The Daily Eating Pattern of the Dutch: Round the Clock

The Daily Eating Pattern of the Dutch: Round the Clock

When in Holland, eat like the Dutch!

All that cycling, the traditional mode of transport in Holland, creates a healthy appetite. The bicycle, combined with the unpredictable Dutch weather, heavily influenced Dutch cuisine, which offers substantial, simple, and straight-forward fare.

Dutch cuisine as we know it is based on a long tradition. This is true of both the recipes themselves, and the combinations in which they are eaten. It is of course logical that a country will mainly use the products that are either plentifully available or easy to manufacture in its cookery.

The Netherlands has a rich farming tradition - and this is reflected in its cookery. Dairy, grain and meat products form the basic ingredients, while abundant use is made of fruit and vegetables. Fish also plays an important role. The Dutch have always had a great affinity with the sea - and they like to find its products on their tables.

Dutch cookery has also been influenced by the recipes and ingredients introduced by the country's immigrants. Indonesian cookery in particular has left its mark on the eating habits of the Dutch. Nowadays, thanks to greatly improved transport methods, a whole range of exotic vegetables, fruit, fresh herbs and spices can be found in the shops.

What does the "average" Dutchman like to eat? Taste, is of course, purely personal, but, generally speaking, the Dutch love to eat sweet things. Most Dutch cookery books contain at least one section with recipes for sweet snacks. Drop, for example, is a typical Dutch sweet. Made of liquorice, salt, sugar and flavourings of various types, these sweets are available in an enormous variety of flavours, shapes and colours. In addition to the "regular" dishes, there are a great number of speciality foods and drinks which are traditionally served on special occasions. To celebrate the arrival of a new baby, for example, the proud father will usually serve rusks decorated with pink or blue liquorice-flavoured vermicelli - muisjes - while oranjebitter, a liqueur, is drunk to celebrate the Queen's official birthday (30 April).

People generally eat three meals a day, one of which is a hot meal. We have attempted below to give a rough idea of what the average Dutchman will eat and drink on an average day. Though it is by no means exhaustive, it does attempt to illustrate the variety of Dutch cookery.

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