11 years ago, when I moved to Amsterdam, I had no idea about how different it would be to cook in my new country.
I was 46 and was brought up by a mom who prepared pretty much every single meal in my entire childhood and youth, and I’d been cooking for myself and my children forever.
I was a vegetarian at that time and had been for many years. I ate fish though, and cooking for me had always been to get the whole raw ingredients and start from there. So a whole salmon or a whole cod and a whole cabbage, head of salad, pepper, potatoes, a pound of butter from happy cows, and eggs from happy hens.
That’s what I was used to.
Living in Amsterdam I found out that people actually work much longer hours there than we do in Denmark. In Denmark most jobs were 8 hours a day with half an hours lunch time in those 8 hours, and a short day on Fridays, so people would go home at one or two instead of at 4 in the afternoon.
In Amsterdam it was 8 hours plus half an hour for lunch and no short hours on Fridays. On top of that everybody had to commute much longer than in Denmark. I spend at least an hour each way to get to and fro work and often more, which meant I was away from home 10½ hours each day, and that was normal, so I do understand that people want quick fixes when it comes to preparing their meals, but this was to a degree that it took me a long time to find out what to shop for and how to prepare it.
Maybe it’s easier if I just show you what I mean.
These where the vegetables I could get in my shop around the corner. Everything was cut, mixed, bagged and maybe with a recipe I didn’t know.
And then I found a market, and this was what I found there:
Okay, some of it looked a bit like something I at least had seen before. And if you think you can see a dried fish here and there in between all the vegetables, you’re right.
I also found lots and lots of these:
To be continued…