Woordenboek Woensdag: Maaltijd

Zucchini Tart [Day 178/365]
While we were out shopping last week, G asked me if I knew what maaltijd meant. He said he’d seen it quite often on restaurant signs, but didn’t know what it meant. He was doing better than me; I hadn’t even noticed the word! For me, it was a bit confusing, because when I think of mal/maal, I think of something bad, thanks to the Italian and French that I know, not to mention their somewhat negative connotations in English. So to think of a “bad time” (tijd=time) in regards to a restaurant, I knew my Italian and French weren’t helping any here. It turns out, though, that it’s not really that far off of English. Maaltijd means meal, as in meal time. Ah! That makes much more sense!

I still hadn’t noticed the word, though, until today, when I was checking the latest Waar In Utrecht game and saw that the prize for a correct answer is now a maaltijd from Stamppot To Go. Hopefully, I’ll be able to win one of the prizes soon!

Speaking of maaltijden, I thought I’d share a recept (recipe) for the maaltijd I made last night. It was a hodgepodge of recipes — some tried and true, some new — that turned out heerlijk (delicious)! The main dish was a zucchini, ricotta and feta tart, which I found the recipe for here.

I think there is some sort of frozen pie crust available here, but it’s not in the ready-shaped form that you can buy in the US, not that I have room in my tiny freezer to keep pie crusts in any size. Fortunately, Lizzy posted a recipe last year for a very easy-to-make pie crust that doesn’t require the cutting in of shortening/butter that makes me hate making crust from scratch. This one uses oil instead and it’s so fast and easy and quite delicious. Since I was going to need only one crust, I simply halved the amounts without any trouble. I also played around a bit with the oils, since I knew I was going to be making a savory dish. Instead of 1/4 cup of vegetable oil, I did a mix of olive oil, a smidge of sesame oil, and then finished it off with regular vegetable oil.

Finally, as I was cooking the zucchini, I was worried that it would all be a bit bland. I like spices and I love spice blends, especially the ones I make myself, so I sprinkled a bit of one of my latest favorite spice blends, Kayotic Kitchen’s ras el hanout, over the zucchini as it was cooking in the pan. I didn’t use a lot, but just enough to give it a nice depth and warmth of flavor.

I was really happy with how the whole dish turned out — we paired it with a nice side salad — and I’m so glad there are leftovers for my lunches!

Eet smakelijk!

Woordenboek Woensdag: Rust

Just a quick posting that sort of follows up on last week’s discussion of rustig vs. stil. While walking down Nachtegaalstraat the other day, I saw a sign in front of a store offering massages. At the top of the sign, it said, “Even Rust“. Having recently learned the phrase for “just looking” when shopping — Ik kijk even rond — I took that bit of info and combined it with my familiarity with rustig, and decided that even rust means something like “just relax”. If I’m horribly wrong, let me know.

Appropriately, my dictionary also lists rust as being a term for a sport’s half-time/interval. Since the rust of the football matches I’m watching are over, I’ve got to run. It’s hard to feel any rust when the US needs to win its match against Algeria if the team is to go through to the next round.

Woordenboek Woensdag: Spelen

Perhaps not surprisingly, today’s posting is inspired — once again — by the World Cup. After all, I’ve been watching the Dutch coverage of the matches, so I’ve been hearing a lot of basic terms used repeatedly. This is how I started learning Italian years ago, as well. This is going to be a quick posting, since it’s half time of the Chile-Honduras match and I don’t have much time.

One of the terms that I’ve definitely learned in the past week has been wedstrijd (match), in part because it’s said a lot, and in part because I kept mishearing it in the past and wondered why they were talking about websites (with a strange accent) so much during matches. A similar word is spel (game). Is spel used more for “games” in general, while wedstrijd is used more for sporting/football “matches”?

Spelen (to play) is the verb of the day, or perhaps of the month. It’s definitely being used extensively! There’s also speler (player). The problem comes when de spits (striker) is buitenspel (offside), ruining a goeie kans (good chance) at a doel (goal). One last question: spits is listed in my dictionary as both de and het. Is it interchangeable?

Rustig vs Stil

Rustig (quiet, calm, tranquil) is one of those Dutch words that I’ve seen regularly, but never remembered to look up the definition until recently. In fact, if it hadn’t been for the election yesterday, I would have written about it for my Woordenboek Woensdag entry. But now, I’ve just come across a piece on the Dutch Word of the Day website about stilte (silence), and now I’m curious and vaguely confused.

I know rustig is an adjective or adverb, while stilte is a noun, but there’s also the adjective form stil (silent, quiet, still). Are rustig and stil interchangeable or is one used in certain instances versus the other? Is rustig used more for happy or peaceful silence, with stil used more for tense, sudden, or eerie silence?

Who knew something that I like could be so stress-inducing!

