June 29, 2012

Chips, crisps and croustilles

Filed under: Food & Drink,Religion by Orangemaster @ 4:36 pm

Since I’ve been back to visit family in Québec, the comments about the Netherlands have been reduced to coffeeshops, whores and cheese, which are polite jabs, but also pretty accurate. However, a recurring theme is chips or crisps, or even ‘croustilles’ for the proper French word. The proper Dutch word is ‘chips’, following the North American tradition. Szechwan, that’s pretty exotic. Salt n’ vinegar, nothing special. Mesquite BBQ I had to look up, and has something to do with a style of BBQ sauce in Texas.

One interesting trend was that many of these Canadian chips were advertised as kosher. Canadian food products have always had kosher symbols on them, but there are many different ones (COR, K, MK, etc.) and seem to me to be more prominent. It was swiftly pointed out to me as well that these products (not all junk food by the way) are in fact more expensive to produce because a rabbi has been part of the process. In other words, these kosher products cost more for people who don’t eat kosher. The press has written that regular people are being had for more money at the expense of people who choose to eat kosher and even halal foods, as it is a life choice and not a health issue. The conclusion was that there are tons of symbols for gluten-free, no nuts and low-sodium products, which can even be life-saving for many people, even religious people, and may even cost more to produce, but they are for the benefit of society as a whole, not a select religious group.

I am amazed this discussion hasn’t popped in the Netherlands yet, albeit regarding halal foods.

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October 30, 2009

Chips, Halloween, pumpkins and oranges

Filed under: Food & Drink,General by Orangemaster @ 8:00 am

I used to associate Old Dutch with a cleanser and now I discover that my Canadian childhood brand of chips (not crisps, eh) went from Humpty Dumpty to Old Dutch. Sure, the real Dutch people have chips (and don’t call them crisps, either), but Halloween chips is a North American invention this time. The bags are small and given to children dressed in costumes when they go trick or treating, which means going door to door asking for candy (and not sweets). We were the people that gave kids small boxes of raisins or pencils and erasers instead of junk food. When your big bag is full, you go home, throw out the stuff you won’t eat and sort your candies. My younger brother used to hide them and eat them all year round.

Right now, on every street corner and market, people are selling pumpkins to make jack-o’- lanterns, which are pumpkins gutted and carved to put candles in that give Halloween its look. We make pumpkin pie and dry the seeds and eat them. Pumpkins seeds are extremely healthy apparently.

Why am I explaining all of this? Because the Dutch do not celebrate Halloween, and although they do throw a few great parties for adults (and people, you really need to work on your costumes), it’s not the big deal it is in Canada and the United States. Dutch friends have told me that children of North American parents have a celebration for their kids, which is something they cannot skip. And in Canada once it’s over, all the Halloween stuff will disppear instantly in the stores and make way for Christmas stuff.

The market picture of these oranges in Montréal where I have been hiding for the last 10 days is totally unrelated and should be plural.

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