Quick, what is the world’s foremost potato exporting country? Yes, it’s the Netherlands, a country that exports almost twice the amount of potatoes it grows, leading France by just a few fries (which are Belgian anyway).
Between 26 September and 11 October, 25 tons of potatoes will parade through Amsterdam on big farm trucks. [...] The pop-up will offer a wide and colourful variety of potatoes. “At first we were planning to have 30 types, but then some breeds got sick. So, it’s going to be 20 types,” says Felicia Alberding, a freelance journalist who is teaming up with potato farmers in organizing this event.
To make the pop-up more potato-y, there will naturally be an array of potato-related activities. The theatre team Superhallo will perform ‘Knol d’Amour’ which, they say, is both an ode to the potato and a delicious love story. The theatre makers will also host a fry potato party that lets people choose, peel and fry their own potatoes while they are playing music.
The boutique was the idea of farmer Krispijn van den Dries from the Noordoostpolder area who wants to breed a better understanding between farmers and consumers. Felicia Alberding: “In most countries, farmers have become invisible over the past years. That anonymity is one of the reasons many people don’t value food and how it’s made any more.”
The Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority recently paid a visit to a few locations in the city centre of Amsterdam and made some interesting finds. They confiscated some ivory artworks, 19 stuffed animals and four bottles of cobra vodka, the latter of which is highly illegal and a bit scary if you ask me.
According to the author of the cobra vodka in this picture, which is surely similar to the one that was confiscated:
“It’s Laotian rice whisky in a bottle with a very dead cobra in it. I’ve seen pictures of such snake wine in Vietnam and was surprised to notice that the concept exists in Laos as well. The belief is that the spirit of the snake inside will make you as strong as a cobra and give you more manly virility. I’d probably reluctantly drink a shot if given to me in a shot glass without the snake, but looking at this bottle with the snake inside does make this super creepy.”
Dom Pérignon has collaborated with Dutch fashion designer Iris van Herpen to produce a limited-edition champagne box and 3D-printed sculpture, as part of its Power of Creation project (not the bottles in the picture, the ones in the video)
Iris van Herpen’s gift packs were created specifically for the Dom Pérignon Vintage 2004, drawing inspiration from concepts of metamorphosis and the length of time involved in making Dom Pérignon. Each box is signed by the designer and bears a sprawling, crystal-like green graphic set on a black backdrop.
There’s a video by German-born fashion photographer Daniel Sannwald to accompany the product, which I had to sign into to prove my age. The video also features some of Van Herpen’s creations and a nice dark green tone that just works for me.
Last year the sole manufacturer of aniseed cubes in the Netherlands, De Ruijter, ceased manufacturing its well-known comfort product.
Aniseed flavoured hot milk is a favourite drink of many Dutch people who have trouble sleeping. Personally I prefer Blooker cacao, so I missed out on the whole aniseed cube scandal, until last night when a Facebook friend mentioned he could not sleep because he had run out of the vaunted cubes.
We’ve been making aniseed cubes since 1928 using practically the same method all that time. We’ve been able to keep the aniseed cube machine running for a long time, but wear and tear and the lack of replacement parts have made it impossible to extend the life of our machine.
The company has now introduced packets of aniseed powder at more than three times the price. Nobody is happy with this price hike and several people started stockpiling the cubes as soon as they found out. The limited number of likes the activist Facebook page Wij Willen De Ruijter Anijsblokjes Terug has received, only 75 at the time of writing, suggests perhaps a more practical reason why De Ruijter has stopped production.
Another company, M. & P. S., is still producing its own brand of aniseed tablets (“since 1854″, for whatever it’s worth), but apparently they are even more expensive than De Ruijter’s new packets.
I was in Munich earlier this year and went to a tapas bar with a German friend. He ordered some guacamole with nacho chips and then said that he really liked the guacamole he had eaten in the US, but didn’t understand why guacamole in Munich looked like mayonnaise with wasabi through it. I tasted it, and it was bitter: it looked very pale and didn’t taste like avocados at all. Then I told him about the guacamole dip you could buy at the Albert Heijn supermarket here that had almost the same questionable colour and tasted like weird mayonnaise.
It turns out that AH guacamole dip, which the supermarket chain has said should not be compared to real guacamole (so why do they feature a bowl of guacamole as a picture on the product?), has been pulled from their line of TexMex-style products for containing all of 0.7% avocado powder. More than 7,000 people have voted the dip ‘the biggest marketing lie of the year’. The supermarket chain has pulled the product and agreed to find another product to sell to replace it.
Back in early 2012 we told you about lab produced meat being made, and in late 2013 about the meat finally hitting the grill. Now it’s time to level up with a test-tube cookbook called ‘The In Vitro Meat Cookbook” written by Dutch-based scientists, chefs and artists and recently presented in Amsterdam.
