HISTORYTraditionally, the Dutch cuisine consisted of simple food such as bread and herring. Their poverty played a huge role in modifying their cuisines. They consumed foods that were filling yet cheap. In the 18th century people started eating potatoes which became their staple food by 1800. In the early 1800s, while the rich afford what they desired, the working population ate bread and potatoes. In some areas, pancakes, fish and other seafood were consumed along with fruits and vegetables and a little meat. Since potatoes were grown on a large scale; they were eaten at almost every meal. Boiled and pealed for the main course during lunch and warmed and mashed for dinner. The leftovers were served for breakfast with salt, sometimes vinegar, but without gravy or any other fat. Generally, gravy was served during lunch or dinner. Since it was the food of the poor, it wasn’t very lavish but was filling and tasty. Its simplicity was its USP. During the nineteenth century, whatever the people drank was more or less watery, which meant that they consumed poor quality beverages with a lot of water in it. In few areas hot chocolate was consumed but beer and Jenever were the most famous drinks in the country. For most of the century beer was drunk in the southern part. This beer was top-fermented and of terrible quality; not until the 1880s did German-style bottom-fermented pilsner enter the Dutch market. Jenever consumption early in the nineteenth century was twice that of the equivalent. FOOD
BREAKFAST AND LUNCH
Breakfast and lunch are similar in Dutch Cuisine. Both consist of bread with a wide variety of cold cuts, cheeses and sweet toppings; such as Hagel slag, vlokken and muisjes. The Dutch are known for their dairy products and specially cheeses. Edam, Gouda, Leerdammer, Leyden, Limburger, Maaslander, Maasdam, Mimolette, Parrano, Roomano, Vlaskaas and Prima Donna are a number of cheeses that are consumed in this nation. Dutch bread tends to be very airy, as it is made from yeast dough. Additional seeds such as sunflower or pumpkin seeds often mixed with the dough for taste. A Frisian luxury version of white bread is suikerbrood, white bread with large lumps of sugar mixed with the dough. Kerststol is a traditional Dutch Christmas bread made of bread dough with sugar, dried fruits, raisins and currants and lemon and orange zest, eaten sliced, spread with butter. The Dutch produce a wide variety of breads.
Dutch people invite friends over for koffietijd (coffee time), which consists of coffee and cake or a biscuit, served between 10 and 11 a. m. (before lunch) and/or between 7 and 8 p. m. (after dinner). The Dutch drink coffee and tea throughout the day, often served with a single biscuit. Dutch thrift led to the famous standard rule of only one cookie with each cup of coffee. It has been suggested that the reasons for this can be found in the Protestant mentality and upbringing in the northern Netherlands.Café au lait is also very common. It is called koffie verkeerd (literally “wrong coffee”) and consists of equal parts black coffee and hot milk. The Dutch drink tea without milk and the tea is quite a lot weaker than the typical English types of tea which are taken with milk. Other hot drinks used to include warm lemonade, called kwast (hot water with lemon juice), and anijsmelk (hot milk with aniseed).
You will not find many vegetarians over there and thus consumption of meat is common. Dinner is generally served early that starts around or even before 6 o’clock in the evening. The Dutch dinner consists of one simple course: potatoes, meat and vegetables. Traditionally potatoes with a large portion of vegetables and a small portion of meat with gravy, or a potato and vegetable stew are served. A typical traditional Dutch dinner would include stamppot (Dutch mashed potato mixed with other mashed vegetables) and pea soup.. Vegetable stews served as side dishes are for example rodekool met appeltjes (red cabbage with apples), or rode bieten (beetroot). Regular spices used in stews of this kind may be bay leaves, juniper berries, cloves, and vinegar, although strong spices are generally used sparingly. Stews are often served with pickles, including augurken (gherkins) or cocktail onions (zilveruitjes). The Dutch food is rarely hot or spicy. They prefer eating boiled food over fried ones.
Cooking special food during special occasions is not something that only the Dutch follow. A variety of food is cooked at different occasions. The birth of a child is an occasion for serving beschuit met muisjes (Dutch rusk covered with sugared aniseed). The Dutch celebrate a festival of Sinterklaas is held on 5 December. On this occasion, the Dutch drink hot chocolate milk and eat spice cookies, like speculaas. Christmas dinner is also a family occasion where roast pork, game or other luxury meat may be served. An alternative typical Dutch tradition for Christmas meals is ‘gourmet’, when people sit together around a gourmet-set (small table top cooking stove with miniature frying pans) and use their own small frying pans to cook different types of meats, fish prawns/shrimps and finely chopped vegetables accompanied by salads, fruits and sauces. A famous Dutch sweet is zoute drop, (lit. “salty liquorice”) and other liquorice sweets. These sweets are small, black and look much like gums. The four types of drop are soft sweet, soft salt, hard sweet and hard salt drop. It is said that Dutch settlers introduced the cookie to North America. In fact, even the word ‘cookie’ comes from the Dutch ‘koekje’.