We organised a small party yesterday at our house. Since we had moved to France we hadn’t organised a party here yet. We had hosted dinners, but those were with smaller groups. It was nice to have a bigger group of people over again. We will definitely organise more parties this year. I’m thinking of organising a movie night in our garden for example. But more about that later. First back to our Dutch party. 

We decided to organise this Dutch party because we had the chance to bring back some Dutch foods and drinks a few weeks ago when we visited the Netherlands. It was nice occasion to show the cheese loving french people that Dutch cheese can be very tasty and special as well. So we brought back some cheeses from the Netherlands and Eduard went to a beer specialty shop in Delft to buy some special Dutch and Belgian beers to taste at the party.

Next to that I also bought some typical Dutch things that weren’t very culinary. I just believed they are those cliche pieces that are always placed on a Dutch table during birthdays. Things like ‘kwarktaart’, the Dutch cheesecake. The cheese cake that takes exactly 5 minutes of preparation and turns into a perfectly fine and fresh cake with no effort at all. I had lots of those kind of things. I had things for the deep frier, cheeses that you just cut into not so perfect cubes, veggies with a simple dip etc. 

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I had so much time left with all these simple dishes, that I decided to write the names of the things you could try out during the party on the table. I used kraft paper to cover the table and at first I was thinking of writing all the names down with a permanent marker, but I soon found out that a piece of chalk also worked. I believe this was appreciated by the guests and it was funny at the same time to hear French, Italian, Austrian & Chilean people pronounce Dutch words. 

You can see on the pictures below how the table turned out and learn some Dutch words while you are at it.

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dutch party table setup

While I was preparing the table for the evening, I had a feeling of discomfort. Very strange feeling that had to do with all the time that I had during this day. Normally if we hosted a party in the Netherlands, I would make things that weren’t specifically Dutch and I would have to stand in the kitchen for at least 1,5 day and stir in some kind of pan for hours and hours. Like we do things in the Balkans. But yesterday things were different. I could simply start the preparations 2h before the arrival of the guests and all would be fine as well.

And when I have time left, I start to think. Which isn’t always a positive thing. I started thinking about emancipation. I tried do link emancipation and culinary expectations of the Dutch society. And the thing that crossed my mind now was, that the Dutch society had paved a way for female emancipation with the low culinary expectations they have. And with all these super efficient products they have invented for the ‘house wife’. Products which make you whip up a perfect cake in only 5 minutes. I kept on wondering how it was possible that Dutch women score very low on general emancipation barometers in context with these low expectations when it comes to this typically female diligence like cooking. You would expect that Dutch women would have all the time of the world to work outdoors, since they didn’t have to do a lot in the household.

I for example remembered my Macedonian grandmother, who would start her cooking every day in the morning and finish it up in the late afternoon and she even had a job before she retired (early). When my grandfathers niece from Macedonia – who is a retired judge – visited my mother in the Netherlands, and saw how she now whipped up a whole dinner in only 15 minutes she was amazed and said it was a revolutionary thing. She thought it was a step forward in evolution. No time was lost standing behind the stove.

But Dutch women weren’t cooking and weren’t working. What was this all about? How was this possible? I could only come up with one conclusion: the Dutch women have somehow moved beyond these typical societies and they have created this grand position for themselves, where they don’t work, don’t cook and just enjoy themselves. While their emancipated better halves take care of the children, cook and clean – while bringing in the money as well. The new kind of emancipation. Yes, that must be it! They have created paradise for themselves. Never underestimate the Dutch woman!

NB: The 5-minute ‘kwarktaart’ was the winner of the evening.