Woordenboek Woensdag: Stemmen

Pushing It
It’s election dag (verkiezingedag) today in the Netherlands, as citizens head to the polls (stemlokaal or stembureau) to cast their vote for one of the 19 parties on the ballot (stem, stembiljet). Noticing a bit of a running theme in the Dutch words? De stem is the noun for vote and stemmen is the verb to vote. Interestingly, stem is also the word for voice. Appropriate, don’t you think, since a vote is a citizen’s way to voice one’s opinion.

Politics (politiek) are a bit different from what I was used to in the US. As I mentioned, there are 19 parties on the ballot this year, compared to the small handful of parties (and really, only 2-3 viable ones) in the US. Here, you vote for a party, rather than an individual, although it’s generally known who the party will choose to serve as Prime Minister if they win the majority. But realistically, it’s not one party in power; it’s a coalition (coalitie) of parties, and that influences how people vote. Parties give hints as to which parties they would form a coalition with, and if you don’t like the possible pairings, that can influence your vote. As it is, we may know the voting outcomes by tomorrow, but finding out the ultimate coalitions could take weeks as they try to come to some sort of agreement between the parties. It’s not uncommon to have four parties making up the ruling coalition.

One last bit of Dutch voting trivia: Here, you can have a friend, family member, or neighbor vote for you if you’re not going to be able to physically go vote on your own. You’d better have a lot of faith in that person, though! How tempting it could be to change the person’s vote if you don’t agree! ;) The stand-in voter does still have to be a Dutch citizen, however, so I wouldn’t be able to fill in for anyone.

The photo above is from the last election I voted in in the US before moving. No campaign (campagne) posters or materials are allowed past a certain point outside the polling place. Here, I’ve only really seen campaign posters in one or two designated spots. It’s certainly neater and cleaner! And here’s a photo from earlier this year at the municipal elections (gemeenteraadsverkiezingen). It’s a repeat photo, but it shows the use of stemstemdistrict — and has a bonus of a cute dog.
Waiting

Woordenboek Woensdag: Verkeer/Verkeerd

Dutch Lesson
I slacked a bit over the past few weeks on my Woordenboek Woensdag entries while my parents were here, but I’m trying to get back into the swing of things. I haven’t been doing much proper studying, but I’ve noticed recently that I seem to understand a little bit more of written Dutch and occasionally a bit more spoken Dutch, as well. I’m also trying to put together more sentences now, even if only in my head. Whether walking around town or lying in bed, I have little conversations in my head and try to see how much I can do in Dutch. Some times I do ok, other times I get stuck very easily. Of course, whether I’m right is a whole other issue!

Speaking of being wrong, this leads me to the words of the day: verkeer and verkeerd. They’re annoyingly similar but with very different meanings.

Verkeer (as seen in the photo above) is the word for traffic. We spent a lot of time in traffic last week coming back from dropping my parents at the ferry in Europoort, near Rotterdam. The drive there was quick and painless. The drive back took hours and was incredibly frustrating. Still, it gave me a topic for tomorrow, as you’ll see. Fortunately, I don’t have to deal with verkeer much in het dagelijks verkeer (in everyday life, or “in the daily traffic”), outside of fietsen verkeer (bike traffic).

Verkeerd, on the other hand, is an adjective or adverb meaning wrong. I suspect this is a word I should learn, since I’ll probably hear it a lot as I eventually try to speak more Dutch. Iets verkeerd uitspreken is what my dictionary lists as the phrase for mispronouncing something. I’m not quite sure how to use that, though. Would it be: Ik uitspreek iets verkeerd. ??

So, two more words for my slowly growing vocabulary. Let’s hope I can keep them straight and ultimately avoid both traffic and being wrong!

Woordenboek Woensdag: Zeilen

Plompetorengracht [Day 116/365]
Now that the weather has turned so nice, all of the canals around town are filled with boten (boats), from small kayaks to larger motorboats. With that in mind, I thought I’d look up the word for sailing. It’s times like this that I need help. There are a ton of words for the verb to sail: varen, bevaren, zeilen. Then there are different words for the gerund form, sailing: afvaart, bootreis, vertrek, vertrektijd, zeilsport. It all gets a bit confusing. Looking up each individual word doesn’t particularly help, at least not with my dictionary. I’m hoping someone else will be able to explain if there’s one use that is better than another in certain situations. I’m particularly interested in the right word for describing sailing in a canal, rather than on the high seas.

I did finally remember to look up Plompetorengracht, which is the name of the canal pictured above. From what I gather, it basically translates to Floppy Tower Canal. Even if plomp has some other meaning in this case, floppy tower is more fun to think about. The canal itself is quite old, dating back to around 1392, when it seems to have created along with the Nieuwegracht, the Kromme Nieuwegracht and the Drift canals to help with drainage. At one point, the canal was the headquarters for tradesmen, and around the middle of the 19th century, it was a neighborhood of the nobility. The somewhat grand buildings that line it now are used primarily as offices and the Cathedral Choir school is located there, as well. I think they had an open day recently.