“While some dishes are innovative and delicious, others are uncanny and macabre,” such as roast raptor, dodo nuggets and oysters grown from meat stem cells.
The idea was not to get people cooking so much as letting people imagine future possibilities.
While at English-language summer camp in Québec in 1984 reading a copy of TIME magazine about the Summer Olympics boycott by Eastern European countries, my Polish bunkmate stared around the big canvas tent we lived in from her bottom bunk with her distinct lack of cheerfulness, not knowing what to do with her quiet time. For the rest of us, it meant reading in bed and scarfing down some chocolate we called ‘tuck’, a British expression we didn’t know was British.
The Polish bunkmate had parents rich enough to send her to Canada for summer camp, but not enough for her to have any tuck. The other girls didn’t take to her because she couldn’t speak English very well and was quite reserved. I decided it would be funny to let he read the propaganda that is TIME magazine and also gave her some of my chocolate bar. She looks at me a bit scared, broke off a square, popped it her mouth, and went very quiet. “It’s good,” she said, finally smiling a bit. “What, you’ve never had chocolate before?” She nodded for no. She was 15.
Now it’s time to see how cocoa bean growers in Ivory Coast react when they taste chocolate for the first time, as filmed by a Dutch TV crew. Just like the Polish girl, it’s hard to believe that anyone hasn’t had chocolate before, especially cocoa bean growers.
In Dutch, French and at least another Ivory Coast language, with English subtitles:
Next, the Dutch at a market are shown a cacao pod and can’t figure out what it is, even after tasting it. I like the older man who wanted to say ‘abrikoos’ (‘apricot’) and turned into ‘Afrikoos’ (roughly ‘Africot’):
The Dutch have had their own Kickstarter site for a few months now and I have seen many interesting projects get the funding they probably deserve. However, they are a lot of ‘non-starters’ on the site because anybody can ask for money and hope for the best without being serious. The projects that get my attention usually fall into four categories: the good ones that usually get funded, the ones that don’t get funded or get insufficient funding, the ones nobody gives a toss about but could be serious, and the jokey ones. Let’s have a look at the last two categories, the losers and the jokers:
- ‘I need a computer to review stuff on the Internet and become a YouTuber’. How about you get a job? It would go faster, too.
- Two guys want to deliver apple pie to their friend for his 17th birthday, but would rather someone else pays for it. You can’t find 5-10 euro for your best friend? Ouch.
- ‘I make music. To make these tracks, I need money. You want to spend money on music’ It sounds more like you don’t want to spend money on music…
- Someone want to sell ‘trustee rings’ to prove their ‘fidelity’ and got 1 euro so far. They have GPS and Wi-Fi to track your partner. Stalker alert!
- A statue for Louis van Gaal, but only if the Netherlands wins the World Cup, which it didn’t. Nice try.
- Frying up extreme eggs. Ever since a potato salad got funded, Kickstarter is full of food-related projects.
- ‘A story about a boy that lives in a crappy world.’ Buy a diary, write it down and take up drinking like the rest of us.
Conceptually based on the Turkish güveç, a sort of earthenware pot used to prepare stews on barbecues, and designed by Casper Tolhuisen, the Barbecue Pot lets you cook all kinds of noms on the BBQ as a change up to the usual sausage and burger affair. The pot is filled with ingredients (meat and veg or simply vegetarian), including something specifically aromatic like a lemon, then sealed and cooked. The idea is that something like a lemon will act as a mini-steam cabin and cook the stew, giving it a nice barby flavour.
The stoneware Barbecue Pot comes with two recipes and has a blog where people can exchange recipes and tips. Dutch online design store SoonSalon sells the item for 69 euro in a few different colours.
Today in over 30 countries around the world, from New Zealand to the United States, fast food chain employees are striking to demand better wages because their full-time jobs don’t pay the bills, which has been the case for ages. “On May 15, we will be taking action together around the world to demand that McDonald’s—the second largest private sector employer in the world — respect its employees’ work.”
However, the Netherlands cannot be bothered. Just last week the Dutch FNV union claimed that fast food workers were the worst paid in the country, two euro an hour less than cleaning personnel who strike often and have been on strike for a while as I write this. The biggest difference is probably that the cleaners, due to their age and experience, know when they are being screwed by The Man, while the youth thinks it’s normal.
For starters, mostly people under 25 work at fast food chains, many of which still live at home, which is very different than in other countries where they are trying to make ends meet. The wages the Dutch make is more pocket money or tuition money than rent money.
Second, fast food jobs in the Netherlands are deemed temporary jobs for students or young people, while in the United States and elsewhere, you’ll see people over 50 working at a chain. Since the Netherlands openly practices ageism and not same pay for same work, every age group, from 18 to 25 gets a different salary, and someone above 50 would be way too expensive.