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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.

                1. re: jpc8015

                  Yes. As in the Nordic countries and Germany, these are a common Dutch treat. Smoked salmon, yum. Or aged cheese.

                  1. re: lagatta

                    The ones I ate in Amsterdam were now meat heavy at all. I don't recall there being any that had both meat and cheese. My favorite was an aged gouda with honey mustard on a nice whole grain bread.

                    1. re: jpc8015

                      Yes, I said OR, not AND. I've never had one with both meat (or fish) and cheese.

                      1. re: lagatta

                        I used to eat this every time I traveled through the airport in Amsterdam. I would order this and a half liter of beer...then another beer...then another.

                        I miss those days.


                2. Pancakes and more pancakes, with just about anything on them except maple syrup. (However, I was never sure if the Dutch actually eat pancakes themselves or just sell them to tourists!) Raw herring sprinkled with chopped onion. Chocolate jimmies sprinkled on buttered sliced white bread ( it's a breakfast food).

                  I've heard elsewhere that that book was really good, now I must read it.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Kat

                    They do eat them. And they were thrilled with my gift of a tin of maple syrup from Québec. Perhaps more for waffles there? (the Belgian kind).

                    They are thinner than American pancakes, but a little thicker than crêpes. Perhaps most like blintzes?

                  2. As far as I know, the Dutch eat a boiled kale with potato (and sausage, perhaps?) dish. I'm not clear on this, but have heard that they have a dish like this, that it is quite traditional. I know the Northern German version.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Wawsanham

                      It is called stampot in Dutch. Kale and potato boiled, and mashed together, often with other ingredients (my friends there add onion, garlic and olive oil, but that probably wasn't traditional) and serve this with a traditional smoked sausage called a rookworst. That would be Rauchwurst in German, but I don't know whether something named that exists in Germany (obviously, there are smoked sausages).

                      These were most commonly pork, or pork and beef, but nowadays there are also kosher and halal versions with no pork, and even vegetarian rookworst.

                      I also add some chopped parsley when I make it, to make it a more brilliant green than just the kale. It is not light or refined, but is satisfying in nasty cold weather, and kale is very nutritious.

                    2. A classic Dutch snack, and one I've rarely found in the US, is bitterballen, crispy little deep-fried balls with a creamy meat filling.


                      1. Since you've been under the weather and time is short, I suggest a trip to Trader Joe's if you have one. They have the stroopwafels and spekulaas cookies, and biscoff/spekulaas type cookie butters, the latter including one that's half chocolate. While you're at it, ask their very obliging staff if they have other Dutch items. Absent TJ's, you can find windmill cookies (Voortman's brand and others) in many supermarket chains.