Saturday, December 3, 2011

Allerhande Everywhere

Every two months or thereabouts, the Albert Heijn publishes another edition of its in store magazine, the Allerhande. Like most free publications, it has more ads than content, and, as expected, is geared to "help" you make budget-conscious and nutritious meal choices for your family--by shamelessly plugging Albert Heijn products whenever and wherever they can. Nevertheless, it is one of the few things that suits my Dutch reading level--hindered more by my lack of patience than my lack of understanding--as the articles in it are short and brief and there are lots of excellent pictures of food. Though stamppot never did manage to look sexy.

The Allerhande is stuffed with recipes: 10 ways to make soup! 15 ways to make stamppot! A week's worth of dinner ideas! Special (but easy) recipes for the holidays! These recipes are not especially complicated, and they actually produce quite a decent meal--what I like to think of as "in-law" level food; as in, something you'd serve your in-laws to show that you can cook, but not something so delicious that they'll want to invite themselves over every day. Much though I love my almost-in-laws, our apartment is small, and stressing about food is something I hate doing.

I am a rather lazy cook, to tell the truth. I'll cheat whenever I can, and there have been days (mostly when Karel's working) that I've taken a can of something from our pantry, and a fork, and called it a meal. It's not that I don't enjoy the process of cooking. It's more that it takes me a while to get into my little groove, and most days I just don't have the time to settle into a rhythm. Karel, on the other hand, loves cooking, but his work schedule is so erratic that we might manage to have dinner together once a month.

But next week, Karel is at home. And that means lots of good eats...based entirely on stuff out of the Allerhande. Even the stamppot that we'd decided to make came out of the Allerhande, and with the sole exception of our weekly spaghetti, there isn't a single recipe on it that we've thought of ourselves. It'll be a strange week, full of food that we wouldn't normally eat--zuurkool and pompoen and spitskool and paddenstoelen fond (actually, the recipe called for a bouillon, but I couldn't find it). That I am actually looking forward to eating these very Dutch things is a bit scary. But not nearly as scary as the thought that, if we like the things, and if they aren't too terribly complicated to make, we might actually start depending on the Allerhande for future meal suggestions.

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