I'm a Dutch engineering student, male and in my late 20s. My hobbies include those normal for my particular demographic, such as gaming and programming, but more unusually, it also includes horse riding and cooking. One thing I especially enjoy is trying recipes from other cultures. Usually, I succeed in finding good blogs where I get those recipes straight from a native of that particular country.
One of my biggest put-offs when looking for a recipe is people overly complicating dishes or adding all kinds of touches on their own. When I want to taste foreign food, I want to eat it like the people themselves eat it, not how some Michelin star chef improved on it. A second thing that I dislike, is when recipes feature ingredients not commonly available in the average Dutch supermarket. It might well be that a dish really needs a pinch of Herbus Whateverus, but if I can't get it where I live, I'm not making it.
When I was looking for a Dutch recipe lately, it occurred to me that I wasn't able to find any English-language blog of the type that I'd like. Therefore, as a payback for all the great recipes I've found on countless other blogs, I've decided to start my own recipe blog as well.
Here, you'll find only traditional dishes made according to traditional recipes, many of which are from my grandmother's or aunt's cooking diary. I will try to choose recipes that don't require specifically Dutch ingredients; if that can't be avoided I will provide suitable alternatives.
The very definition of a "traditional" recipe makes that the recipes are in the public domain. You are therefore free to edit and publish each recipe as you see fit. The exact text (descriptions, recipe steps etc.) and photos however do fall under my intellectual property, and are provided under a CC-BY 4.0 license. You can therefore use them in any way you like without asking prior permission, as long as you give me proper credits.
Dutch cuisine is shaped both by its geography and culture. The Netherlands is a rather narrow country with a long coastline, which not only stimulated the fishing industry, but also helped in establishing a global trading empire. Meanwhile, the Rhine delta provides fertile lands for growing fruit and vegetables (we're the No. 2 exporter of agricultural products in the world, after only the USA). The peatlands in the north and west give excellent opportunities for raising cattle, resulting in such world-famous products as Gouda (pronounce gow-dah) cheese.
On the cultural side, the Netherlands have ever since our independence from Spain in 1581 had a powerful burgher class. This created a comparative absence of high culture, which is quite visible in our cuisine. Food rich in carbohydrates and fat would provide workers with the necessary calories, while dishes often consisted of simple vegetable mashes that could be left on the stove while working. Bread is eaten twice a day, with only dinner served warm (historically, sometimes lunch was served warm to provide workers with some extra energy for the afternoon, with breakfast and dinner consisting of bread).
When during the Dutch Golden Age an abundance of spices entered the Dutch ports, the resulting price drop gave rise to such well-spiced cookies as speculaas and pepernoten. Meanwhile, by around 1800 the potato had become a staple food, which replaced other root vegetables in the medieval-style vegetable mashes, creating the new stamppot class of dishes.
Some typical dishes
- Haringsalade exemplifies the rich Dutch fishing industry, which turned herring into an affordable source of fish across the country.
- Boerenkoolstamppot is a classic stamppot dish. Delicious in its simplicity, it shows how potatoes provided a cheap yet nutritious meal.
- Speculaas is a kind of shortbread that originated in the 1600-1700s and is a great example of what the influx of cheap spices in the Dutch Golden Age made possible.
- Sla met Karnemelksaus is a typical farmers' meal from the eastern Netherlands with fresh vegetables, cheap potatoes, dairy and fatty meat for some quick calories.