Cuisine in the Netherlands has long been a subject of criticism. The Dutch are often stereotyped as having a limited and bland culinary culture, with a preference for simple and mashed dishes. Foreign clients and colleagues have frequently commented on the specific tastes of “the Dutchies,” noting the lack of adventurousness in their cuisine.
For lunch, the Dutch typically opt for a sandwich with cheese, accompanied by an apple and a glass of milk. This meal is often consumed at their desks, as they continue to work. However, it’s important to note that the Dutch do enjoy food, and there are individuals who take pleasure in cooking and spending time in the kitchen.
The roots of Dutch cuisine can be traced back to the 19th century, a time when frugality became fashionable due to the loss of territories to England and the industrialization of the country. Housekeeping schools were established during this period, where girls were taught to cook simple, cheap, and quick meals. Experimentation with tastes, ingredients, and cooking methods was discouraged, leading to a decline in the adventurousness of Dutch culinary culture.
The influence of Calvinism, which became popular during the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century, also played a role in shaping Dutch cuisine. The Calvinist belief in simplicity and frugality influenced the way the Dutch approached food. Despite these constraints, the Dutch have managed to develop their own unique food styles, such as Babi Pangang, a dish that can only be found in the Netherlands.
While Dutch cuisine may not be renowned for its variety or complexity, it is important to recognize that the Netherlands has made contributions to the global culinary scene. The country’s multicultural society has led to the integration of various international cuisines, resulting in a diverse food landscape.
If you’re visiting the Netherlands this summer, don’t hesitate to try some of the local dishes. Babi Pangang, for example, is a popular Indonesian-inspired dish that has become a staple in Dutch cuisine. It consists of roasted pork served with a sweet and spicy sauce, typically accompanied by rice and vegetables.
In conclusion, while Dutch cuisine may have its limitations, it is unfair to dismiss it entirely. The historical and cultural factors that have shaped Dutch culinary culture should be taken into consideration. Additionally, the integration of international cuisines in the Netherlands has added a new dimension to the food scene. So, if you find yourself in the Netherlands, be sure to explore the local food offerings and discover the hidden gems of Dutch cuisine.