Food Shopper’s Guide to Holland

Food Shopper’s Guide to Holland

Dutch cuisine is a tad underwhelming, and for foody expats grocery shopping in Holland can be a disappointing and stressful experience, especially if you can't understand the lingo on the packaging. But thanks to two American writers (of European extraction) and their somewhat biblical Food Shopper's Guide to Holland, a maiden voyage to a Dutch supermarket need no longer result in you wanting to open a vein. Food groups and ingredients are split into chapters so that everything you could possibly want to look for is easy to find, and described in both Dutch and English. There is also plenty of good information about speciality shops and what they are called by the natives. A thoroughly comprehensive appendix contains further details on where to buy household items and kitchen supplies as well as an extensive grocery vocabulary and an index of international food shops throughout the Netherlands. Apart from its general usefulness, what I really liked about this book is its cheerful tone. Authors Ada Koene and Connie Moser clearly loved researching and writing their book and you get the feeling they really felt there was a big need to help out the expat sisterhood with the tricky task of food shopping in a foreign land. My only quibble is that the Netherlands isn't quite the culinary treasure trove that Koene and Moser enthusiastically suggest and in reality newcomers to Holland are likely to be disappointed if they expect the range and quality of food products on offer in their home country. Sure, any ingredient can be found if you look hard enough, but realistically this will require scouring ethnic stores and international shops throughout a city rather than locating everything in one supermarket. Having said that, the Food Shopper's Guide to Holland is enjoyable and interesting to read and a truly helpful guide for any newcomer to Holland and if you're sensible enough to peruse it before your first excursion to Albert Heijn, you should find the experience a little less perplexing. Buy this book Shelley Antscherl books@dutchnews.nl  More >



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Dutch Cooking: The New Kitchen

If the idea of authentic Dutch cuisine fills you with horror, then you're not alone. Even the authors of The New Kitchen admit that, 'Dutch cooking does not, to say the least, have a very good international reputation.' Amsterdam based writers Manon Sikkel and Michiel Klonhammer have penned numerous articles about their passion for traditional food and have enthusiastically updated some authentically rustic dishes in Dutch Cooking: The New Kitchen. You could be forgiven for thinking that there is little appeal in modernizing recipes that include culinary gems like cheese soup or salsifies with sour cream, but there's lots about this cheery and self-deprecating little book that makes you want try them out, like the bizarre but surprisingly tasty, eel and asparagus soup or the hash, made from stewed steak (with herbs, onions and juniper berries). If you ate this kind of food every day then watch out! You might just find your left ventricle slamming shut. It's what you might call wholesome, stodgy fodder: very short on sophistication but full of flavour. Generations of Dutch peasants toiled the polders nourished on this kind of fuel and it certainly hasn't stunted the nation's growth, so what is there to criticise? Well quite a bit actually, such as the bacon pancakes with avocado mousse, which according to my husband, won't even tempt a famished fox. As well as nearly all of the vegetable dishes, and specifically the sprout puree which looks like it's passed through the digestive tract of a cat. But thankfully almost every pudding was scrumptious and my three-year-old thought the strawberry fool and apple pie were 'Lishus'. It was only the prunes and curd that let the side down and looked revolting despite whatever nutritional benefits it may have boasted in days of olde... Dutch Cooking: The New Kitchen, has been lovingly produced in homage to old-fashioned Dutch cuisine and it successfully manages to inject some fun into a stale national pastime with this funky mix of traditional hearty fare. All the recipes are simple, cheap and easy to prepare which makes it an ideal cookery book for youngsters, or anyone who fancies trying out an eclectic menu on friends. But if you really are planning a 'Dutch' dinner party, and before you fill the trough, just make sure you choose the courses wisely, and more importantly, keep a defibrillator handy. Shelley Antscherl books@dutchnews.nl  More >


