“Mommy, what’s that?!”
For anyone reading this, it shouldn’t come as a big surprise that Dutch food has yet to sweep the globe. Although pockets of the Dutch can be found scattering the world, delectable Dutch cuisine never seemed to have caught on. “Fancy I pick up some Dutch food on the way home from work?” or “Wow, you have got to try this new Dutch restaurant in SoHo!” are phrases you will never hear uttered.
Isn’t it odd that a nation of traveling, colonizing, patriotic, emigrating folk never managed to sow their own culinary seeds? C’mon, who are we kidding?? Even those emigrated Dutch settlers were thrilled to have found tastier grub! Sure, New York was more than happy to take the Dutch names of Brooklyn (Breukelen), Harlem (Haarlem), Coney Island (from Konijneneiland) and Staten Island — but when it came to Dutch cuisine, they left it at the door (apart from the cheese)!
Dutch people have 3 very specific ways of preparing food/vegetables. Dutch people like to either:
a) mash the hell out of something,
b) boil the shit out of something, or
c) deep-fry the life out of something!
A Dutch person’s best friend
Today we will discuss a), Dutch people’s affinity for mashing. Dutch people love to mash; mash, mash, mash. Case in point, the beloved Stamppot. For those of you unaware of the stamppot, it actually combines 2 of the Dutch cooking specialties a) mashing and b) boiling. First you boil the shit out of various veggies (potatoes, carrots, etc.). Then you mash the hell out of all of them, throw a little sausage on the side, and voila, a perfect Dutch meal!
Ok, ok, now I’m just being cruel, there are many more Dutch dishes! What about the Zuurkoolstamppot (sauerkraut mashed with potatoes) or the Andijviestamppot (endive mashed with potatoes) or the Boerenkoolstamppot (cabbage mixed with mashed potatoes)?! Are you starting to see a pattern here?
The staying power of the stamppot is truly mind-boggling. The dish is said to be one of the oldest, and yet still one of the most popular Dutch dishes, originating in the early 1600s. (Hmm…is that why the Dutch are so tall?) Now, what was that expression… “the beauty of the past is that it is the past”.
For all my sneering at the good ol’ fashion stamppot, I will admit that on a cold, chilly, rainy, grey Amsterdam winter evening – a stamppot does seem to hit the spot. Truly ingeburgerd or lack of options? I haven’t quite figured that one out yet!