Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Dutch / American Santa Kiss Cookie WAR.

This is a Santa Kiss Cookie. A simple, delicious American Santa Kiss Cookie. Do you know it? It is a peanut butter cookie with a Hershey Kiss in the center. My Sister Kristy in Texas loves them and now for the past few years my Mom and I make them and we give them out to my Mom's friends and neighbors when I fly home for Christmas. We, of course, were going to do it again this year. However, unlike my sister, we decided to not make the peanut butter dough from scratch. We just did not have the time.

My Mom and I made about five dozen of our "short cut" version of the Santa Kiss cookies. (Plus a few other kinds of cookies) We wrapped them on Christmas plates for delivery and then my Mom asked if I would want to take some back to Holland? (I had already thought of this) Of course I wanted to! I would have some for myself and to share with Jur.

Then the little voices in my head started a conversation that went as follows:

"Would Jur like these?"

"Of course he will. He likes peanut butter and chocolate and cookies, He'll like them"

"Yeah but he likes fresh cookies, the Dutch like fresh things and you know how picky the Dutch are"

"Yeah but you can put them in a Tin AND you leave tomorrow"

"I don't know..... you have a lot to bring back already"

"But you can put them in your carry on"

"Yeah but you already have a suitcase full of  tamales, grape jelly, ranch dressing, 6 bags of chocolate chips, fajita seasoning, tortillas, cornbread mix, biscuit mix, 10 boxes of Mike Ike's. Plus your two tacos and your brisket sandwich and all the christmas presents, oh and the box of brownie mix."

"ENOUGH! These cookies are delicious. Everyone here loves them. The Dutch will love them too. We make them only once a year... for Santa! Jur will love them! I am taking them"

Okay, see, I love to cook. I love food! I am passionate about food and cooking. I have cooked (and ate) for years. I am not perfect at it by far but I really try and I have traveled all over the world and I find all food amazing. Which explains my obsession with my weight! I have lost all over 500 pounds in my life I am sure. Anyway moving here to Holland has been hard on my cooking.  The Dutch just have a completely different type of food palate and it is not like there were a bunch of Dutch restaurants in America that I grew up eating at. (I think I know why.) Now I am not going to blame the Dutch (entirely) but I have heard all kinds of frustrating things from Dutch people when it comes to cooking for them like:

"I don't eat breakfast" -  And they just don't! A lot of them. Well there goes a third of the day and delicious things like breakfast tacos, pancakes, monkey bread, waffles, IHOP, omeletes, biscuits and gravy, cinnamon rolls etc..... OUT!

"I don't eat beans" - No comment here EXCEPT to say that I am a half Mexican from Texas! NO BEANS! What the f#*!#K! What's left?  Don't even get me started on the time I was "encouraged" by many of Jur's Dutch family to make a bean-less chili and then watched in horror as they added chunks of pineapple to it!

"I don't eat sweets" - except of course they eat Apple tart and olliebollen (aka a DOUGHNUT with LOTS of powdered sugar (pictured)) or Stroopwafels, Nutella, and of course the famous Hagelslag (aka chocolate sprinkles) (which they eat almost daily!)

Also I am constantly discovering things like around Thanksgiving it became VERY clear to me that Pumpkin was not a favorite of the Dutch! ugh! I carved 8 pumpkins just to make two pies (They have no canned pumpkin here!) and ended up eating Dutch rejected pumpkin pie for three weeks.

I also have to deal with things like Jur not eating pork because they are smart and close to humans or something! (so no cooking with bacon, sausage or ham which NOW seems to be all I crave!)

Plus there is the fact that I am a foreigner. I GET IT. I know. I am not in America anymore. I just get sad when I cook and serve something and I get looks like I have just brought out the head of a Zebra on a platter! Cooking in Holland has given me paranoia. They hate my cooking. I think. I don't know. They're lying to me when they say they like my food. They all called each other to warn each other what I have cooked.  They all told their children in the car over that no matter what that crazy American cooks just eat it. My right eye twitches now whenever I even think of cooking for a Dutch person.

Somehow in Holland I have become that person or relative that brings over the dreaded annual fruit cake!

I tried to talk with Americans back home about this on my visit but they don't get it or they just laughed. My Mom tried to help me when she saw how upset I got thinking about what to cook for Christmas Eve at Jur's sister's house. I was to bring an appetizer.  Mom suggested 7 layer dip.

"My God Mother! Are you kidding? The uproar that would cause! and The BEANS Mother! No Beans! Don't you listen to me?! And where in the hell do you think I am I going to get corn tortilla chips? I can't  pack bags of Tostitos!"  My eye had a big spasm at the thought of the Dutch and Seven Layer Dip.

I actually decided to not make anything for the dinner and explained in a e-mail that Jur would bring something  on our behalf because I was too tired from my recent trip.