Expat Women: Confessions

Expatriating to a new country is exciting, but it can also be daunting. If you are about to embark on your first trip as a 'trailing spouse', then you could probably do with some reassurance from someone who knows the ropes. In case you don't meet that 'someone' immediately, a copy of Expat Women: Confessions, will make an excellent first companion. Expat Women: Confessions, 50 Answers to your Real-Life Questions about Living Abroad, is the brainchild of Andrea Martins & Victoria Hepworth who are also the founders of the website of the same name. Confessions is presented in a question and answer format and focuses on the most common problems faced by expat women every day. Issues like dealing with loneliness and coping with the loss of professional identity, as well as the more serious problems of alcoholism, domestic violence and infidelity are all dealt with sensitively. Both authors are seasoned expats in their own right, as well as expat wives with children, and with the benefit of their combined experience, each question is answered constructively, providing practical advice and information along the way. A comprehensive Resources section includes an invaluable list of books and websites for the rookie, or veteran expat alike. There isn't much that Andrea Martins & Victoria Hepworth don't know about relocating worldwide and Expat Women: Confessions is their latest gift to the expat sisterhood. Buy this book Shelley Antscherl books@dutchnews.nl  More >


The Bee’s Tour of Gouda: Buzzing Through Vinita’s Lens

Cheese. Hard, tasty, bright yellow cheese. That's what appears in many people's minds when they think of Gouda. But of course the cheese gets its name from a very historical little city in the South of Holland that's featured in The Bee's Tour of Gouda: Buzzing Through Vinita's Lens. Author Persephone Abbott and photographer Vinita Salom have lovingly researched their hometown and created a suggested walking route that takes in the beautiful city of Gouda in a historical, cultural and pictorial manner. At only 70 pages long and handy A5 size, it's an ideal travelling companion should you fancy an educational ramble around a little city that began as a settlement in the Middle Ages, built around a fortified castle. It would be fair to point out however, that this baedeker would suit seasoned visitors and tourists, prepared to pore over and decipher the hand drawn maps, as opposed to baseball-capped Floridians and the like, who might find it too intricate if they are attempting to do the entire Netherlands in a couple of days. Despite the obvious research that has gone into creating this packed little guide, it has the feel of an economically produced booklet rather than the book it strives to be. If you are looking for accommodation or places to eat and drink, then Tour of Gouda will not be of much use, but if you're interested in Gouda's history, then this will certainly educate and fulfill the more enlightened traveler. Buy this book Shelley Antscherl www.shelleyantscherl.com  More >


Mr Miller

Born in Australia in 1952, Charles den Tex was five years old when his parents repatriated home to the Netherlands. As a young adult, den Tex studied and worked in Paris and England before embarking on a career as a communication and management consultant in the Netherlands. From communications consultant to writer Since publishing his first book in 1995, Den Tex has been a prolific writer of crime fiction often against a background of fraud in trade and industry. Until recently all his works were written and published only in Dutch, limiting his appeal to an enthusiastic Dutch reading audience. Throughout his career as a writer Den Tex has been frequently nominated for book awards. Three of his books: Schijn de Kans (2002); De Macht van Meneer Miller) (2005; Cel (2008) - have won the prestigious Golden Noose award (a Dutch annual prize for the best thriller). The first two books listed here were made into television series, and Cel a film Mr Miller The first of den Tex’s novels to become available in English translation from World Editions, Mr Miller was first published more than a decade ago. The cover identifies the book as ‘the ultimate internet conspiracy’, which in 2005 would have attracted more questions than in 2016 when Internet treachery seems commonplace in the crime world. Central character, Michael Bellicher is a communication consultant for HC&P, an Amsterdam based company with an impressive list of high profile European clients. Bellicher is young, smart, ambitious and reaping the rewards of sacrificing his personal life for the company. Both his best friend (Gijs) and love-interest (Jessica) are employees of HC&P. The story opens with Michael at Schiphol airport awaiting the arrival of his brother, Kurt, who he has not see for five and a half years. On seeing his brother, Michael collapses from an anxiety attack. He abandons his family for the solitude of his apartment, drinks heavily for three days, and then returns to his workplace to discover the fallout from his solecism. In a desperate move to save his career, Michael quickly secures an important client and hides in the company building after closing hours, allowing him to work on his new project through the night. His plan dissolves on discovering a dead woman outside the office canteen, and overhearing her murderers discussing what to do with the body. After the body is found in the company’s basement parking garage, Michael is identified as the only person registered as being inside the building on the night of the murder – making him the primary suspect in the case. Fearing for his freedom, Michael absconds and goes underground seeking information needed to prove his innocence. Things quickly become crazy when it becomes evident that not only does someone want Michael dead, they seem to know his every move. Following some serious attempts on his life, Michael unravels a small part of the mystery by connecting the website of Mr Miller to both the dead woman and his current peril. Who or what Mr Miller is becomes the foundation for this racing thriller. Authentic Dutch thrills As a techno conspiracy theory thriller, Mr Miller is a tight tale. Having worked in the same world as Michael, den Tex provides a believable account of the world of a high-end communication consultant. By setting the thriller predominantly in Amsterdam, he provides local flavor to the tale and adds authenticity to the characters and their relationships. Credit too to Nancy Forest-Flier as the novel’s translator. This exciting read from Charles den Tex comes highly recommended. Ana McGinley Read Charles den Tex' blog on identity  More >


