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May 8, 2014 05:56 AM

Dutch food for book club meeting??

My book club just read "The Dinner," by Herman Koch. The book (very good, by the way, and a bit disturbing) is structured around a fancy dinner in an expensive restaurant in The Netherlands.

For our book club meeting, we're all bringing related dishes. I just got over being sick, so I'm not sure I have time to cook (the group meets tonight). Any ideas on something I can pick up to bring that's vaguely Dutch? All I can come up with is Gouda or Edam cheese, and maybe pickled herring. Any other thoughts?

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  1. Can you think of any of the dishes composing the fancy dinner?

    Dutch cooking is usually rather down to earth. Do make a Dutch apple cake or apple pancake.

    There is very good aged gouda. By the sea, lots of fish, not just herring.

    Remember that the Dutch also eat the spicy foods of their former (huge) colony, which is now Indonesia, as people in Britain eat Indian food.

    3 Replies
    1. re: lagatta

      Indonesia food is indeed very widespread in the Netherlands. Maybe you could find a jarred peanut sauce to serve with veggies? Green pea soup....not a great warm weather dish. They also love asparagus, so a prepared asparagus dish?

      Don't know if you drink alcohol at your book club, but gin...genever...originated there and is popular.

      1. re: lagatta

        I love aged gouda, especially the older ones, when you get that lovely crystallization and rich, caramel-ly flavor. And I thought of herring because I know I can get good pickled herring in sour cream at my local deli! (Maybe not Dutch style, but it's in the ballpark...)

        I do love Indonesian food. Used to be a place in NYC that I'd go to.

        In the book the dishes in the restaurant were the type of haute cuisine found all over, with vast expanses of empty plate showcasing tiny bits of fussy food, as opposed to anything typical or unique to Dutch cuisine.

        Thanks so much for your reply!

        1. re: pixellle

          There is a wonderful aged gouda called Prima Donna.

      2. Hi Pixelle,

        A restaurant/inn near me, The Andover Inn, used to have an innkeeper who was Dutch. A dish like this was served every year during their "White Asparagus Festival". It was lovely.

        1. Windmill cookies... the name escapes me just now but they're delicious. From visiting a Dutch supermarket I can tell you they also LOVE licorice (the stronger the better), cinnamon (candies and sticks), and gingerbread. Not sure if any of this helps you but maybe you could stop at the supermarket and make up a 'sampler plate'.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Kajikit

            spekulatius, or variations thereof, are the windmill cookies

            The other thing I recall as another poster noted was the prevalence of the Indonesian rijstafel restaurants. That might be fun for a group as it involves rice and a lot of do-it-yourself condiments

          2. Vanilla slice (tompouce) with pink frosting, stroopwafels, speculoos spread or just the windmill cookies would be typical Dutch desserts that should be easy to source. If you opt for cheese, don't forget there is more to Holland than Gouda and Edam. Roomano, Limburger, Parrano and Leerdammer would all make for a generous cheese platter.

            1. Hagelslag! Basically chocolate jimmies, but made of REAL chocolate. May be a little hard to come by but you could buy crappy chocolate jimmies and pretend. Serve on buttered white bread.

              Genever! Amstel light! Heineken!

              The white asparagus someone else mentioned, too.