You often hear that you get to know a country by eating its traditional food. In the case of the Netherlands, this results in a simple list of no more than 20 items. Go to any market and eat stroopwafels, haring or kibbeling, or maybe wait for a cold winter night to eat any variation of stamppot, oliebollen and pepernoten. However, what caught my attention most was the intimate relationship between the average Dutch person and bread. Yes. Bread.
Brood is the main component of the fast, efficient and cheap diet of these ever-hurrying creatures. Never mind the time or the weather, you can often see them with a bag of bread and something to put on it – hummus, kip-joppie, potato salad, or the infamous hagelslag. During class, riding a bike, on a boat, it really doesn’t matter.
The only thing that matters is that the bread is ‘fresh’. And to combine this freshness with Dutch efficiency and avoid having to go to the store every day, the Dutch commit the sacrilege of keeping their bread in the freezer. Yes! You read it right, the freezer! They say it’s just a matter of seconds in the toaster and, ‘while I eat one slice the other defrosts.’
Of course I don’t blame them. They just don’t know any better. They say that for me to get the Dutch seal of approval I’ll need to put my bread in the freezer too. Let’s see how long I can withstand this pressure in a corridor full of these amazing creatures.
Juan Camilo Arias, MSc student of Animal Sciences, from Colombia
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