I Don’t Think We’re in Kansas

Not Quite Right
Yesterday morning — despite our no-ads sticker on the mail slot — we got this flyer delivered. I can’t help but love it. It’s such a beautiful mash-up of America, Dutch-style.

The front is almost over-the-top American with the big flag and the sexy girl dressed up in Daisy Duke shorts, midriff-baring western shirt, and cowboy hat and boots. Yet, there’s just something about the girl that doesn’t look American. I keep thinking she looks a bit more Eastern European. It’s a subtle distinction. And of course, on top of all this American symbolism, there’s the almost jarring (from a US-perspective) inclusion of the Dutch text, which in this case says: De lekkerste van Nederland! (That would essentially translate to “the best tasting in the Netherlands”.)

Then you flip the flyer over and things get even funnier!
American Spareribs.NL
Things start off well enough with the spareribs, although some of the sauce options may be a bit different from what you’d get in the US. At least one of them is probably more of an Asian flavor with the sweet chili sauce (I’m not sure if that’s the Sweet or the Chilli. Chilli con carne tastes different here, too) Then you get to the cowlsalade. I’m pretty sure that’s supposed to be cole slaw. The cole slaw we’ve had at the Broadway steakhouse on the Oudegracht was quite good, but you never know. The only recipe I could find for cowlsalade didn’t actually have any mayonnaise (or any other sauce) in it at all.

But then you get to the funny part. The next item on this American-themed menu? Kipsaté. (Chicken satay) To be honest, I think you would be hard-pressed to find any restaurant in the Netherlands that doesn’t have saté on the menu, be it high end or snack bar; it’s everywhere. It’s not that it’s unknown in the US, but it’s just not something that you see all the time. When you get just a further bit down on the menu to the American Combi Grill option, it’s kind of funny to see ribs, chicken drumsticks, and good ol’ saté make up the American combination platter. Today is the Fourth of July — Independence Day — in the US, and it’s a tradition that lots of people will be grilling today to celebrate. Ribs and chicken (and burgers, hot dogs, steaks and even veggie burgers) will be sizzling on the grills today, but I’m pretty sure your average American won’t be grilling up some chicken saté. Kabobs maybe, but not saté.

They do offer the American Burger XXL, “a real American double cheeseburger”. I wonder what cheese they use. Probably goudse. The burger comes with the usual toppings such as lettuce, tomato, onion and pickle, but they also throw in cucumber for that little something different. There’s also a special “hamburger sauce”. No telling what that could be. Thousand Island dressing, just like McDonald’s Big Mac “special sauce”?

Speaking of sauces, they have a whole section devoted to sauces, but even here, they’re so very Dutch. Knoflooksaus (garlic sauce and very tasty), whiskysaus, shaslicksaus (I have NO idea, seems to be some sort of bbq sauce), currysaus, fritesaus (basically, mayonnaise), appelmoes (apple sauce), and of course, saté sauce. There’s one other sauce listed: American fritessaus. Frites are fries, so it’s American fries sauce. You’d think that would be ketchup, wouldn’t you. You’d be wrong. It’s also mayonnaise. I’m not really sure how it differs from regular fritessaus. Can anyone offer a good explanation? For what it’s worth, there’s no ketchup listed in the sauces. I’m not sure it’s available at all. I prefer mayonnaise for my fries, anyway, so it’s not a loss for me, but it’s still funny to think of an “American” restaurant not having ketchup.

When I was joking with G about the menu and the subtle differences, his response was, “Welcome to my world.” He’s right; now I know how he feels any time he goes into an “Italian” restaurant. Similar base ingredients are there, but what is done with them from then on can be quite different! It’s not bad, it’s just different.

We picked up a package of ribs at the grocery store for today’s celebration. Unfortunately, they’ve already got their own marinade/seasoning, so I can’t do my voodoo that I love to do. There were three options in the flavoring: Indian, Piri Piri, and Texan. We went with Texan. I’ll let you know how that goes.

(This post is dedicated to Kerryanne and Ken, a couple of fellow Americans I got to spend an enjoyable evening with last night. One of our topics of conversation was the differences in foods. I’ll never think of potato salad in the same way!)

Zondag! Zondag! Zondag!

Zondag! Zondag! Zondag!

I was flipping through one of the free papers we get (the Stadsblad, if you’re interested) when I saw this ad. Oh yes, monster trucks have made their way to Europe! Of all the things to import, I think this is one of the strangest ones. Of course, I did see a great big Hummer the first day we moved here, as we were driving in from Amsterdam, so I guess I shouldn’t be completely surprised.

Rednecks are universal.