Monday, August 2, 2010

Double Dutch.

I encountered two extraordinary culinary surprises while in Holland. both completely different, maybe repulsive or delightful, and both made me fall in love with the country even more.

Filet Americain.
filet americain is raw meat. it can come mixed with mayonnaise and spices and spread on a soft crusty baguette with lettuce and tomato as i first had it - for breakfast, from a gas station. sounds disgusting. but it's delicious. the quality of the bread is obviously an integral part but the spread is soft, melts in your mouth and the spices add a bit of a kick. it's not really like steak tartare, or eaten as one would eat steak tartare, but used more of as a meat spread. raw.meat.spread. it can also be bought from the store in a tub, spread on bread and topped with russian salad (i think is a potato-mayonnaise salad) which i had for lunch at arina's house. despite the idea of it, raw.meat.spread, the meaty taste of it is not that overwhelming for those who might be afraid. i would definitely recommend it. 

Sprinkle Sandwich
i was introduced to the sprinkle sandwich at arina's house. among our selection of spreads and toppings to make sandwiches was a box of chocolate sprinkles, or chocolade hagelslag. probably bought for her little nephew who sometimes stays over, i thought it was a mistake being placed on the table. but no. sprinkle sandwiches are completely normal. so, of course i had to try such a thing. on either white or brown bread, spread a thick layer of butter (or peanut butter) to cover the slice. "more butter, much more," exclaimed arina, much to my horror as anyone who knows me knows my aversion to butter, but to get the real sprinkle sandwich experience, i obliged and dug the knife back into the butter container. then, pour on the sprinkles until you can't see the butter anymore. "the idea is to have so many sprinkles that the ones that don't stick to the butter fall off onto the plate to pick up and lick up later," explained arina. maybe the idea is really just cover the sight of such buttery fatness. the slice of brown bread i had was still slightly frozen from the freezer so the first bite tasted like a sweet slice of ice cream cake. the bread was chewy, the butter was creamy and the sprinkles were crunchy. whoever came up with such an idea is genius. i was so pleasantly surprised by its sweetness i didn't mind the sugary buttery-ness. plus, the brown bread makes it healthy, right?

observation: the dutch like to eat their sandwiches as a one-slice open sandwich which they either cut with a fork and knife or fold it as an american would fold a slice of pizza. 
jammy sponge cakes in holland are also extraordinary.

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