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Dutch Habits

The people in the Netherlands have different "food habits" than people on the continent, in the United Kingdom or in the United States of America. This sounds probably a bit funny for such a small country. But it is a fact and you know the saying: "Do in Rome as the Romans do." Freely translated: When in Holland, eat as we so. May I give you a short description of the way we serve our meals?

For breakfast we have bread and butter, or open sandwiches with jam, cheese or "ontbijtkoek" (see recipe). We drink tea with it, or milk, maybe buttermilk. Sometimes we have a boiled egg and children may have a plateful of "pap."

At 10 o'clock we drink one or more cups of coffee with cream or milk and treat ourselves to piece of (buttered) "koek" or some "boterkoek" or cake, for extra festive occasions.

At lunchtime we have another bread and butter meal. Maybe some rolls are put on the table (krentenbroodjes, cadetjes, croissants) and Dutch rusks topped with cheese or jam. With it we have some meat: liver sausage or ham; maybe a fried egg or two or an omelette. When guests arrive we make a special hot dish like croquettes or macaroni cheese, or ham and cheese savory. Fruits finish off the meal with which we drink coffee, milk, buttermilk or cocoa.

At 3 o'clock it is teatime, a cup of tea and a biscuit is quite usual. For special occasions we produce fancy cakes, cookies or chocolates.

At 5 o'clock some people drink a "borrel" (Dutch gin), sometimes with a little snack.

At 6 o'clock it is dinner time. Our first hot meal, mainly consisting of: a hot entrée (soup) or a cold entrée, meat or fish with vegetables and potatoes, something a sweet or fruit to finish. Only on special occasions wine or beer is served. Coffee may be served after the meal, but is mostly not taken at the dinner table. (In some parts of the Netherlands the hot meal is served at midday and a bread and butter meal in the evening).

Tea or coffee
At 8 o'clock tea again with biscuits, some people prefer coffee. Cookies, cake or more elaborate baked sweet is offered, when we have company (visitors). Some people like to drink beer or wine or Dutch gin (jenever), maybe a liqueur or whisky later on. You see.... it is different. But you will certainly enjoy it when you are offered these things in the home of a Dutch family. Mind you, I have nothing against hotels but they do not serve you "real Dutch meals", as you would be served in a typical Dutch home.