Broodje ham literally means "little ham sandwich." However, it's
used to refer to any kind of sandwich. Sort of like in Texas when
they ask if you'd like a Coke. Then they ask, "What kind? We have
Sprite, Dr. Pepper..."
When I was working at the large telecom company, I went into the
cafeteria every day and watched Dutch person after Dutch person grab
four or six slices of break. Then they would walk to the little
refrigerated area and choose from a selection of cheese, cold cuts,
and salads to put on the bread. This was lunch. This was lunch
every day of the week, maybe every day of their life. I could do it
once in a while, but I usually opted for the meal they offered.
Meat, potato and a vegetable. I just couldn't see eating that much
bread every day.
When I was at the nursing home, people regularly brought a little
baggy with a sandwich in it. The sandwich usually consisted of a
slice of bread, cheese or meat and another slice of bread. This was
sliced horizontally, stacked and placed in the bag. This was lunch.
Every day. I always ate the regular meal that I got as compensation
for my volunteer work.
Now that I am at the school every day for lunch, I find myself trying
to eat something very quickly in the teacher's lounge during on of
the two breaks that we having during the lunch-time part of the day.
(There is no real lunch time for us.) And what do I find myself
eating? Sandwiches. But I like a really good cheese - my favorite
lately is and older cheese with cumin seeds in it. And I prefer a
roll. It makes sense, but it's so unceremonious. But when it's
lunch time and I'm reaching into my bag for my sandwiches, I'd eat
almost anything I found. When it's time to eat, it's time to eat.
Maybe that's what the whole sandwich thing is about.
Something they have here that you will never find in the US is Filet
Americane. It's apparently a raw meat product in a thick sauce with
spices. It's spreadable. People love it. I think I've only eaten
it once, when it was passed to me on a piece of melba toast by one of
Fred's sister-in-laws. I avoid it. It's so strange to me that it's
called Filet Americane when it has nothing to do with America. It's
not a typical American dish. It's like french fries. It's like
something with Dutch in the name. Just tag the name of a country on
and it will be exotic and people will love it.