Food is an important element in understanding the culture of a country. What we eat reflects the importance of food in our life, our tastes and our history. I was looking forward to enjoying Dutch food with people from all over the world when I came to Wageningen.
illustration Henk van Ruitenbeek
One day, I decided to dive into Dutch cuisine. Usually, I cook Japanese dishes such as sushi and enjoy sharing them with my friends at potluck parties. However, since I have found that cooking another culture’s food is the best way to get a real feel for the culture, I organized a group dinner with my corridor mates, who are mostly Dutch. I suggested stamppot, the most popular meal in the Netherlands.
I also prepared green leaf salad because I couldn’t believe that stamppot alone could be the whole meal – neither in terms of quantity nor as a menu. This is not to criticize the Dutch-style supper, on the contrary! But in my country, Japan, nutrition experts and TV shows say that eating 30 different ingredients a day is ideal for health. I believed it because I never got to know a different food culture until I came to Wageningen.
My corridor mates from the Netherlands, however, think of a meal as consisting of three components: vegetables, carbohydrate and meat. Stamppot meets the criteria - vegetable: kale; carbohydrate: potato; meat: sausage. I had never imagined that three-ingredient meals existed! My dinner guests told me they had never ever eaten stamppot with salad before, but they thought it was healthy and good! I was surprised by the difference between the food cultures of the Netherlands and Japan, but I really appreciated their kind words and how they enjoyed the delicious stamppot. The stamppot and green leaf salad together on a plate seemed an expression of Dutch flexibility.
Konomu Fujita, a Social Sciences exchange student from Japan
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NL: Stamppot met sla
Volgens voedingsexperts in Japan bestaat een goede, gezonde maaltijd uit dertig verschillende ingrediënten. Toen Konomu Fujita, exchange student uit Japan, een bijdrage aan een potluck ging maken, bedacht hij dat het leuk zou zijn als hij een stamppot meenam: niets beters om cultuur echt te doorgronden dan ‘s lands keuken snel onder de knie krijgen. Om aan de dertig ingrediënten te komen, maakte hij er een salade bij. En dat leverde verbaasde blikken op...