A Blog by International Students at Leiden University

A Dutch food tradition for the holidays

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It’s that time of the year again where everyone is spending time together and having dinners together. However as students on a budget and without tons of space hosting a three or five course meal isn’t really an option for most of us. So instead I want to introduce you to this Dutch food tradition that requires very little space or preparation, and which I personally have fond memories of from my childhood. This delicious tradition is called gourmet

Deriving from the French word gourmandises (meaning something along the lines of ‘exclusive bites’), the Dutch tradition of gourmet is a style of communal cooking where you prepare tiny versions of food on a grill plate or the small pans that come with it. While the origin of the word might be French, the cooking style is most likely an adaption of  cooking styles brought over from parts of Asia by people wo moved from the Dutch colonial areas to Europe. It was popularised as a form of cooking in the rest of the Netherlands in the 1970’s when the meat industry ran a campaign to promote this form of cooking for Christmass. Nowadays it has spread to being a popular activity for any holiday that includes big dinners such as Sinterklaas, birthdays or new years as well.

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What makes gourmetting so much fun and so easy, is that the wide varity of options means everyone’s dietary preferences can be taken into account, as everyone can bring small portions of their own favourite food. Some of the common food besides meat like little burgers, sausages or steaks, that you might use for gourmet are pieces of fish, carrots, mushrooms, bean sprouts, onions or bell pepers. But many people also make omelettes or little pancakes in the frying pans that come with the gourmet set. Usually there’s also sauces and spices on the table to marinate the food as well as salads, bread and dips to eat while you’re waiting for your food to be ready. Additionally it allows you to also play some games, exchange gifts or just talk with each other during the dinner, as noone has to stay in the kitchen to prepare, nor is there the pressure to finish eating something before the next course comes around, as everyone can decide their own pace!

Please let me know if you’ve tried gourmetting before and if you liked it, or whether you’re planning on doing it in the future (like with new years maybe?) and any ideas of foods that would be great to use for gourmet?!

Happy holidays everyone!!

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This entry was posted on December 28, 2019 by in Culture, Ilse, Living in Holland, Local Customs, Student Life and tagged , , , , .

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