When it’s dinnertime, the choice of food in Holland is as varied as the weather. Restaurants representing Holland’s multicultural backgrounds have mushroomed all over, ranging from French to Indonesian to Thai to Pakistani. However, in Dutch homes old traditions die hard and the simple, substantial meals of potatoes, fresh vegetables, meat, chicken, fish or salad, followed by a milk-based dessert, are still favorite. If you ask a Dutch man or woman what is being served for dinner, They will first mention the vegetable being served. The meat, fish or chicken takes second place.
The first course often consists of fish, sometimes in combination with vegetables or fruit, but meat-based dishes are also popular. Soup is also a favourite, especially vegetable soup and tomato soup.
The main course no longer consists of the traditional combination of boiled potatoes, meat and vegetables. The menu has become much more international, with Indonesian, Italian, Chinese and many other foreign dishes being served. Foreign ingredients are often added to traditional Dutch recipes, and surprising combinations result.
The final course usually consists of a pudding - a part of the meal of which the Dutch are inordinately fond, if the almost inexhaustible list of recipes for milk puddings, cakes and pancakes is anything to go by. Coffee is served after dinner, often accompanied by a chocolate or a peppermint, and sometimes by liqueurs or brandy.
It will be quite obvious from all this that the Dutch enjoy a wide variety of foods. While foreign influences are evident, there are still a number of typically Dutch recipes, such as boerenkool (kale with smoked sausage), and hutspot (mashed carrots, onions and potatoes) which are virtually unknown in other countries.
After dinner, the Dutch enjoy a cup of coffee or tea. In fact, if you are invited to someone’s home after dinner, you’ll first be served coffee or tea with a piece of cake or pie. This is followed by a drink. Visiting friends and family in each other’s homes is part of traditional, fine Dutch hospitality. It’s a way of life.
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