I’ll round out this post with a few more photos of some of the boats you’re liable to see in the canals here in Utrecht.
Tour Boat
Bongo Boat
Grote Boot
Peaceful
Around the Bend
Arts the Beat Doctor

Woordenboek Woensdag: schoonmaken


Mijn ouders (my parents) arrive on Sunday, so this week ik ben een schoonmaker (I’m a cleaner). Fortunately, the gemeente (city council) seems to be joining me in cleaning things up a bit for their arrival. City workers were out today with weed-whackers to clean up the dandelions and other weeds that have sprouted up all over the place.

So yes, I’ve been doing a lot of cleaning. De grote schoonmaak (the big clean, aka, spring cleaning). It’s that time of year, and having visiting parents is an excellent reason for giving the whole house a thorough cleaning. Schoonmaken, the infinitive form of the verb to clean, is one of those Dutch verbs that splits up and rearranges itself. The first person, singular conjugation of the verb is: Ik maak schoon. On the surface, it seems a bit confusing, but really, when you break it down, it makes more sense. Basically, it translates literally to “I make clean”. Maken is the verb for to make and schoon means clean (in this case).

My question for all of you who know Dutch better than I do is this: If I want to identify what I’m cleaning, does schoon then come after the object or before? In other words, would it be “Ik maak het huis schoon” or “Ik maak schoon het huis”?

In doing my bits of research for this, it reminded me that schoon is also the word for beauty. Cleanliness is beauty, I guess! Also of interest and vaguely appropriate, since all of this cleaning is because of my parents’ arrival: the Dutch word for in-laws is de schoonouders. Depending on the length of the visit, I suppose that schoonouders are either a beautiful thing or something that you need to clean the house of. ;)

Woordenboek Woensdag: Willekeurige Spullen

I’ve been at a loss for what Dutch word(s) to write about today. I’ve been looking things up and listening to more Dutch tv broadcasts, but there have been no real breakthroughs for me and no words that strike me as particularly fascinating. So I figured I’d just write about random things that I’ve looked up, particularly since I have looked up the Dutch word for random (willekeurig) and found out that spullen is the Dutch word for things.

Spullen is the plural, while spul is the singular. When I saw it used in a sentence, it confused me at first, because I thought it was a verb. After all, the infinitive form of most regular Dutch verbs does end -en. Of course, -en is also a common way of making nouns plural. Obviously, I didn’t understand enough of the other words in the sentence to figure out through context and location. Rather than get frustrated at myself for getting confused, I prefer to simply look at it all as a way to make sure I will probably not forget spul(len) from now on. Baby steps!

The other random word of the week is (de andere willekeurig woord van de week is) mogelijk. This goes along with my other m~lijk words that I can’t keep straight. I’m getting much better with makkelijk (easy) and moeilijk (difficult), but then mogelijk would pop up and get me all discombobulated again. Using my own personal word associations, I’m trying to remember that mogelijk means possibly by singing Björk’s song Possibly Maybe in Dutch: Mogelijk Misschien. Possibly silly, but if it works …

Woordenboek Woensdag


We’ve been without phone and internet since Sunday afternoon. The reason? I like to think of it as the modern version of “the dog ate my homework”: my cat vomited on the modem. Mijn kat braakt op de modem. Echt! (Really!)

So that’s my new word for the week: braken (to vomit). I’m not sure if it was Luna or Lola who tossed her kibble, but regardless, it fried the modem. Being both a Sunday and a holiday (and Monday, Tweede Paasdag/second easter, also being a holiday), it meant that we couldn’t get anyone from Ziggo (our cable/phone/internet provider) to come out until today. We also learned through this latest misadventure that you can’t buy modems through a regular store, as you can in the US. It must come from your internet provider. We had thought to go to MediaMarkt or one of the other computer shops in town and just buy a new one, but soon found out that was not an option here. Another one of those small differences!

It turns out that was not the worst of our troubles this weekend. The electricity in the laundry/water heater room went out. At first we thought it was just a blown fuse. Of course, this problem was also discovered on Sunday and we were out of fuses and being a holiday and a Sunday, there were no shops open. Fortunately, it wasn’t too cold (since our heater is related to the hot water heater — the heater that broke recently), so we just bundled up a bit Sunday night and hoped to get a new fuse at the grocery store the next day. At the grocery store, though, we found out they no longer carried fuses. Argh! On the walk home, G thought to stop by the Potdeksel and ask if they had a spare fuse. They did! Unfortunately, it turned out that that was not the problem. The power still didn’t work!

So, yesterday, we called an electrician, and the news is that we’ll most likely have to tear up floors and/or walls in order to fix and update the wiring. Maybe the word of the week should have been “to cry”. That, or I could teach you some swear words in both Dutch and Italian.

On the bright side of things, last night was the monthly Quiz Night at the Potdeksel, and thanks to M (a Dutchie) being on our team, we came in 11th out of 14 teams. Our best finish yet!

On the downside of things (as seems to be the norm these days), I’ve had a debilitating sinus headache all day, and Pippo braakt in de slaapkamer (bedroom). Hopefully, we’ve come full circle.