More Adventures In Dutch Cooking #iPPP

by farrah on January 23, 2013 · 27 comments


I swear.. if it KILLS me I will get a grip on how to cook for my family over here. To date I have ruined cupcakes, pancakes, cookies, roasts and I’m sure other things that have slipped through the cracks of my brain when it comes to Dutch cooking. I actually don’t have much of an excuse- as I now get along with Elan (the stove) fairly well… but still find that I struggle with dinners. I’ve lamented my confusion with groceries and  how to cook in general.

I have my tools- I use my Google translate to help me navigate through directions on the recipes and ingredients on the box. I even have a little go-to converter that assists with what a ‘ml’ is vs. a ‘dl’ or an ‘el’. I know the US  measurement system is complex and an overall mess- but I KNOW HOW TO DO IT. I am not so great with all of these. If you’re listening Google Chrome (or some app designer) please make an app that I can take a photo of a box, upload it, and poof! Get it translated on the spot. Any idea how long it takes to type ingredients into Google while wrangling 3 kids? Not to mention spelling these ingredients is challenging to say the least.

Today for my #iPPP contribution I thought I would share some pics from the week (mostly tonight’s dinner) and try to show why it’s so difficult for me to master this art in a country that has (for the most part) different variations of meat & potatoes.

First up is a pic of a cup and saucer from littala that I bought yesterday. I saw these back in December at a local shop in the city center and just loved them. At the time it wasn’t convenient for me to carry them home- so I put it off. Well, the other day a new friend popped in unexpectedly for tea- and I had nothing to serve the tea. My (only) two coffee mugs were dirty and they were pretty blase. Thus, yesterday I was bound and determined to pick up a pair. Thanks to my husband for reminding me that I wanted them! The Le Creuset ramekin (backgound) will make the perfect teabag holder- and was on clearance for 3 euros. Nice.


Next up, tonight’s dinner. I am thoroughly confused. Back home if I made a roast type thing in a crock pot- I would add my veggies and come consomme or a bouillon cube, some beer- and maybe garlic. Here- I went to the butcher and tried to explain all of this. I just got a brand new crock pot from a friend of mine (huge score) and have been really missing mine from back home. I wanted to make a roast with veggies.

I went to the butcher and tried to explain what I was doing. I ended up with this- which cost me around 20 euros (!).


I had carrots and onoins- so when I placed my online grocery delivery over the weekend I (thought) I ordered bouillon and brown sugar. I have no idea what this is. The fact that the ‘boullion’ comes tea-bag style kind of freaks me out. Also shown- crystals of brown sugar. I was feeling quite smug that I had found brown sugar. Well, if this is the form of said sugar I may be in trouble. Those are the rock crystals at the bottom.


Here’s what it looks like all thrown into my UK Crock Pot (smaller than the US version) with dark beer, dash of soy, pinch of brown sugar crystals, and teabag boullion. Dinner will be.. as usual… interesting.




And lastly- to show that we aren’t totally unable to eat normal things, here is Chase dominating a flaky croissant fresh from the bakery around the way.



As always, a special thank you to Greta & Julie for hosting the grooviest linkup in town. Interested? Go read Greta’s post today and just join. It’s about as easy as you can get and the group of bloggers that participate are fantastic! ——> Sad to say I won’t be joining next week. A six day holiday in France  then Switzerland is calling our name. I wish this was going to be as fancy as it sounds– but the kids are coming with us.


{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Katie E January 23, 2013 at 11:46 am

I hope you enjoy your holiday next week – even with the kids 🙂 For some reason, the image of the bouillon teabag hanging out of your crockpot makes me smile. So how did it taste? Or is it cooking now? (Time differences confuse me.) I think all the ingredients having instructions in a different language – and not being able to get what I easily get at the grocery store here – would definitely throw off the little cooking skill I have!


2 farrah January 23, 2013 at 11:55 am

It’s cooking now! We are 6 hours ahead of est. so it’s almost 1pm (aka NAPTIME!!!)

I’m trying to figure out if I should throw another one in there? WHY IS THIS SO COMPLICATED?!?!?


3 Solon January 23, 2013 at 12:07 pm

OK I’m trying to determine if you are using only “new” recipes for everything you prepare or are you using any of your old recipes that you have used for years of cooking back home in N.C.? You say you’ve ruined cupcakes, pancakes, cookies and roast. Were you using your “tried and true” recipes, or new ones?


4 farrah January 23, 2013 at 12:22 pm

It’s a little of everything. The stove doesn’t cook my ‘familiar’ dishes the same and 99% of the time the ingredients have to vary. As for cupcakes or pancakes- I’ve tried their boxes and I’m not translating correctly. The brands are different so I’m kind of hoping for stuff to be the same when it’s totally different 🙂


5 Solon January 23, 2013 at 2:53 pm

Sounds as though you might be better off making everything from ordinary cooking ingredients that have not been pre-mixed. It may a bit more time-consuming than using pre-prepared mixes, but not as time-consuming has making something that turns out badly and having to throw it out and start over. Thank goodness for measuring utensils that have both liter/milileter and cup/ounces measurements on them.


