When I bounced around the idea of starting a blog, I didn’t want it to be all work and no play. Those closest to me know (I hope) that I have a sense of humor, perhaps even some wit, and while I work hard, I wanted to share the lighter side of my work at SOAR.
That’s why when my friend (and SOAR Cornerstone Partner) Misty Feltner at KIKO Designs put together a logo for the blog. It included the words food and fun.
So, with that in mind, let’s talk about the food I experienced in Netherlands and have fun doing it.
I didn’t know what to expect in the Netherlands, but I had that moment… You know that kind of moment that Jake and Elwood Blues had in the church in the motion picture Blues Brothers when they realized they had to put the Blues Brothers Band back together.
My wife and I were flying to Arizona in January and the flight attendant came by with the usual complementary snacks and beverages. We noticed a new choice and it looked like a small waffle. We got one and we were hooked.
This, my friends, was a Stroopwafel, and it is life-changing… well, that might be a stretch, but you get my point.
I prepared vigorously for the culinary challenges of this trip by consuming two Stroopwafels a night. It set the bar for my Dutch trip high, and I think the Netherlands exceeded my expectations. Oh, and it challenged my taste buds to go beyond my very English diet.
So, what did I try on this trip? Here my Elite Eight!
1) Snails (see the video) | Byron Meade, who works for the University of Pikeville, was part of the Kentucky delegation on this trip. He, like me, grew up in Martin County. We kind of joked around that Martin County had the most representation on the trip. Byron and I had dinner on our final night in Amsterdam at a small Italian restaurant Pepe’s. The menu was in Dutch, and I recognized what I thought was a mixed pasta platter (of course, I went for it). Byron said, “want to eat some snails?” I blew it off and encouraged him to try them and expand his culinary reach. To be completely transparent, I didn’t need to say that. Byron ate insects earlier in the week. The snails came out and they were covered in butter and garlic. Byron said they tasted like mushrooms. I decided to try them, and I’ve lived to share my experiences about them. They tasted like a stuffed mushroom. So, there you have it… I’ve eaten a snail.
2) Beef Carpaccio | Stephon was our guide for the week, and a great one at that. One morning, Stephon asked us to pick our appetizer, main course, and dessert for dinner. He reeled off the choices for an appetizer and he said Beef Tenderloin. Winner, winner, (I can’t use chicken) beef for dinner! Little did I know it was carpaccio, which is an Italian dish consisting of raw, yes raw, beef. I tried it. I just couldn’t do it. But, hey, I did try it.
3) Veggies | Lord honey, I ate the veggies. Why wouldn’t you in a country that produces so much. The only way I can describe it is like this: The quality of vegetables I had throughout the week was just like going out and picking the vegetables out your own garden.
4) Bread | I love my honey wheat bread at home, but in the Netherlands, bread don’t come in a bag, it comes fresh from the oven. A traditional Dutch breakfast is an assortment of fresh bread loaves, meats, cheeses, croissants (and I’m not talking about the ones from Burger King), boiled eggs, fresh fruits, yogurt, and fresh juices. I ate entirely too much bread, but I’m not apologizing. I wanted to make sure none of it was wasted.
5) Coffee | I don’t drink coffee. Never will. But the Dutch love their coffee and love to incorporate it into their breaks. Oh, and they also incorporate sweets with it as well. The difference here is portion control. Sweets are not on huge platters. They are instead placed on smaller ones and many of the treats are made with less sugar and more sweetness and taste coming from fruits and spices.
6) Pumpkin Soup | This one came out of left field on me. We had it on two different occasions on the trip. I like pumpkins, but I like them in pies and rolls at Thanksgiving and Christmas. All joking aside, it was very good.
7) Salmon Tartare | Sorry, folks… I didn’t go there. It was served and a few ate it. Good for them.
8) Avocado Tartare | I tried that. After all, I eat avocados raw all the time. It was minced in with tomatoes and onions. A very good dish.
So, there you have it. A glimpse of some of the food I had in the Netherlands and the fun I had eating it… well, for the most part. I can’t wait to get back on the road in Appalachia Kentucky sharing some of the unique places to eat and the stories behind such places.