Saturday, July 21, 2007

Maybe this is why the Dutch don't have PDAs (a/k/a Marlo, I ate the fish!)

The Dutch don't seem to be big on public displays of affection (PDAs). You don't see couples kissing and most of the people you see holding hands or walking with their arms round each other are tourists. Although the Dutch do maintain the practice of kissing on the cheek when greeting friends (three kisses - left, right, left), I haven't witnessed this on the streets or in cafes. I have one possible explaination for the lack of kissing...

After exams, I walked up to the herring stand to try the herring, as promised. I don't know what I was thinking because I hadn't eaten breakfast yet and my adrenaline was shot post-exam. However, a promise is a promise so I did it.

The stand had a picture menu of the varying offerings, but I couldn't tell which picture had what I wanted, which was to try the traditional Dutch herring. Allegedly, it is brined and not raw. I walked up to the lady manning (is there a different verb for this - it seems odd to have a woman "man" something) the stand and told her I was there to try something new. She said, "You want to try the traditional Dutch herring?" I replied affirmatively. She asked if I wanted it in a sandwich or by itself. I figured I already know what bread tastes like so I took it without the bread. She asked if I wanted onions and pickes. I told her that I wanted it however she would eat it herself. She said, "With onions and pickes then!" and proceed to liberally apply both.

It wasn't like I expected. I should have known, considering the blandness of Dutch traditional food, that this would be mild. It was unexpectedly mild. Even the onions where mild. The fish didn't really taste like anything, not smoked nor brined nor pickled. In fact, the green pickles had the most flavor of anything in the dish. It wasn't bad - but it wasn't anything to write home about either (although I am writing home now). There were two herring fillets in the serving. I ate one and tossed the second. I just wasn't really enjoying it. Like the pancakes and the fries, I'm glad I tried them once, but probably won't be partaking again - at least not in this trip.

(P.S., For any who doubt that I ate the herring, I have a super-unattractive picture of me taking a bite. It is difficult to eat something while holding a camera backwards to catch a self-portrait. I refuse to release this shot electronically, either on the blog or via email. However, I might be willing to show it to certain skeptics upon my arrival home.)

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