For thousands of years by other cultures influence what we eat. How is the Dutch food culture come from? Before we dive back in time.
“People often have a wrong image of the Dutch kitchen. Potato dishes we eat, for example, only a few hundred years, and in addition, the Netherlands was only in 1648 internationally as a sovereign state recognised”, says Jon Verriet, cultural historian at the Radboud University.
What people ate in the iron age we know through archaeology. In the area of what is now the Netherlands call it, are bones found of calves, pigs, sheep and goats. Also in the stomach contents of well-preserved bog bodies are many products such as grains, berries, beans, tubers and herbs as schapenzuring, berenklauw and camelina sativa.
The Romans brought in 1000 Bc all kinds of products, including chicken, apples, pears, bread and wine. Also, there are from that time remains have been found of products that are not able to grow. “In archaeological excavations from that time are stone fruit almonds, olijvenpitten and dadelpitten found,” says historian and founder of a historic eetatelier Manon Henzen.
Exchange of tomatoes and tobacco
After Columbus in 1492 contact laid between Europe and America was an extensive exchange of landbouwrassen between the Old world and the New. This was the Colombian exchange called. Tomatoes, potatoes, green beans, chili, corn, tobacco, and cacao were added to our diet is added.
The products that we are now quite normal, but they only came after that period in our area. “At that time, dared the people, the potato is still not eating, because parts of the plant is toxic. Not until the eighteenth century, the tuber is used in the kitchen,” explains Verriet.
“In the past dared to people that the potato is not to eat.”
Jon Verriet, cultural historian
In that time people had not imagined that the Netherlands later became one of the largest exporters of tomatoes, cucumbers and bell peppers would be.
Affordable coffee, tea and cane sugar
The United East-Indian Company (VOC) brought around the seventeenth century, coffee, tea, sugar cane and all kinds of spices. It included pepper, clove, nutmeg and cinnamon. All of these products were already present in our area, but by the trade of the VOC more affordable for the middle class. Previously, these treasures are only found in the kitchens of wealthy citizens.
The success of the Dutch trade brought a lot of culinary influences from the outside. In the time of the VOC was the Dutch east Indian kitchen. The Indonesian rice table, for example, a European invention. The Dutch talent for acting made it so, actually for that the kitchen is more varied.
But it is unclear what happens to these products was made. “Unfortunately, many annotations of recipes for that time disappeared”, says Jacques Meerman, author of historical cookbooks. The first Dutch-language cookbook comes from Brussels, and dates back to the year 1514. Meerman: “In this cookbook are at least a third of the recipes of French origin. It was also quite normal that recipes from the English, French or Italian cuisine were translated and transcribed.”
Jan-in-the pocket is a recipe from the nineteenth century, which is suspect is Dutch. In this recipe is the bread in the oven, but slowly cooked in a pan with boiling water.
Difference between poor and rich
There exists since a long long time a large difference between the menu of the rich and the poor. Verriet: “the Poor people were often forced to become a vegetarian. On some days they ate poor people three times a day, cereal or potatoes.”
Meat was saved for special occasions. Nutritional value was more important than taste. In the upper middle class was quite different. Products such as meat and vegetables there were in abundance, and there was particular commodity to be purchased. There was space for creativity and innovation in the kitchen. Used to be vegan so no choice.
This is why more people eat less meat eat
After the Second world War was the Dutch prakje especially very very simple. In that time there were guest workers from Poland, Yugoslavia and Greece to the Netherlands. They came mainly to work in the coal mines. In the sixties, followed the Italians, Spaniards and Portuguese people to work in the heavy industry.
The mid-sixties there were also guest workers from Turkey and Morocco. Also they brought new cuisines and recipes. In this period were also more and more Dutch people on holiday. The dishes that she in distant climes tasted, they would also like to be able to prepare. This was the culinary revolution of the sixties called.
“Oats we saw previously used as a horse feed, but now it’s hip again.”
Manon Henzen, historian
‘Taste change over time’
“Maybe that also tastes about the time change,” explains Henzen. Some products remain, and others disappear. There are now also products reinvented, such as hemp seed and chia seed. These products you could a few years ago but at the vogelspeciaalzaak buy.
“Another example is oats. That was before armeluiseten, twenty years ago it was mainly horse feed and now it’s hip again. You will notice that nowadays there is a ‘health’ trend is. People do even kale in their drink and choose healthy over convenient.”