6 sarah sundayspill January 23, 2013 at 2:27 pm

Farrah, woman, I feel you. I can’t wrap my brain around how to cook for my family either. I want my kids to eat and to eat GOOD things. But everyone knows I strongly dislike cooking. mostly because i’m not good at it. And when I’m hungry myself, I want to eat something that’s tasty. Not something I ruined or burned or messed up. I’ve even gone so far as to consider hiring a health coach! To actually go grocery shopping with me! To show me what to get and help me get organized! My sister (who is a great cook) thinks I’m nuts. She’s like, Sarah, it ISN’T rocket science. Just go to the grocery, bring it home, then fix something simple. But it’s not that simple for me. BUT, i’m getting better. Looking forward to reading more from you Farrah! #ippp good times ahead 🙂


7 farrah January 24, 2013 at 9:44 am

I’m glad you’re getting there. Cooking meals for our families isn’t easy- we all only want the best for everyone.


8 Kerstin January 23, 2013 at 2:30 pm

OMG, I just love reading about your adventures!
I am not homesick and have no intention of ever even visiting Germany again (long story), but your posts always make me remember home in a good way.
LOVE that cup!
(thanks so much for the nice comment on my blog!)


9 farrah January 24, 2013 at 9:46 am

Oh course! It’s true!! I need to hear this story as to why you don’t miss it… I have an expat friend in Ansbach right now- she has been there a month longer than we have been here, and she isn’t so crazy about it. Which may be a huge understatement. I want her to have the same experience I am having- but it seems some of the German influence isn’t quite as positive.


10 Mama Pants January 23, 2013 at 4:09 pm

The cup is GORGEO! I want boullion tea bags for some reason. And I am super impressed that you keep trying to make dinner work. I would have given up a million times!

Like Kerstin, I just love reading your adventures. I think you are so brave and a wonderful mama. I think I would lose my mind living abroad but you embrace it. I love that. And I get to live vicariously through you 😉


11 farrah January 24, 2013 at 9:47 am

You are too kind. I really hope that I convey that although yes- this is a neat thing to do– it’s still a huge struggle as a parent. We still have to struggle with bedtime, early wake ups & whatnot- but throw things like WHAT IS A BOULLION TEABAG>!! into the mix and it’s borderline insanity. It’s you guys that keep me laughing about it and sane.


12 Greta @gfunkified January 23, 2013 at 5:42 pm

That roast actually looks pretty delicious! I hope it turns (turned?) out that way. I would be SO frustrated if I had to do all the translating and converting before I even started cooking!

Um, that trip sounds like so much fun, even with the kids! Take some pictures and tell us all about it when you get back!!


13 farrah January 24, 2013 at 9:49 am

It was really good! In fact, probably the best one I’ve ever made. Too bad that cut of meat was over $20usd lol. Highly doubt we will be having that anytime soon!

Oh I cannot wait for next week. Indoor water park? Please be awesome! And I will not subject you to the blinding pics of my white self in a bathing suit 🙂


14 Audrey January 23, 2013 at 10:13 pm

Oh I hope it turns out! We’ve been trying new dinner ideas here, some have turned out well, and some haven’t. It’s all trial and error 🙂 It looks like it will be delicious!


15 farrah January 24, 2013 at 9:50 am

Good! What are you making? I’m always looking for suggestions and then things that I can try to find the ingredients 🙂


16 Julie January 24, 2013 at 12:18 am

First of all, crock pot FTW!

Second, I think I would have a meltdown if I didn’t have access to my usual ingredients. I remember when we move to New York from Texas in the late 80s, my mother was panicking because none of the spices were the same. Living without Tony’s and TexJoy made food interesting for awhile until we had family ship us some!


17 farrah January 24, 2013 at 9:51 am

My MIL is coming next month- I already have an amazon wish list created that I add to daily!

And I do love a crock. But without my go to campbell’s soup selection & etc. to use with the base, I am a little lost.


18 KerryB January 26, 2013 at 11:27 pm

I can’t cook here in America so my family would starve over there or we would not have a roof over our head because we would eat every meal out so bravo to you!
Second I adore me that cup!!!!!!!!!

You rock girl!


19 farrah February 8, 2013 at 9:43 am

Come have tea with me.. please?


20 Danielle February 1, 2013 at 12:28 am

Managing cooking with three amazes me.


21 farrah February 8, 2013 at 9:42 am

Isn’t it a challenge? Oh my word. It’s a wonder no one is burned or maimed each night.


22 Jen February 5, 2013 at 2:05 pm

Ok the tea bag is a herb bag for beef bouillon, so close! You just want to get the regular rundvlees bouillon blokjes. The sugar you bought is a fancy kind for putting in coffee, you usually see it in little bowls in cafes. You want the licht or donkere basterdsuiker, yes that’s it’s name!


23 farrah February 8, 2013 at 9:42 am

I found the right stuff! Thank you!!


24 Dirtymartiniqueen February 6, 2013 at 8:47 pm

We’re Expating as well but in Germany. We arrived in July and I just now feel like I understand the grocery shopping. I have missed my Campbell soups as well but have learned to “make my own” but I have a lot more free time than you do because we don’t have kids. I’m envious of your slow cooker because I miss mine…oh and my kitchen aid mixer, my microwave but it importantly my clothes dryer. Still it’s an adventure and I’m going to enjoy the next 3 years fully.


25 farrah February 7, 2013 at 7:33 am

Ok- HOW do you make your own???? And yes. Oh my kitchen aid! I left it in storage 🙁 It’s funny because I sit here and fret that time is going by too fast and this is going to be over before I know it- so yes- I totally get what you mean about getting the most out of the adventure 🙂


Leave a Comment

{ 2 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: