Wet wet wet
Sure, I am Always Talkin’ Food, but I teach NT2 (Dutch as a second language) on the side. Mainly to young foreigners who came to Amsterdam for or with love. For privacy reasons the names in these columns are fictitious.
It hasn't rained for weeks, and the sun has spent an extreme number of hours right above our heads.
Yet every student in my Dutch class, without exception, is convinced that the Netherlands is a wet, cold and dark country.
That it always rains here.
Even as we sit on a terrace in the bright sunlight, they keep claiming this. “Met droge ogen” (with dry eyes), as we say in Dutch. Which means that you state something bluntly, when in fact you know better.
The huge amount of rainy days in my country is a truth that has long been superseded by climate change. Year after year the government is sounding the alarm about water shortages, when summer hasn’t even started.
This idea of constant rain is now as much a myth as that every Dutch person eats boiled potatoes with vegetables, meat and gravy at six o'clock in the evening. Or that we all walk on clogs and smoke weed. Or don't close the curtains at night.
Although the latter is indeed true.
In a writing exercise, the group has to explain what everyone had to get used to the most when they came to the Netherlands.
Susie doesn't have to think twice. She didn't necessarily have to get used to the Dutch food, nor to the notorious directness of the Dutch, or navigating her swap bike between the tram rails.
No, she as an Australian had to get used to the wet, gloomy and cold weather. What she has to do in order to keep her hairdo in shape!
Susie writes (in Dutch): ‘Holland almost always feels wet. The air is so wet that whenever I go outside, water droplets collect on my eyelashes.'
Okay, Susie wins. Poetry over truth.
Boiled potatoes - de gekookte aardappelen
Vegetables - de groenten
Meat - het vlees
Gravy - de jus
Dutch food - de Hollandse pot
When it comes to ice cream, Sicilians know what they’re doing. To prevent the substance from dripping on your clothes, they scoop it into a bun that absorbs all the moisture. Amsterdam bakery Fort Negen thought of something equally smart by putting its soft serve in a halved croissant. Which also happens to be one of the best in town.
Fort Negen, Jan Evertsenstraat 32 Amsterdam. Open: Monday-Saturday 8 AM-6 PM, Sunday 8:30 AM-4 PM.
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