I ate some terrible stuff in the Netherlands. Some of it tasty but super unhealthy, and some of it tasted terrible as well. The terrible tasting stuff was mostly food I had as a kid, when I had no choice. Ugh!
1. Frikandel: it’s supposed to be a kind of sausage, but it looks like a miniature horse’s penis and tastes awful. My mother cooked it in a pot of boiling butter, called jus, which she would use for about six months, for every kind of meat we ever had, before changing it out for new butter.
2. Witte spekjes: diced white bacon, in other words: pure, pure fat.
3. Half a smoked sausage from the Hema: delicious, but take one home and cut it into pieces and add it to dinner for 6.
4. Palingworst: sliced meat with lots of white fatty bits, tasty, but the Dutch are famous for sliced meats and there are plenty of healthier tasty alternatives.
5. Potatoes with “jus”: jus is pure melted butter, used like Americans use gravy.
6. Buttermilk: not typically Dutch, but that’s where I was first confronted with it.
7. Boterkoek: butter cake, nuff said.
8. Suikerbeest: sugar beast. It’s a St. Nicholas candy. It’s sugar with lots of coloring that’s put into old-fashion molds. The result is a sugar horse or a sugar sheep or such.
9. Klapstuk: big fat piece of boiled bacon with lots of fat. Traditionally eaten with hutspot, which is a stamppot with carrots and onions.
10. Cooked belgian endive (witlof). I love it raw in salads, but it’s so bitter when cooked the traditional way.
Are you American and have you been to Holland and eaten something really gross? Write a comment about the experience.
You are not saying that ALL of the above is gross?
And you forgot, the raw herring, or do you like to let them glide down your throat? Just an example for those of your readers who do not know what I mean by that: Go to this page and scroll down to about half way:
No, I’m saying all of the above are foods I will never eat again. Some are tasty, like palingworst. And herring definitely doesn’t belong on this list. It’s one of my favorite foods ever, and as soon as I get back, I’m going to down five of them each day!
I agree with Tony over on Facebook. The Dutch (compared to people in the US) have around 40-50% less heart disease and one-third the rate of obesity.
While the Dutch are certainly more active in their daily life, the US obesity epidemic has happened despite an explosion of health clubs and working out.
While exercise might have a 20% impact, it really is more about the USDA food pyramid that has never been supported by science. In the US, we need far more of the natural fat and protein-rich foods you mention above. We need to eat foods that our body is evolved to handle. We do much worse with all types of processed foods, sugars, and even ‘healthy whole grains.’ I am sure the Dutch are much better in these areas.
(Personal note – I went from 185 lbs to under 155 lbs after removing all bread, rice, and potatoes from my diet. I also have had improved lipid counts, and no more threats by the doctor to start blood pressure medication for pre-hypertension.)
Good information can be found here (and in a ton of other places 🙂 ):
Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis (wheatbellyblog.com)
Why We Get Fat by Gary Taubes
Sorry for such a long reply, but I have become interested in the demonization of fat as I have seen how eating more of it has resulted in such positive changes for me.
I hope all is well. Say hi to everyone!
Why don’t the Dutch have higher incidence of heart disease? (mentally scoot my comment to before Robb’s)
Because the Dutch walk and cycle all over the place. Also, the amounts of food consumed is a lot less. I was amazed when I moved here (because of you!), to find that fries are no more than plate filling to make a sandwich look like more in a restaurant. So an amount of fries that in Holland would be a meal, is only a “side” here to something else.
Regarding large portions. The last time I was in Canada we were closer to the US border and ordered a drink, we got ours in quirky glasses, that looked very much like one little gherkin pots! But come on, a drink of about a litre, plates as big as pizza platters, loaded with food, and they wonder where this ‘epidemic’ came from? And let me tell you the same obesity is also going around in the Netherlands, I’m now in NZ and there’s huge obesity here too, I’m not a smallish lady, but I’m just on the large side compared to some here.
I’ve started to eat about half the meals I normally eat, so I can afford to have a little on the side ‘to snack and nibble’, small meals in between so to say, seems to work better then any of the other diets I ever tried. Going down slowly, and hoping to prevent that darn Jo-jo effect!
Yep, diets don’t work.
I think it depends what you mean when you say ‘diet.’ I have often seen people say that a diet did not ‘work’ because while they did lose weight by changing something about the way they were eating, they gained it all back when returning to their old way of eating. Rather than placing blame squarely where it belongs (i.e., the original way of eating that caused the problem to begin with), they conclude that the diet did not work because the weight did not stay off.
For any ‘diet’ to work, it really needs to be a lifestyle change. I went through the yo-yo process for a number of years, but always ended up worse than where I started. Finally, 4.5 years ago, after reading Gary Taubes’ book, ‘Good Calories, Bad Calories,’ I made some permanent lifestyle changes that resulted in a no effort/no exercise loss of thirty pounds that I have had no difficulty keeping off. (Luckily, I caught it before I needed to lose even more, but that was thirty pounds that I gained in a mere twelve years. Good thing I did not stay on that track for another twelve or twenty-four years…)
The two books I mention in my prior message, Wheat Belly and Why We Get Fat, explain it all very well. While there is still so much we do not know and each person has somewhat unique genetics, these books are getting closer to some universal truths that should apply to how everyone eats, and they help dispel a lot of the misinformation that has been promulgated by the government and the medical community for the last fifty years.
I’d recommend the book: Burn the fat, feed the muscle by Tom Venuto. Full of real facts about food and working out.
