What would you do, if all your food looked different all the sudden?

Marked på Anthon Komplein i Bijlmer 038 Aparently this is rice in leaves of some kind and you cook it as you would cook an Uncle Bens bag of rice.

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:

Agurker (måske) Afrikanske kolonialvarer på markedet i Bijlmer Bønner i en lidt længre udgave Der er en anden slags agurker, pack choy og en del andet De små søde chilier fås i forskellige farver Det her ligner noget vi kender, men så igen Det sorte er tørfisk Eksotiske frugter og grøntsager og beklædning side om side på Anthon de Komplein i Bijlmer Frugterne kender vi, men hvad med grøntsagerne Gule og grønne madbananer og hvad er det andet Hvilken ret ville du koge af de her grøntsager Jeg genkender citronerne, genkender du andet Jo, det er tørrede fisk, der læner sig op ad det græskar Kokosnødder og rodfrugter Løg, tørfisk, ingefær og rodfrugter


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:

Mange yams og lidt løg OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Okay, there are a few dried fish in here also. I found later out that the brownish root thing is an African kind of potatoes.

To be continued…


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