The Netherlands in 26 iconic objects

What do ice skates, orthodox Christians and ecstasy pills have in common? They are all quintessentially Dutch objects featured in a new anthology which explores what it means to come from the Netherlands. Dutch writers were given the task of jotting down their favourite facts and memories about the objects that surround them in the Netherlands. The result is a pretty unique insight into what makes this country tick, from the herring cart to the notorious face mitt. Contributions come from writer Mano Bouzamour who tackles the beer bike, columnist Gerry van der List who looks at the Dutch love of garden gnomes and Wim Brandts who deals with the ubiquitous stroopwafel - among many others. Of course, many of these objects were not even invented in the Netherlands, as the book reluctantly admits, but the adoration for them is still clear. According to Henk van Os, the cheese parer, a Norwegian invention, belongs in the Netherlands and should be left to the Dutch to operate properly. Overall the tales create a picture of what is important to the Dutch and how this makes them unique. And the stories show the eccentric ways in which the Dutch fiercely guard national traditions, such as their passion for using orange at all national celebrations. There are also times when the book reveals something new about the country known for its windmill owning, bike riding tendencies. The books list of items might seem stereotypical but all is not as it seems. The tulip bulb has less to do with Dutch culture than with continuing a booming tourist industry and is certainly not seen by the Dutch as their national flower. From geraniums to black stockings, the stories provide many anecdotes from the typically Dutch childhoods of the 26 writers who contributed. However be warned, the romanticised memories experienced through the eyes of the infant Netherlander becomes heavy reading experience when read together. With the words 'Dutch' and 'the Netherlands' used over 175 times, this collection is stuffed full of factoids that you can impress both visitors and Dutch nationals with. Julia Corbett  More >


Third Culture Kids: Growing Up Among Worlds

Third Culture Kids (TCKs) are, as the title suggests, children who have grown up among worlds, living in other countries during their formative years. This might not seem like a demographic worthy of a 300 page book, but the expat experience for most of us will have a profound impact on our emotional resilience and world outlook, and children are no exception. In Third Culture Kids: Growing Up Among Worlds, Authors David C. Pollock and Ruth E. Van Reken examine how youngsters, and their adult selves have coped with spending a significant period of their developmental years in a culture outside their parents'Ž“ passport culture.Ž— Living in a foreign land isn't just a cultural learning experience, it affects the way you relate to people and places for the rest of your life such as how do TCKs 'learn' to deal with the inevitable and often frequent goodbyes to people they have formed relationships with when they move on? With chapters on Ž•Rootlessness and RestlessnessŽ“, and Unresolved GriefŽ“, it certainly shed some light on my own experience as a child living overseas, and explained why I never felt any sense of belonging to the place we called home in the UK. This is not a depressing account of expat woes, it's an interesting insight into the anthropology of Third Culture Kids, what sets them apart from other people, and how these global nomads relate to the world around them. Buy this book Shelley Antscherl www.shelleyantscherl.com  More >


Holland Handbook

This richly illustrated handbook offers 256 full-color pages of essential information for the expatriate on all aspects of living and working in the Netherlands such as: career, fiscal issues, health care, housing, insurance, international education, registration and telecommunications.  More >


