Sunday, October 4, 2009

Positive Thoughts About the Netherlands: Gezellig Dining

My first Christmas in the Netherlands was quite a dining experience. It consisted of a family gourmet session, and I was a gourmet virgin.

For those unfamiliar with the concept, a gourmet is, put simply, a hotplate and a mini-grill compact enough to take centre stage on the dining table. Diners cook their own meat and vegetables at the table. What could be more perfect: hosting a dinner party you don't have to cook for? Worse case scenario, you are expected to chop raw vegetables such as onions and peppers and prepare a few salads and sauces.
As a host you can spend the entire evening with your guests, instead of slaving and stressing in the kitchen. You have plenty of time to chat and catch up whilst the food is cooking. Gezellig. More importantly, if your guests go down with food poisoning the next day, they only have themselves to blame (unless you served meat passed its best of course....).

The variation on this is the fondue evening. Though of course this is by no means a Dutch invention, it has been embraced fondly, most likely because of its gezelligheid.

A fondue is also hassle-free dining, simple to host: simply head to the cooler at you local supermarket for the cheese fondue, chop up bread and some vegetables and voila - een gezellig avond. A feast of fruit with a chocolate fondue is also a real treat!

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