kitchen that’s travelled 2,5 km in it’s entire existence. And by bike, I might add. The other one got harvested with a tractor, it got loaded in a truck, taken to a central warehouse of one of the largest supermarket chains in the Netherlands. Then it got sorted and transported to the local supermarket (again by truck, they just don’t do these things by bike or horse-drawn carriage anymore). It got picked up and was brought home (a mere 2 km) by car. So this particular pumpkin, the one I hacked into small bits, threw in a pan, cooked until it disintegrated, it kind of saw a bit too much of the world to make it to the pages of this blog. Which it did eventually, I know how your minds work.

But that one pumpkin was the most local thing I cooked. It was Dutch, grown not far from my birthhouse, on a piece of land I might have walked on as a kid. So that one pumpkin was dear to my heart. You know, I might have cried when I chopped him up, when I scraped the seeds from it’s central… what should I call it? Anyway, it was a sad day for that pumpkin, it got killed and cooked on Christmas. That’s just cruel!

There’s another reason I’m not going to blog much about what I cooked that poor pumpkin into. Because you can guess it. I made it before, I kind of let myself go when I wrote about it. You know what it is, it’s the divine and delicious pumpkin soup. Yeah, who needs a second story about that in a few weeks? (Just so you know: I do still have another pumpkin, chances are there’s going to be more pumpkin soup in the foreseeable future. I might or might not blog about it.)

I’m ashamed to tell you that I broke my Friday-rules so early on in the game. Because the other ingredients in the four course meal I helped cook & serve were way, way, WAY worse than the pumpkin. We had hazelnuts, according to the recipe they had to be from Oregon, I just don’t want to know how far away that is from my stomach. I can tell you these hazelnuts weren’t from Oregon, if that eases your mind one tiny bit. But they weren’t homegrown or anything, either. They might have been Dutch, but more likely they were very exotically European. Sí señor! (Or not, who cares, that’s about enough Spanish to render me speechless). We had lettuce, which is a very local product during the summer months. Trust me when I say that it isn’t very local in December. Especially when you buy it at your lovely supermarket. They buy these lettuces anywhere they can. Probably Spain again. But the highlight were the shrimp. Shrimp do swim in the sea (or walk, if that’s what they do). And also in the Northsea. So the closest to home would be catching shrimp on any of the Dutch beaches. The thing is, they’re tiny little shrimp there. We had big ones. We call them ‘gamba’s’, which is Spanish (is this a recurring theme today?), and it probably just means something like ‘the largest shrimp you can imagine’. And they’re good to the taste buds! Can’t say no to some fancy Spanish shrimp, now can you?

We also had a lot of dairy products in every course and in our dessert. Dairy is Dutch, but still, I do not own a cow, so it’s not as local as can be, unfortunately. We also had pork. Probably Dutch Pork, since the pork produced in this ample country is three times more than we Dutch can eat. A lot is exported, but I’m trusting logic on the fact that the pork we eat ourselves, the pork we buy in our local supermarkets, is in fact bred and raised here, in the low lands. It’s probably killed here too, but don’t be surprised if it turns out to be Italy, then that poor porky friend gets skinned in China, chopped up in sellable and sizable bits in South America and packed in Canada before it returns to our lovely local linguae (lingula is Latin for tongue, I needed it here, forgive me for trying to be more intellectual than I actually am, I know I got the plural wrong, or maybe the whole word, sod it). What else did we have? Oh, I remember, it’s unforgivable! Really, it is. We had fresh fruit. Forgive me for I have sinned. I know, crazy right? I ate fresh raspberries at Christmas. I know I’m not the only one, but whoa!! Wait!!! We had a white Christmas, the whole and entire country was covered in snow. The layer was actually so thick, public life got suspended for days. (On Christmas it thawed, so most of it melted away, oh cruel, cruel world. We never get a white Christmas, when we do, it’s an ironically smudgy one). There’s something you should conclude from that information: it was freezing (before Christmas at least). So, it’s winter. No, seriously? Yes. Winter in the Netherlands? That rarely happens, right? We get to eat raspberries all year long, from our own garden, no problem, all thanks to global warming. Amsterdam is now subtropical, we have big palmtrees lining the canals right now. Great improvement, this global warming thing.


I’m kidding. The Netherlands does not have any wild and lovely palms lining public streets (I had to go way more south to finally spot these, it was still Europe, though). We’re not the new Costa Brava (sorry, is that Spain again?). And raspberries do not mix very well with frost, snow, wintery scenes, the whole lot we had going on right before Christmas. So, there were no Dutch grown raspberries available (who’d have guessed). So the supermarket probably made a great deal with some Spanish dude growing some raspberries.

Oh, and before I forget: we had some Mexican (or maybe, if life is permitting something of a compensation for all my Christmas food sins, Spanish) avocado’s, too. You know, my next move is to Spain. They have all these lovely things in December. I mean, what could we ever be without them? I will sin forever if I don’t move there. Sounds like a great plan, doesn’t it?

How local?
How about: anything but local? Ho ho ho, Merry Christmas!
My New Year’s resolution should be to cut the crap and scrap the avocado’s, or move to Spain and have my very own avocado orchard.