Amsterdam

Dutch cuisine

more than a year ago

The most popular Dutch cookbook in the 19th century was called Aaltje, die volmaakte en zuinige keukenmeid, (Aaltje, the perfect, frugal kitchen maid). While this book wasn't quite as frugal as its title, it set the tone for what was to follow. Towards the turn of the 20th century, the trend was to send Dutch girls to huishoudschool (a kind of domestic science school). Here efficiency was drilled into them. Needless to say, all the passion went out of Dutch cooking at that point and many traditional family recipes were lost.

While it's true that meat and two veggies are considered the holy trinity of their cooking, the Dutch have a rather healthy diet compared to other Western nations. Many Dutch meals rely heavily on vegetables and legumes. Moreover, Dutch cooking is straight-forward, easy to make, cheap and nutritious, so it ain't all bad. Of course, we're not talking about deep-fried frikandel here.

Luckily, the tide is finally turning. Many Dutch chefs are rediscovering traditional dishes and local ingredients and giving them their own twist. There are also so many Dutch TV cooking shows nowadays that it's almost irritating. All of these developments are a clear sign that people are starting to become interested again in the Netherlands' lost culinary history and are exploring the abundance of local and regional dishes.

Brown bean soup

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