The Dutch Truck

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

My mom is Dutch. Her parents and her brother and sister were all born in the Netherlands. My mom was born in Canada where my grandparents lived for a few years before ending up in California. Growing up my mom spoke Dutch, ate Dutch food, had Dutch friends, and travelled back to Holland to visit family. When I was really young I spent quite a bit of time with my Oma and Opa. Often my Opa would be telling me a story and halfway through he would lapse into his native language. I would have to pull on his arm and remind him to switch back to English. 

Oma loved to indulge me with sweet Dutch treats so I grew up on Zout (black licorice that often has a salty taste), almond cookies, pannenkoeken (crape-like pancakes), stroopwafel (a carmel waffle cookie), and more.
Nine years ago when RJ and I visited my family in the Netherlands one of my favorite parts of the vacation was the food. Zout is difficult to find in the US but over there I could find entire stores devoted to it. Not to mention the herring with onions, freit and mayo (french fries with mayonnaise), Vla (dutch pudding) and more.

Just a few weeks ago a new friend learned of my heritage and shared the most delicious news - once every 6 weeks a Dutch Truck comes into town. The truck travels from San Diego to Fresno selling treats from Holland: with everything from hagelslag (sprinkles on toast) to special soy sauce and cumin flavored cheese (a favorite of mine). 

sorry for the poor quality pics. I grabbed my good camera to take photos only to find that the battery had died
I absolutely love the way that an old song, a specific taste or a lingering scent can transport our minds back to a long-forgotten memory. Those emotions rolled over me yesterday when the Dutch Truck driver, Erik, pulled open his drawers of goods. Much like the nostalgia that gripped when I set food in The Netherlands for the first time, I was instantly flooded with warm feelings and sweet memories of my grandparents. I lost my Oma and Opa years ago but I still miss them and think of them often. Their Dutch heritage is something I'm particularly excited to share with my boys.

And, see that photo of the coffee and bitten cookie in the top right hand corner - well, that cookie is a mini-miracle. Oma used to regularly feed me almond cookies when I was young. For years and years and years I've tried to find those cookies. While in Holland I searched high and low and never found the exact right thing. Recently I found a cookie at Whole Foods that tastes almost exactly right but the consistency is off. When Erik rolled up with his truck yesterday the first thing I asked about was almond cookies. He handed me a package certain that he had the correct ones - and he does! Those are them; and they are just as delicious as I remember!


Anonymous said...

I'm envious. You must have had so much fun checking out and buying all those Dutch treats. Got to plan my next trip down when the truck is in town. Mom

Ryan and Camille said...

I want a tour! You should stock up and when we come into town you can give us a "Food tour" of the dutch foods. Maybe we can swap and I can do some Mexican ones ; )

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