ABC Nederlands English

ABC Nederlands English is a bilingual alphabet book for children. Author Alison O'Dornan introduces children to the alphabet using words and objects that begin with the same letter in Dutch and English. Words like Banana and Banaan, Moon and Maan are illustrated with pictures and accompanied by a simple sentence in both languages making them easy to understand. With one letter per page this colourful little book is short enough to hold their attention and presented in a style that will appeal to kids. Diglot Books specializes in bilingual language guides for youngsters and they have recently launched a range of Flash Cards based around a shopping theme with pictures of items written in English and Dutch. Any of their titles or products would make a perfect first introduction for children starting to learn a second language. ABC Nederlands English is just one in a series that includes: Spanish, German, French and Italian. Shelley Antscherl books@dutchnews.nl  More >


Dutched Up! Rocking the Clogs Expat Style

Dutched Up! Rocking the Clogs Expat Style is an anthology of expat essays written by 27 smart, sassy and observant women, who have all relocated to the Netherlands.   This collection of 49 essays, technically blog posts, details their personal experiences and observations gathered while attempting to find a place in Dutch society. The essays are arranged under 12 topics including - Culture Shock; Eating and Shopping; Biking; the Dutch Language; Working in the Netherlands; Marrying a Dutchie; Having Babies; Raising Your Kids; ending with, Leaving the Netherlands. For many expats, this arrangement is a familiar and logical transition through the Dutch expat experience. Essentially this is a book for women by women. The bloggers originate from different parts of the world and this influences how they experience what is going on around them. A good example can be found in the essay: How High Do Parents Raise the Bar (Lana Kristine Jelenev), with the author frustrated by an educational philosophy and program that many foreigners see as teaching children to be complacent with “voldoende” (or good enough) rather than encouraging children to push themselves to try and do their best (p82). This is a common topic frequently discussed by new expat parents sending their children to Dutch schools. Similarly, being considered a prostitute by staff at your Dutch doctor's surgery because you have followed recommendations in your home country and had an annual pap smear examination makes: That’s a Helluva Exam for a very funny essay. (Molly Quell) Overall, this collection of essays about life in the Netherlands will resonate with many readers. Growing in popularity are expat blogs, books and magazines as the number of people becoming ‘global citizens’ increase. Reading the experiences of other expats, such as in Dutch Up! Rocking the Clogs Expat Style promotes acceptance that the unfamiliar and strange experiences that shake the confidence of new expat residents, are just part of the process of settling in to your new Dutch home. Buy this book Ana McGinley  More >


The Anatomy Lesson

In 1632 serial thief, Adriaen Adriaenszoon (known as Aris Kindt), was sentenced to death by hanging in Amsterdam. The Anatomy Lesson is based on the events that take place on the day of his death and dissection as depicted in Rembrandt'Ž“s famous painting, Ž•The Anatomy Lesson of Dr Nicolaes TulpŽ“, an artwork commissioned by the Amsterdam Surgeons' Guild. This second novel from American writer, Nina Siegal, is contrived from historical records and coloured by prose. The narrative chronicles Kindt_Ž“s life, the lives of the individuals laying claim to the dead man_Ž“s body: Dr Tulp (the anatomist) Flora (the woman pregnant with his child) Rembrandt (artist) Jan Fetchet (curio collector and acquirer of medical cadavers) and Kindt himself (both alive and dead). Siegal has obviously spent copious time researching the subject matter. This historic authenticity of The Anatomy Lesson makes it easy for the reader to conjure up the people, places and events described in the narrative. Her descriptions of the cold, greyness of the Dutch winter are commendable. The tale rumbles gently along. At times it reads more as a play than a novel. Characters enter the stage and present a short monologue before exiting. The audience enjoy the performance, while anticipating the moment when the denouement reels the characters and story together into a satisfying conclusion. Needless the say, no more can be added without giving away the end of the book. Some readers may feel that the author's concentration on detail is pedantic and slows the flow of the narrative and the pace is slowed by the adoption of numerous characters narrating the story. Chapter headings give no clue to the identity of the narrator, leaving it to the reader to deduce from whose perspective the story is being told. Adding to this, sometimes confusing, mix is the occasional interruption by a present-day conservator employed to restore the painting (notably easier to identify due to a change in font). This literary style demands full reader concentration. Despite these niggles, The Anatomy Lesson is an enjoyable read. It provides the reader with an historical insight into a specific time period in the Netherlands, and an interpretation of the background story behind one of the most renowned paintings of the Golden Age, which now hangs at Mauritshuis in The Hague. Buy this book Ana McGinley  More >