Indra’s blog; About Oliebollen and Dutch Traditions
Of course, I have got to start this week’s blog with wishing you all the very best in the year to come. That 2019 may be more than you wished for and brings you and yours lots of love, laughter, health and happiness. I hope you had some wonderful days with family and friends around you, had some days off to relax and now feel that you are ready to start this New Year fresh.
Today, I do not want to talk about New Year’s resolutions, as by now you might have already abandoned them. If not and you are well on track, I applaud you and I hope you keep it up.
Instead, I would like to tell you about some of our Dutch traditions. You will often find me writing a bit about my Dutch heritage and I hope you don’t mind. It most definitely is a big part of me. Wonderfully enough I was reminded by one today in a bit of an unusual way. We were having dinner at the Red Lion Inn in Milfield with an odd group of Dutch friends. Some were over here to enjoy a sporting holiday, others came over here to work their dogs and there were Dutchies, like us, that have found their home in the UK. Most of them would normally not have met each other, but happened to be connected to us in one way or another and all were around on this evening that we, quite last-minute, decided to go out for a meal.
When we looked at the dinner menu we were happily surprised to see “Oliebollen” on there. (Yes, another blog about a menu; That’s two weeks in a row!) The explanation given was: Traditional Dutch dough balls deep fried to order with butterscotch sauce. Obviously it is a dessert. Literally, oliebollen would translate into ‘oil balls’ and really, I can see how any food cannot sound less appealing than that. However, they are more often referred to as ‘Dutch donuts’ or ‘Dutchies’ in translation. Traditionally they are eaten on New Year’s Eve, but most often the month before and after you will find them being sold in stalls on the street. It is a treat to most and you really cannot start the year without eating them, being dusted in lots and lots of icing sugar. They used to be either plain or filled with raisins (the latter not for me), but you also have the more fruity ones, which are my favourites: apple, pineapple, raspberries and so on. And always covered in a mountain of icing sugar. Ian of ‘The Red Lion’ created a bit of a strange combination with the butterscotch sauce, but ‘heyho’ to artistic freedom. As you can understand several portions were enjoyed at our table on the night. Even though it was a bit of a surprise to see these back on the actual menu, we have had them made before by Ian. He has been hosting our annual Dutch Kings Day celebration (the King’s birthday) and for the occasion he turns the pub into ‘The Orange Lion’ for the night; There are tulips everywhere and the Dutch flag is up, together with lots of Orange, our National colour. He serves a selection of Dutch dishes tapas-style to a group of Dutchies and some fans. Ian does a great job, considering he never saw or tasted any of these dishes in his life. Usually there is a bit of interpretation going on, which makes us laugh and we get a bit nostalgic, but sometimes it is so spot on. We love the effort!
If you happen to pass Milfield on your ways, go in and try the Oliebollen, but skip the sauce and ask for extra icing sugar; a lovely (not so healthy) Dutch treat! Make sure you clean those teeth well before bed though with all that sugar…
Brings us to a different note. The Dutch have been used to seeing their dentist (and hygienist) every six months for many, many years. To start off this was because of how the insurance system worked and that was the only way to keep yours valid. Now it has been changed over the years and the recall is more focused on the individual and their needs, however most patients will still go twice a year. In the UK, the shift has more been from a ‘go-when-you-are-having-pain’ to a preventative approach, where the people have started to see the value of nipping something in the bud before it gets worse and preventing the stage where teeth might not be able to be saved any more. For some it might seem that this has to come at a high cost, but here at Berwick Smile Dental Care we do offer a care plan where your regular dental visits to the dentist and the hygienist are covered. Paid in monthly instalments (or annually if you prefer), for a well reduced fee, it comes with lots of extra benefits. Hmmmmm, maybe I should start talking about New Year Resolutions again now…. I am sure you get the point though 😉
That your New Year may be bright of smiley happy people!