Monday, October 13, 2008

The hunt for everyday food

We’ve been trying Dutch food regularly. Cheese is a staple, and we’ve sampled various kinds from the grocery stores, cheese stores, and cheese booths at different markets. Lately we’re favoring one of the cheese booths at the nearest market, which is only held on Wednesdays. The woman who runs it is very nice (she always gives us a taste before we buy), and she understands my Dutch. We’ve been experimenting with the various degrees of aging that is offered for Gouda-style boerenkaas to find our favorite. If you want to know more about boerenkaas, you can check out this brochure in English.

I’ve been introducing John to typically Dutch things to put the cheese (and other sandwich fillers) on. So far, he isn’t crazy about the Friesian roggebrood (a kind of pumpernickel), but he does like the cracker bread, especially when we can find it with sesame seeds. We’ve also been trying various kinds of bread, but we aren’t finding the bread from the stores as good as I remembered.

Of course, there’s also Dutch licorice in myriad varieties. I like the typical salty licorice. (It’s an acquired taste.) When I could find it in the States, I always bought the double-salted kind. Saturday at the market I bought my first DZ here (DZ stands for dubbel zout, which means double salt). Wow! When it’s this fresh, I think single salt will be enough for me. John has been trying varieties of sweet licorice, and Sjoerd has contributed a couple of standard types to John’s experience.

Some things that we haven’t found here, which were staples at home, are ham hocks, regular mozzarella (fresh is available), canned stock, and plain pizza crusts. John makes pizza dough, but not often since we haven’t found the right pizza cheese. He’s also been making homemade stock, but that's time consuming and adds a lot of humidity to the boat, something we really don't need here. For a long time we couldn’t find popcorn, but I spotted it in the market yesterday when we were looking for something else, so we have plenty of that now.

There are so many good things to eat here. It really isn’t a problem if we can’t find what we’re looking for. We just eat something else.

The photo is from somewhere on the Internet. It's of a cheese stand at the organic farmers' market that's held near here on Saturdays. John didn't have a photo of a kaasboer (cheese vendor).

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