Reading your food you will never eat (again) I see that most of them contain a lot of sugar? I love the ‘frikandel’ but only when bought at a snackbar like Febo. The way your mother made it with the melted butter does make it sound nasty LOL
HEMA-worst…well what can I say about that? I used to like it but I got one one time and it was disgusting. Guess I got all over the whole Hema-sausage thing…
I miss my herring! And nope, I don’t eat them whole but have them slice it up in pieces, with onions and pickles. They don;t have that here in the US. I did find some sort of pickled herring in a jar in a store here in the US but it is different than the Dutch “rolmops’. For one, it tastes like they use fake sugar like is used in diet drinks and I HATE that taste! So whenever I get a jar like that (can’t help it, have to eat it LOL) I rinse them off until that nasy taste is gone…
Witlof (Belgina endive) is really good when eaten raw in salads. I like it too when it is cooked, then rolled in ham and cheese and put in the oven. The ‘trick’ to make it taste less bitter is to take the inside of the root that is in the vegetable out.
One thing I have found that (most) Americans do not like is the Dutch liquorice. My Aunt had sent me some and I let my sister-in-law try it. She spit it out and asked me “Don’t tell me you have to PAY for that nasty stuff?!?!?!” and she didn’t even try the double salt variety LOL
I think most of the foods I never liked or no longer want are the super fatty foods. I know, I miss haring so much, too! I never cared for rolmops. I’ve had it occasionally here, just because it’s better than nothing. At least, that’s what I think when I buy it. . . There’s a place in NYC that sells real salt herring. I can’t wait for an excuse to go to NY again! ;-husband actually likes most licorice, which is too bad, because that means I have to share! 😉
Barbara, didn’t you forget to mention the famous Dutch “kroket”? Personally one of my Dutch all time favourites 😀
Precies, het is ook een van mijn favorieten, en die komt dus niet op m’n lijst van dingen die ik nooit meer zal eten. Ik ben nu al tien jaar niet meer in Nederland geweest, en als het nog veel langer duurt moet ik er heen, al is het alleen om een hoop kroketten te eten!
Oops, I didn’t realize I had switched to Dutch in my enthusiasm. Anyway, kroketten are absolutely wonderful and will never be on my list of things I’ll never eat again. I don’t care how unhealthy they are. 😉
What a fabulous and well-detailed list. One I shall keep at my side for my next visit across the pond. And although I think I’m really adventurous when it comes to eating new foods, I’m going to be haunted by that first picture and description for years to come. *shiver*
Ah yes, the horse’s dick. If you go to Scotland, let me know what spotted dick tastes like 😉
Like 80% of your stuff is not even dutch food and the frikandel you dont cook that in butter you fried it just like ya hot chips and chickenwings .. you really need to teast real dutch food that they make on the right way . And a suikerbeest we dont even have that or you must be meaning marsupein beest and then you probably had the really cheap shit ones 🙂
No, I mean suikerbeest. And my mother cooked the frikandel butter. What is the 80% that’s not Dutch? I’m curious.
Did you raise your children with any special dutch dishes, traditions, or holiday observances? Can your kids speak dutch?
hahaha Gotta love all those fatty meats! I think it may be a Belgian thing, but I found fricadellen met krieken to be bizarre. Giant meatballs smothered in sugary cherry jam, basically. It was one part of dinner with a whole lotta dessert, combining to create a broad feeling of remorse. Ah, memories.
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As a Dutchman and a gourmet I Am not really invited to comment but… One should appreciate all tastes, sweet, sour, umami and don’t forget bitter. The food industry caters for a common denominator that appreciates only sweet products. That is why so much sugar and corn syrup is added to our food with the inevitable result of a childish American menu and an epidemic of tooth decay, obesity and diabetes. All of them prevailing in the Americans that sold rubbish called fast food all over the world… Some of the food that has been mentioned here is food that no sane Dutchman would ever touch but do not forget that a decent Dutch meal is built around the vegetables. Once the vegetables have been chosen typically an ounce of meat or fish and potatoes, rice or pasta are added. Therefore it is a healthy lifestyle. As a tourist one is confronted with convenience food, food for drunk young people in the inner city and snacks, but that is not the typical Dutch cuisine. Faithfully yours, Robert Prummel, Groningen the Netherlands.
Hi Robert, yes, thanks for pointing out that the foods I mention are not “typical Dutch cuisine”. Just random stuff I used to eat when I lived in Holland but that I have no desire to ever eat again.
Excuse me for indirectly insulting your mother, but no sane Dutch person would fry a frikandel like that. im a vegetarian myself so I don’t care about eating them anyway, but when you do you’re supposed to fry them in normal oil, as you would with fries and other more common stuff.
No worries, Myrte! Like you said, no sane person would…
I was looking for terrible dutch dishes since some friends told me of philipine balut. Then I saw your post. And had to respond to ‘jus’ / gravy
Proper grayvy is only like 10% butter, it should mostly be moist from the meat you baked it in (so basically blood) and therefor really salty. If you get fake gravy, then yeah it’s going to be super buttery, but real fresh gravy is a tiny bit of butter in which you start making meat.. then with the meat moist/blood you add a bit of water and you get gravy. When you take out gravy to put on your food you take a scoop and twirl the spoon around tossing most of the fat that’s floating a top, back into the pan, so that basically you’re eating cooked blood with water.. Not butter. Trust me that’s waay better then the butter versions that you should not eat at all.
Dutch food is simple and rather bland. The big exception being their world-class cheeses. Their cuisine is heavy; based on meat and potatoes and starches. A lot of smoked and fried foods and boiled vegetables. If you go to the Netherlands, you can find decent and basic food (not great),that can be pleasing. However, to live there and eat it all the time would be horrid ! It definitely is not a world-renowned cuisine. Who even ever heard of a “Dutch Restaurant” outside of Holland ? It definitely lacks the flavor, sophistication and diversity of fine Italian or French cuisines, for sure !