As an American that lives abroad, I am not one for embracing Dutch traditions on a regular basis. I do the ones which there is no way out of, like Queen's Day or Sinterklaas but for the rest, I'm mostly not a partaker. Part of that is due to my resistance in joining anything, but also part is because they are not my customs, and since I happened to marry a man who is even less than a joiner than I am, we opt out of most hardcore Dutch traditions.
Eating gourmet on New Year's.
Well, actually we don't follow the tradition exactly because most Dutchies eat gourmet on New Year's Eve but we eat it on New Year's Day, because it is great hangover food, and we always sleep late on New Year's Day, eating breakfast around 2, so eating gourmet is a great way to have a great meal without a lot of work. But, first, the burning question.
What the hell is gourmet?
Gourmet is a table top grill that you use to cook food tableside. It's origins are Swiss and Swiss tradition is that you eat raclette by eating boiled potatoes and cover them all kinds of goopy, wonderful melted cheese, and eat them with sweet pickles and dried meats. This is called raclette. But, the Dutch use their own twist and use their raclette mostly as a kind of tableside barbeque and call it gourmet (pronouncing the 't'). Don't ask me how we got from boiled potatoes to meat, I don't know.
The closest we come in America to this is meat fondue, but instead of cooking the meat in oil, they cook it on this little grill. The grill has both a grill on top (ours also has a grill stone) and underneath you have these little pans which are great for broiling.
So, while I embrace the tradition, I do try to put my own signature on it and make it just a bit different by creating my own meat dishes and marinades, or making vegetable dishes and I never serve garlic bread. Most years I marinade fish, meats and chicken and create all kinds of dips, batters and marinades for them, I usually even beat up a couple of eggs for those who might fancy a mini omlette, I slice up everything from mushrooms and peppers, zucchini, eggplant, fresh garlic, spring onions. This year, because I have been home for the last 10 days, I've done a ton of cooking over the past week and I didn't feel like chopping up meat and fish and putting my food processor in overdrive to make pestos, mint marinades and batters, so we decided to just break down and buy a tray. I did throw in some mushrooms, roasted potatoes and roasted red peppers but more than any other year, I did the textbook tray and store bought sauces. Woo-hoo, I'm Dutch, I put together a cookie-cutter dinner!
Then, suddenly, she got up and asked us to turn the television on and I was afraid she was going to run off, she dragged her little rocking chair in front of the tv, piled all her stuffed animals selectively on it so they could all see the tv, she ran back to the table and told me, well, I didn't want to make them feel bad because they were not invited to our family dinner.
Whether it is stuffed animals, other kids or her trains, my girl is a nurturer to her core. I love that about her and am so grateful that her heart is open. What more can you really ask for?
|Look at those fine motor skills!|
May you be healthy, and may you be able to recognize the beauty and wonder in your life. May you shine as bright and beautifully as our Maya.