Saturday, June 21, 2008

Potato Salad and Dutch Culture

A staple at a Dutch barbecue that I've never seen at an American barbecue is potato salad from a container spread out onto a platter. (See photo above.) I'd like to say that perhaps it's because the last time I went to a barbecue was when I lived in Texas (and that was in the Eighties), but I know I've been to a barbecue there more recently. I think it might just be something they don't have in Texas. It's sort of like buying mashed potatoes (they have that here, too). My impression (though I haven't asked) is that the reaction of people in Texas would be something along the lines of, Oh right. And what's next? Buying water in a bottle? I could be wrong.

Store bought as they are, the salads are not bad at all. There's one that I particularly like. It's the presentation that I guess I'm trying to draw your attention to. It's one of those things that I see at a party that is so quintessentially Dutch that, well, that I'm finding myself blogging about it. I guess I've mostly seen potato salad in the US in a bowl. Whatever it is, I always enjoy seeing it. By the way, that green salad there is a really good salad. It's just the hostess's standard green salad but I always enjoy it. I'm not sure if it's the feta cheese or the dressing, but it's a good salad.

I was talking to someone yesterday and I said, "They were just regular Dutch guys." She (being Dutch) didn't understand what I meant. I did, but it's hard to explain. It's like trying to explain the Dutch accent. There's something there, but no one does a Dutch accent like they do a German, French or Italian accent. But I can still hear it when I talk to the average Dutch person. I couldn't even do a Dutch accent and I'm pretty good with accents (although Fred would tell you that I just do a Russian accent and call it German, French or Italian accent.)

Lately I've been talking to people about integration and being integrated. My findings have been very interesting. One point a woman I spoke to made is that I have a great opportunity to see Dutch people the way she (with her American husband) never will. I see them in their own environment. I go to birthday parties and barbecues with only Dutch people. She never does. I feel very fortunate.

1 comment:

American Irish said...

Netherlands lost yesterday in football. I bet there are lots of sad Dutch people this weekend.