Monday, June 09, 2008

Worst and Kaas

Fred and I attended a birthday party last weekend, which was an interesting twist on the Dutch birthday party. Regular readers (and those in the know) know that at the Dutch birthday party, you shake hands with everyone who is already there, sit in a circle, drink coffee and talk to the people on either side. (Okay, that picture was painted with some really broad strokes, but only a slightly.) At this party, we were allowed to roam. Of course we greeted everyone and the circle eventually formed, but there was swimming and little clutches around the backyard, so it had a more open feel. Incidentally, "backyard" is not really a word that's used here. People say tuin [town], which means garden. This was much bigger than a garden, but it was still referred to as tuin. Some things don't translate easily.

One thing you can count on at many Dutch parties is a plate like the one above. When it came out of the kitchen, it was filled. I got a snap when it had made the rounds a few times. It's filled with worst, which is pronounced vorst and just means sausage, and kaas, which is cheese. From left to right, there is ossenworst, cheese, leverworst and a regular old hard sausage.

Ossenworst is a strange thing that I think is particular to the Dutch and really specific to Amsterdam. It looks like raw hamburger. It's the kind of thing my sister loves. She always loved sneaking a piece of raw hamburger when she was little. Not me. People love it. I steer clear of it - politely. It's got lots of spices and is supposedly really good. It's not raw.

Leverworst has really grown on me. I never had the opportunity to eat much of it in the states (read: never) but I was introduced to it on my first trip here (mainly in Germany) and I really like it. The mustard is there for dipping your leverworst - once, please. "No double dipping" rules are international.

The cheese is a nice, youngish Dutch cheese, also for dipping into the mustard - although you don't have to. it's always chopped into healthy, bite sized blocks. The Dutch have some really predictably good cheese, although I've had friends who thought English cheese was superior. Fred prefers "old cheese."

The regular sausage is just regular hard sausage, but I could eat a plateful.

I took a picture and the woman whose hands appear to the right seemed to not know why I would take a picture of such a normal thing. It's because it's not normal everywhere. It's not like I've been to parties all over the world, but I've been to numerous New York parties and a plate like this never made an appearance in NYC. It would have been welcomed, but it wasn't there.

That was a totally meaty party. There was meat for days. It was a barbecue. It was a good time and a pretty day. Glad I'm not a vegan.

No comments: