Friday, May 14, 2010

Reflections on Food

I'll admit it. I didn't have high expectations for Dutch cuisine prior to leaving for this trip, but I am happy to say I have been pleasantly surprised. Our dinner the other night was so incredible, I felt it needed an entry all its own. But that, of course, would be ridiculous. So I will tell about my experience with all food thus far on our journey.

First, the best kind of food is the kind that is free. Almost to the point that it doesn't even matter what it is. But luckily, all the free food we've been very, very lucky enough to receive has been outstanding. (I suppose I should put a disclaimer here, that I am a vegetarian. A pesca-tarian, if you will; that is, I eat fish but no other breathing animal. So my commentary on the nation's meat products will be nonexistent.)

Lunch usually consists of a cheese sandwich, milk, a fruit, and a small dessert. Meat sandwiches are also served with the cheese sandwiches. However, the two don't seem to mix. A sandwich is either meat or cheese. Keep it simple.

Dairy products are very important. I've been very happy each day that I am not a vegan. The cheese itself probably deserves it's own entry. It's creamy, satisfying, and diverse. There are entire stores dedicated to the sale of cheese.
There are also all sorts of pastries, some meat, some cheese, and all sorts of breads. I haven't even begun to explore this area of street food.

Coffee and tea are also an integral part of each day. This isn't so different than the American experience, but still important nonetheless. Especially since it's been so chilly, a warm cup of caffeine is certainly welcome.

I've already commented on pickled herring, but it deserves a revisit. I think it has potential. The next time I eat it, though, it will be wrapped in a bun or another buffer material so the texture isn't so shocking. But millions of taste buds can't be that far off, right?

Of course, I shouldn't be surprised about how excellent the food has been. The Netherlands is one of the leading agricultural nations in the world, and takes great pride in their creations. The land was created (in the beginning) for the sole purpose of creating food, perfected over centuries of cultivation and culination. We've only been here a week, but I'm loving the food so much I've also had to remember how much I love running. And yoga. And biking.

And a huge Thank You to the Florida Earth Foundation for allowing us to eat with you all week. The company, as well as the food, has been outstanding.

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