Food serves many purposes and can nourish us in many ways. Meeting our daily nutrition and caloric requirements is the primary means of nourishing, but this weekend I experienced another, very significant form of nourishment.
I spent the weekend in the town where I grew up, celebrating the life of a woman who I thought of as an aunt. She was a dear friend of my parents, and, like my mother, was a Dutch woman raising her children in the US. For our families, like many straddling two cultures, maintaining the “other” one can become a more focused intention than if we still lived in the “old country”. For this reason, having Dutch food together always held a special significance.
At yesterday’s reception, the American catering company nailed the subtle particulars of typical Dutch food. We had “broodjes”, loosely translated as sandwiches, but not exactly. I had a “broodje kaas” – a soft, white flour roll, generously spread with rich butter and hugging a folded slice of gouda cheese. Several broodjes were following by a piece of “appeltart” – a classic Dutch cake consisting of wonderfully rich, buttery, not-too-sweet dough surrounding a delicious combination of sliced apples, currants, sugar, butter and spices in a thicker-than-American-apple-pie layer of filling. The cake is completed with a decorative woven pastry top. Slices are thick, and in Dutch are referred to as a “point of cake”.
I generally do not eat white flour, sugar and butter in quantities like I did in this meal. I no longer like the taste, the texture or the feeling it leaves me with afterwards. However, the extent of soul nourishment that this lunch offered was unparalleled. It felt like both broodjes and the appeltart bypassed my stomach and went straight to my heart, the organ which was feeling empty and craving nourishment. Foods and flavors from my childhood, from the home and country of the woman we were celebrating was able to fill me up with needed nourishment which, in that moment, could not have been accomplished by whole grains and beans.
To satisfy your curiosity, let me suggest that you visit a fellow wordpress blogger, who has posted a tantalizing photograph as well as a recipe (in English) of Oma’s Dutch Appeltart at http://kiskillilla.wordpress.com/.
And enjoy. Smakelijk eten.