Sure, I am Always Talkin’ Food, but I work as a volunteer Dutch language teacher for Ukrainian refugees on the side. For privacy reasons the names in these columns are fictitious.
The last lesson before the summer break is an emotional rollercoaster. Because of the resurging Covid-19, I advise everybody to sit a bit further apart from each other. Even though we all feel the need to huddle on this, for the time being, last morning together.
Then there are sweet presents for me, the teacher. Some even homemade.
And if that weren’t enough, an unknown Dutchman comes barging in to give my students some spontaneous emotional support, which impresses them all.
Nevertheless we try to get on with the lesson. And since it’s the last, everyone prepared something in advance.
A task all have taken very seriously. Google Translate has clearly been working overtime.
Maria covers telling the time by using her grandchild's toy clock. The Dutch way of klokkijken remains an insurmountable obstacle.
Timur gives a theoretical mini lecture on Dutch verbs. The internet taught him that "soft ketchup", a mnemonic to ascertain the endings of a regular Dutch verb in the past participle, was officially incorporated into Dutch law in 1994. (who knew?)
Natasha addresses food ingredients, after which she asks which ones Maria uses to make Olivier salad.
Originally, this "Russian salad” was created around 1860 by chef Lucien Olivier for the Hermitage restaurant in Moscow. Among the ingredients were veal tongue, stew caviar, pickles, eggs, fresh lettuce, and a mayonnaise-based sauce.
The first mention in a cookbook, though very simplified, was somewhere at the end of the nineteen hundreds. By then the caviar had been replaced by potatoes, and also the fresh lettuce was gone.
Olivier is very popular in Ukraine. Only yesterday Maria happened to make another five liters for her daughters and grandchildren with whom she now resides in Amsterdam. It is filled to the rim with potatoes, carrots, peas, meat, eggs and mayonnaise.
Pure heimweevoer, food for the homesick.
Just what everyone needs now.
Pickles - de augurken
Lettuce - de sla
Egg - het ei
Carrot - de wortel
Pea - de erwt
(actually her mother’s)
”1) I boil beef without veins, plus chicken thighs or legs (in no case fillet). My mother always says: ‘Olivier without meat is just a salad’.
I sometimes add ham or sausage, depending on my mood. I boil the meat for 1-1.5 hours. Then I cool it and chop it very finely - the smaller the better.
2) I boil in one pan: a couple of potatoes in the peel, some unpeeled carrots and 2 to 4 eggs. I boil them for about half an hour, concentrating on the potatoes. They must be cooked, but not fall apart. Then I cool everything down, clean it and cut it into squares.
3) Put in a bowl: the sliced meat, chopped potatoes, carrots and eggs, plus everything to your taste. Be it boiled peas, fresh cucumbers, pickles from a jar, red and green onions, or fresh dill. But in any case mayonnaise. Stir, and add salt and black pepper to taste.
Keep the Olivier in the fridge for at least an hour before serving.”
Don’t want to make it yourself? You can order Olivje salad at:
Sunny Side, Prinsengracht 158H Amsterdam.
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