On one of the very few days that we actually had some sunshine and warm weather here in the Netherlands I had to tell my friends that I would have to pass on a bike ride to the seaside. Luckily my prior plans — a day at the Neighbourfood Market in Amsterdam did not disappoint. Now I can take back all those nasty comments I’ve made in the past about the monotonous Dutch diet of cheese sandwiches and mashed potatoes.
In 1991 Judith Olney commented in the Seattle Post-Intelligncer that a market was a place “to buy food and walk around and stuff your face.” If not she said “you miss part of the primal experience.”(Susskind 1991) My boyfriend and I took Olney’s advice literally. We spent all day Sunday eating, drinking and laying in the grass by the canal resting our bursting bellies.
To start Patrick had a breakfast burrito, which he said would have been better if it they had left out the hash browns. I started with courgette balls, a Grecian speciality, wrapped in a warm pita with Tzatziki sauce, cucumbers, red onion and tomato. What I really liked was that all the vendors made the food on the spot. So you had people barbecuing sausages, crushing tomatoes on toasted bread for pan con tomato, and my favourite to watch was a baker from California icing a triple chocolate cake that Patrick had later in the day for dessert.
It was also interesting to find out that not everyone selling food was Dutch. Apart from the Calfornian family who have a bakery in Amsterdam called the Calibakery there were a couple of girls, who ordinarily work and study in Amsterdam, selling gluten free and dairy free goodies. I tried their vegetarian salad rolls and took home a piece of chocolate cake.
The website suggests that everyone bring their own cutlery, dishes or take away containers. I can’t say that the “use your own dishes policy” was strictly enforced I still saw a lot of paper and plastic circulating, but the idea was definitely there. As one of the photos shows organizers made the attempt for people to recycle plates, glasses and utensils by providing an area to wash dishes.