How To Eat Oliebollen

Eating Oliebollen

I like to eat my oliebollen while standing on a foot stool for added height. It makes me feel more Dutch.

I posted that comment on Twitter yesterday and was surprised to see just how many people retweeted and favourited it. But while reheating some oliebollen in the microwave yesterday, I did, in fact, end up eating the whole thing while standing on the stool that we need in order to reach the microwave, which is on top of the cabinets.

For many Dutch people — they of amazing height — the microwave would not be out of reach. So I enjoyed my oliebollen while pondering the perspective many Dutch people have while eating their fried-dough treat. It’s nice up there! I might start carrying one of those IKEA stools around with me everywhere.

Today, while G reheated the last of the oliebollen, he decided to take advantage of the perspective, as well. He thinks I might be on to something. For fun, I took a photo, while trying for a bit of a Dutch angle. It’s not quite tilted enough, but it will do. I added in a bit of moody, atmospheric shadowing to drive home the “exoticness and disorientation” of the angle and how it relates to eating a tasty foreign treat from such a height. Just as in The Third Man, I wanted “to emphasize the main character’s alienation in a foreign environment.”

Ha! I bet you didn’t expect comparisons between German Expressionism and Dutch fried dough. See how eating oliebollen on a foot stool has changed my view of the world? Of course, this could all be nonsense resulting from the lack of oxygen at such great heights. Madness? Or the birth of a new philosophy?

Oliebollen

Lekker Ding
The end of the year is drawing near, and that also means the end of the oliebollen season. Soon the kraam (stall) will be gone from Neude (and other locations), and any oliebollen will have to be made at home. Since that involves deep frying, it means I don’t get any until the next winter holiday season. So, before they’re gone from my life for another year, I’m enjoying a last few of these delightful fried dough balls. The powdered sugar is like the last dusting of snow that’s still on the ground here.
Oliebollen
I want to get a photo of the domtoren tomorrow for my last photo of the year. I’m pretty sure that will also entail one last stop at the oliebollen kraam. See the year out on a high note!

Living the Fairy Tale

Swans in the Oudegracht
Look! Those big white birds in the canal are swans. Honest-to-goodness swans! And yes, that’s a 13th century castle, Stadskasteel Oudaen, in the background on the left. (Sorry it’s not the best of photos, but it was done with the camera phone rather than my real camera.) It’s all a bit like a fairy tale setting, and yet this is what I passed by on my way to one of the tokos (Asian market) to pick up some black beans and okra for tonight’s dinner.

The morning had started dark and rainy, with the threat of snow in the forecast. By 9:30 this morning, it was still quite dark out and I was wondering if my plans for dinner might have to change, since I didn’t feel like heading to the other side of town in the rain just for two items. Fortunately, the weather cleared and I had a nice little walk to do my shopping. I like to cut through Neude and across the Oudegracht, and down Zakkendagerssteeg to get to Vredenburg, where the toko is. It’s a scenic walk and on a Wednesday morning, it wasn’t crowded at all. That’s when I saw the swans. We see swans occasionally in the various canals, but it’s just rare enough that it’s still fun to stop and admire them when they do make an appearance.

I still had to visit the regular grocery store after picking up my harder-to-find ingredients at the toko, so I headed back the way I came and this time, I finally stopped at the oliebollen kraam (oliebollen are a sort of sweet fried dough that’s sold mainly during the holidays from special stalls). I’ve been wanting some for ages, but kept resisting when I’d pass the stall at Neude. I had hoped to get some at the Christmas market we went to this weekend, but they were sold out when I finally decided to get some. So today, I decided it was time. No more resisting. I would give in to their fried siren song!
Oliebollen
The first winter we were here, I didn’t really know much about oliebollen, so I never tried them. The second year, I’d heard about them, but just bought the ones from the grocery store. This year, I finally bought some from an actual stall, and I managed the entire transaction in Dutch. Simple though it was, there were a few unexpected moments, but I understood! I think that was almost as pleasurable as the warm oliebollen themselves. I’ve still got a long way to go with the language, but positive moments like that are an encouragement.

By the time I eventually made it home, not only was it not raining or snowing, but it was actually sunny! Almost blindingly so at times. I couldn’t resist this quick shot of that glorious Dutch light glinting off the wet brick pavement, while casting shadows from the bushes. All in all, it was a surprisingly nice outing.
Dutch Light