But that's okay. We've gone from sheer opulence during the Golden Age where our cuisine was predominantly influenced by the French, to a practically austere kitchen as part of the Protestant and Calvinist ideology. Food was not to be a source of pleasure, of identity or joy, but was meant for simple sustenance. I personally believe it allowed us to focus on other areas where we could contribute in a different way: science, literature, travel, music, technology......
Still, throughout the ages, in country kitchens, in humble homes, we have ultimately managed to create a kitchen that defines us, and that has become part of our identity. We've gathered a wealth of regional products and produce that is unique to our country and slowly but surely, we're learning to enjoy it and to add it back into our culinary repertoire. Most importantly, we're allowing ourselves to be proud of it, and that is saying something.
Last year, I contacted the National Bureau for Tourism and Conferences in The Netherlands. Their website, www.holland.com is the main site for world travelers to learn about our country, our national treasures, habits and history. People all over the world use it to plan trips, pick out sites to see or simply travel to our beautiful country from the comfort of their own home. I praised them on every aspect of the site, but then asked them why they were not spending any space on Dutch recipes, on Dutch cooking and on our local cuisines. I offered to write for them, they accepted, and the first series on recipes and short introductions is now live:
Excited? You bet! Proud? Quite! I have been on this quest to bring more focus and attention to the Dutch cuisine, and I feel that this is another great step in the right direction. Time to celebrate!