Sunday, December 7, 2003

fair winter fare

here, in this low land of water and windmills, boerenkool - or curly kale - ideally appears, mashed with potatoes, on people's dinner plates after the first night-frost: something to do with the chill improving the flavour.
but it's not only "farmer's cabbage" that is prepared in this way. all manner of vegetables meet the same fate: sauerkraut, winter carrots with onion, and, my favourite, raw chicory, shredded finely so that it warms through and wilts while stolidly stirring. add a bit of smoked sausage, or some bacon, or some cheese, and a traditional dutch winter meal can be presented, steaming, to those who love simple, hearty fare.
for all its deceptive plainness, though, this is not food for cooks in a hurry. i can whip up a thai curry in minutes, or quickly layer a lasagne that slides into the oven and gives me time to relax before dinner (and i do like to relax before dinner). "stamppot" (the name for these squashed spuds and veggies), on the other hand, means endless peeling and cutting and chopping and rinsing and stamping. it is HARD work.
but hey: i'm canadian. maybe one needs to be raised with this particular skill.
could be it's not in my genes.
enough on the subject. i have ten colleagues coming to dinner tomorrow.
i am not, needless to say, cooking cabbage.


  1. love this one, too: the pattern is unfamiliar at first, and the color is wonderful.

  2. pretty pattern and great depth. i was relieved when i saw this photo since there are so many "snow" photos out there today...

  3. Nice picture :-), here in Germany it is named "Gr�" and it is a traditional winter meal, too, same as in the Netherlands.

  4. Amazing as always.
    Hrm, I sudden have this urge for Salad...

  5. yum. i love boerenkool. all that stampot and hutspot. heerlijk!
    i speed up my stamppot with a foodprocessor. but yea, it's not fast.

  6. In Ireland there's champ (potatoes with green onion) and colcannon (potatoes with cabbage). The only other ingredients are milk and butter.
    My irish-born but canadian-raised grandmother remembers eating this multiple times a week, because although it takes a long time, it was cheap during the depression. I love it, it's the ultimate comfort food! Especially when you add a couple sausages and some yellow onions...

  7. you're inspiring me to do a whole series called "vegetable landscapes" some time soon (when I've actually dug myself out from a pile of other obligations)
    here's hoping for that sharp macro lens (come on Santa!)

  8. Yummy. More wonderful memories about trips to Holland, biting wind and the warmth of friendship and hearty fare. I've tried to imitate it, but it never turns out quite the way yours did. There's definitely something in the genes as well as the ingredients!

  9. Not needless to say, the dinner for the colleagues was lovely!

  10. I once made a picture of a vegetable patch full of curly kale that (in the picture that is) looked just like a rainforest from above.