Being Dutch (or half dutch) has it’s advantages. For starters, if you say you are Dutch, it instantly makes you cool. Try it – even if you aren’t Dutch, and you will notice people instantly associate you with dykes, windmills, legislated hash and prostitution. Awesome!
Having inherited some Dutch DNA has given me height, long legs, fair hair, olive skin, blue/green eyes and a metabolism that makes chocolate mousse a big ‘yes please’!
Also, thanks to Dads naturalisation and some freaky deaky Dutch legislation, it also means I have a passport that says ‘hello Europe’! Unfortunately for me, I can’t speak a word of Dutch, so when I flash my very cool passport at Schiphol Airport Immigration, I look pretty uncool when I can’t understand what they are saying. Never mind.
Funnily enough, I have picked up a few dutch friends over the years, and finally, the pinnacle of all my Dutchiness, was to meet and marry Tom, a bona-fide clog-wog (aka Dutchman).
So…back to food. The Dutch have some of the most boring cuisine on the planet. I read Dutch recipe books and yawn. Before they colonised Indonesia and picked up some spices, their best selling recipe book was ‘A million and one things you can do with a potato’. Ok…I joke, but it’s not far from the truth.
But when we move to the biscuit/cake department – they truely shine. I will blog my favourites over time (poffertjes, waffles, speculaas cookies, almond-filled cookies) but the pinnacle has to be Oliebollen (dutch doughnuts).
You can’t buy Oliebollen during the year in Holland – only at New Years. Yes, they are THAT special! You can imagine my glee when I discovered an entire van dedicated to them at my husbands town fair this year. I was so excited, I nearly passed out. But I pulled together quickly and using my 6 months worth of Dutch language training, managed to buy a dozen (thanks Carole Overmaat at CAE – see I did learn something from you afterall!).
I remember the first Oliebollen I ever had. It was at a Dutch festival, and I must have been about 8 years old. Up until then I hadn’t truly embraced my Dutchness. I thought Oma spoke weird and the Dutch accent wasn’t as sexy as a latino one, with all of its guttural sounds. Anyway, it was one of those life-changing experiences. I vividly remember these strange-shaped doughnuts with fruit and spices in them. They were totally yummy.
New years wouldn’t be the same without these things! If you don’t currently make them, or you aren’t Dutch, then do it anyway. You will need half a day to make them, and you will spend the rest of the day eating them. But what a way to see the new year in! Forget making resolutions you are never going to keep anyway. Start the year off with a cruchy, fruity, oily, sugary orb from the nether-lands.
I will post the recipe for these tomorrow!