Sunday, October 11, 2009

Blog #4 My Bountiful Harvest!

Goedenmorgen Ya'll!  That is good morning in Dutch!  It is raining. The 7th day in a row of on again off again rain. Maybe the rumors are true the winters might be long, cold and wet. I was hoping it was an exaggeration. My California Cats are having a more difficult time with it. Murphy (my big fat black cat) is no fool and even if there is mist will not step out in the wet. He is indoor now. Marvin my half deaf cat seems to not get it.  He runs out the door and then stands stunned in the garden getting drenched looking every direction but up and seems to be saying "what the hell is going on" then runs in soaked. This happens daily.

As for me I am prepared.  I mended my sweaters, darned my socks, am thinking of learning to knit, I made lots of fruit preserves (even though Cathy my Dutch Sister in law) assures me there is fruit in the stores in the winter. What Pumpkin? I have secretly stocked up on can goods and candles. I am not sure why I am doing this. Maybe my years as a Boy Scout and being told to always be prepared. Perhaps it is also because one of the few American shows I can watch here in English is Little House on the Prairie. I have been watching  a lot of it and have started to feel like them. I am like a pioneer in a new frontier. Adapting to the land. The other day Cathy brought over a bushel of apples from her trees. No one seemed all that impressed with the bountiful gift. I, on the hand saw so much potential. I saw jars of apple sauce, apple butter, apple pie, candied apples, stuffing with apples, caramel covered apples, dried apples, apple muffins, apple juice, apple cider, Ben and Jerry's Apple Pie Ice cream, Apple jelly, Waldorf Salad and so many other things. The Dutch seem amazed at all the things I could or would do with an apple.

Apples affect me.  It was because of apples that I wanted to become Amish. I had a brief period in my teens, where I seriously considered adopting the Amish way of life. I had the privilege of getting to know the Amish people on a stop my family made on a trip to Hershey Pennsylvania. As we drove through Lancaster PA (Amish Land) I saw the Amish picking apples and working in the fileds. They seemed so peaceful and happy. We stopped at an Amish Store called All things Amish.  When I walked in I saw shelves and shelves of Amish breads, Amish fruit preserves, Amish butters, Amish cheese and Amish Apples. All things made with Amish love. I was in ecstacy. They had an Amish traditional clothing section and I begged my parents to buy me the straw hat and a pair of Amish boots. I think they thought it was cute that I showed an interest but they had no idea that I had decided, right there, in front of that wall of Amish baked goods, in the All Things Amish Tourist Shop Bakery I had found my people! I had recieved my calling and I was going to be devoting myself to the Amish way of life. I immediately put on the hat and boots. When I got a chance I put on my khakis and my long sleeve light blue dress shirt. I looked as close to Amish as I could with my limited suitcase belongings. What I wished for more than anything was suspenders but I could tell my parents already disapproved of my new way of life and that getting them to buy me suspenders would be next to impossible.  Even though my family disapproved I even wore my Amish traditional attire to Hershey Amusement Park. I loved that people looked at me and weren't sure if I was real or not. Was I an Amish renegade breaking from the sect to try some chocolate? I bet they were wondering if I was committing an Amish sin by being here. I think some of them wanted to take a picture with me. I felt like I was an Amish celebrity. Not to worry though I did not let my Amish fame deter me from the glories of Hershey Park and the CHOCOLATE! Let me tell you this Amish TexMex was getting WAY into the chocolate. I fell for Mr. Hershey’s pitch hook, line and sinker and, as quick as it had started, on that day, I gave up my Amish way of life and decided to devote my life to becoming a chocolatier! (that is a whole other chapter of my life.) My parents were so relieved they bought me a 2 lb Hershey Chocolate Bar to celebrate the news!

But now holding Cathy's apples here in Holland I felt a bit Amish again. How could no one be as excited as I am about these apples? These apples just might save our lives and get us through winter. 

The first thing I decided to attempt to make was a Dutch Appel (that’s Dutch for apple not a spelling mistake) Taart (very different from good ole American Pie). One of the few things all Dutch seem to like to eat. The Dutch are fussy eaters. Jur told me that I can't make the taart because the apples Cathy gave us were not the right kind of apples. Now, I know that there are many different apples and they are used for different things BUT I tasted these apples, they are free apples, we have a cornucopia of them and they are delicious! Plus when you mix it with cinnamon and sugar and a BUNCH of buttery brown sugar dough it is going to be freakin' delicious no matter which apples you use. Jur and I went back and forth on this. 

He says “I tried to make the Appel Taart when I was in the States but the US did not have the right apples."

I said “Oh, I see, so EVERY Apple Pie I ever had in the States was not right then, huh? Is that it?"

He says "no it is just different; these are not good apples."

I, now angry at his disregard of the gift of our live saving apple bounty, snap back "well if you were one of the Ingalls on the Prairie you would be thrilled to have an appel taart made from these apples. Hell, you know what? If you knew anything about the pioneers you would be happy just to have an apple at all!"

I heard him say "what?" as I stomped to the kitchen with my apples. It did occur to me that I may need to cut back on the Little House on The Prairie.

Anyway the Appel Taart turned out great! I loved it! Jur did too although he said it was a bit grainy (whatever the hell that means) and like a stubborn, persistent, never budging, fussy, typical Dutch person, said  (in what I believe was a very rehearsed, passive aggressive response).

"Yeah it is good. Good job. Delicious. I would be curious to see what you think of one made out of the apples I was talking about."

Ughhhhhh, ..... well I know The Ingalls would have loved it!

By the way school is fine. I will get you all up to date on that soon and my bike riding adventures as well but I just had to get this winter, food, apple drama off my chest!  
(UPDATE Jur admitted he liked my Appel Taart when I noticed a piece was missing and asked him about him about it.)


  1. Just this week I was having dinner with some Dutch friends and found out that the Little House books were quite popular here. I had no idea anyone here would be familiar with them. Now they're popping up again in your blog!

    We have a small potted apple tree on our back terrace. I have no idea what type of apples they are, but since my boyfriend and I are not Dutch, I guess it doesn't matter. We'll eat them and be quite happy! ;) Enjoy your bountiful bushel!

  2. Long live LHP!!! (That's me and my friends' acronym for Little House on the Prairie.)

  3. Flippity Flop Flip Flop...and the winner is....Iron Chef Ken! I am so happy you baked that secret ingredient taart, in the face of adversity. AND that it turned out so well. There's just no pleasing some people.

    All by myself, I cleaned out 30' of rain gutters on my house. It took quite a while and some effort. My sister visited later and I, with excitement, told her what I had done all by myself. She said, "You cleaned the wrong gutters." ? "It is my house, my dirty gutters, how could they be the wrong ones?" I asked. "YOU CLEANED THE WRONG GUTTERS.") Like I said, there's just no pleasing.....darn it! Your appel taart sounds so good compared to the poison pancakes I am getting ready to make for myself -- ALL BY MYSELF.

  4. Well written, my friend. I love the "passive-aggressive" response of Jur. A signature Dutch response. lol

  5. Little House on the Prairie? Dear god. You do know that Amazon UK will deliver Region 2 DVDs to Holland, right? Being reduced to nothing but LHotP is too much of a punishment to bear, no matter how fun the country is otherwise.