My web site focuses on my heritage and some of the traditions from the "good old country".  I do not pretend to be an "authority" on Dutch traditions and the information contained herein, especially my recipes, are based on my personal experiences and background.  I have lived in the United States since six years so my memories of Holland are quite alive.



I was born and raised in The Netherlands, a country in northern Europe. The official name is Kingdom of the Netherlands. We are a very small country. If you would like to find out more about my country,  click on the link above or visit CIA's "World Factbook" which is a wonderful source for demographic information.

The Dutch are very traditional people.  There are many special dishes we prepare for special occasions.  For example, our tradition of gift giving for the (Christmas) holiday is associated with Saint Nicholas’ birthday (December 6). Saint Nicholas or "Sinterklaas" as we Dutch call him, is known in America as Santa Claus.  Our tradition has Santa dressed in red robes, similar to the robes worn by Catholic bishops, and riding on a white horse.   On his birthday we drink hot chocolate milk and eat speculaas, a very special sort of cookies.  In anticipation of Sinterklaas’ arrival, children usually place a carrot and a drink for the horse besides their shoes.  Sinterklaas, in exchange, leaves gifts in the children’s shoes.  Sinterklaas also rides in parades and his helper, known as Zwarte Pete (the black Pete), throws small pieces of pepernoten (gingerbread candy) to the children.

Gifts said to come from Sinterkaas are exchanged on the evening before Saint Nicholas's Day.  Gifts are wrapped to disguise the contents, and traditionally each member of the family prepares an amusing poem about the recipient(s), that is recited as the gifts are handed out.  

We do not have any one particular Christmas dish, however, we usually bake the famous Dutch Christmas cookies known as  a Christmas ring, called Kerstkrans. 

On December 31st, every Dutchman eats Oliebollen (a sort of  doughnuts).  A New Year’s Eve without them would be unthinkable! 

Those are just a few of our traditional Dutch treats.  But how about some real food?  

A typical Dutch breakfast consists of any of the following: cereal, bread, cheese, sliced cold meats, fruit juice, and coffee or tea. Multigrain and other dark-grain breads are among the most popular varieties of bread. Most people, especially children, eat something sweet on their bread for breakfast or lunch; typical is Hagelslag (chocolate "sprinkles") or chocolate spread. Children often eat hot cereal at breakfast. Krentenbroodjes (currant buns) are a favorite as well. 

For lunch, many people eat open-faced sandwiches, or a kroket (a deep-fried croquette).  Popular snacks include Patat, (French fries) which are usually eaten with mayonnaise, not ketchup, stroopwafels (syrup waffles), poffertjes (small puffed pancakes served on special occasions). 

The main meal, however, is usually dinner. The traditional Dutch dish is very basic with lots of potatoes and vegetables, most of it cooked in butter.  One of my favorite recipes is Hutspot (mashed potatoes mixed with carrots and onions), which is very easy to prepare.  What I especially like about Hutspot is that it tastes even better the next day.  Some of the other typical Dutch dishes include raw herring (nieuwe haring), smoked eel (gerookte paling) and brown pea soup (bruine bonen soep). 

Pastries are another Dutch specialty. Restaurants in the larger towns offer a wide variety of cuisines, and Indonesian food has become an established part of the Dutch national cuisine. 

It is appropriate to say “Eet smakelijk” to all present at the dinner table, which translates to "enjoy your dinner".  It is considered bad manners to rest your elbows on the table or to put your hands on your lap, but it is perfectly acceptable to rest one’s forearms on the table.  Even children are expected to stay at the table until all participants have finished eating. It is considered inappropriate to eat with a fork only, and forks are not provided for eating dessert, just a small spoon. 

Enjoy the Dutch cooking and please let me know how it tasted and if you have favorite recipes that you would like me to put on this page, feel free to submit these to me.  My e-mail address is: monique@arcaini.com .  Who knows, this might even turn into an International Cooking page!

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Some Links


Dutch Recipes

Erwtensoep

.Hutspot

Kerstkrans

Kerstkransjes

Oliebollen

Pepernoten

Speculaas

Karnemelkse Pap

Karnemelkse Soup


The Netherlands

Kingdom

Her Majesty

Amsterdam

Aruba

Neth. Antilles

Rotterdam

The Hague