When I arrived back in Holland with my tin of Cookies and all my American groceries after a fourteen hour journey I was exhausted. United Airlines Economy Class had squished the Christmas Spirit right out of me. I had grown to hate everyone on the plane (in visible distance). From the lady who went to the bathroom eight times to the girl sitting two seats up and across the aisle, in seat 34B,  that dropped a skittle. I hated that skittle. I had become obsessed with that skittle! I contemplated that skittle for hours. She KNEW she dropped it and she just didn't care. She didn't even bother in the slightest to look for it! She just left it there. I wanted to get up and throw it at her! I needed to get off that plane and I needed to be home.

Jur was at the airport to greet me. I was happy. It had snowed in Holland. It was lovely. When I got home I was greeted by my cats. I, again, was happy. I was feeling good and had become excited about showing all my goodies from America with Jur. I was proud that I made it home with all that I did!  I felt as though I was kneeling before the King of Holland to present my treasures from the New World. I gave Jur all the wrapped gifts first (to be opened Christmas morning). The King was pleased....then he noticed my Velveeta.......

"You brought velveeta?" he said it with what my Dutch cooking paranoia instantly took as condescendingly.

My eyes met his like daggers "Yes I brought Velveeta and I am going to make Queso for New Year's Eve and if you don't like don't eat it. It will be me, my queso, and champagne ALONE and I have no problem with THAT!" Apparently jet-lag, the anger of the skittle girl and months of constant worry about what the Dutch think of my food exploded out of my mouth in response to Jur's judgmental Velveeta "question". He backed off and we moved on. Then he picked up my Welch's grape jelly bottle from the suitcase and I snatched it from his hands and just looked at him. He wisely said nothing.....and then.... the cookie tin.....he opened it, looked at it and what I perceived (still being debated) as nonchalantly said "oh" and put it aside. That was the straw that broke the cookie Camels back!

"You got a problem with my Santa Kisses?"

"What?" he said

"My Santa Kiss cookies. The cookies. My Mom and I made them for YOU. I brought them from America for you. What? You don't like 'em?"

"Oh. No they look good, thanks."

I just looked at him as he fiddled with the bow on one of the many wrapped gifts he had just received......"Well eat one."


"Eat.... one"

"No, I am not hungry right now. I just had coffee. I will later"

I could feel a tremor forming in my right eye. God I have only been back in Holland for two hours and already the damn Dutch eye cooking twitch was kicking in! "Uh huh, okay....we'll see" I said hesitantly clasping my jelly. I grabbed a can of jalapenos and Jiffy corn bread mix out of my suitcase and slowly made my way to the kitchen. Then all kinds of angry voices started up in my head "He doesn't want your cookies."  "He didn't even try them but he doesn't like them!"  "You better MAKE him eat those cookies." "They are trying to destroy you and your cooking." "Defend American Cookies Ken" "The Dutch are American Cookie Haters"..... eventually I calmed down and decided to wait and see.  Just wait and see. Time will tell.

That night, when Jur came home from work, I was aggressively looking for American Christmas music on iTunes radio. The fear of not hearing American Christmas music on Christmas (c'mon cut me some slack it is my first Christmas away from the States) had caused me to forget all about the whole Jur and Santa Kiss Cookie stand off. We greeted each other just like any other night. All was good. He fed the cats and changed whilst I listened to various renditions of a Little Drummer Boy. Then he sat down and ate a piece of bread with peanut butter. Then he had some chocolate covered peanuts and THEN he turned to me and said "what else should I eat?"

Now before I go any further, in Jur's defense, I just want to say that I seriously believe this was an innocent question (although this too is still being debated). To me, however, at the time, this question was the bullet that began what I now refer to as the Dutch American Santa Kiss Cookie War.

"Well there's a WHOLE tin of cookies just waitin' for ya in the kitchen!" All the Dutch cooking anger came back to me as I clicked off the jingles bells playing on my iTunes. My twitch started suddenly and terrifyingly in full force and I started speaking with a Texas twang which seems to happen when I start gettin' riled up.

"I will," he slightly snapped back

Silence as I looked at him ....and he sat there ...... four seconds later I snapped louder back "WHEN?"

"You can't force me to eat a Santa Claus Kissing Cookie Ken!"

"It's called Santa Kiss cookie and I knew you didn't like my cookies! They are perfectly delicious cookies!"

"I just don't feel like eating something like that at this time of night."

"Oh ...okay...I see but you don't mind eating bread with peanut butter and chocolate sprinkles or a handful of chocolate covered peanuts. Do ya? Huh?  Yeah, right, huh? Oh okay well that makes sense! You NEVER like my food (I know that is not true but I was upset at the time) GAWD  I have given up BEANS for you!, BREAKFAST and PORK! BACON. I gave up BACON for you and you can't even eat one damn cookie of mine? My Momma's cookies (I resorted to guilt)"

"FINE" he yelled as he stood up and cursed something stupid in Dutch. (which I didn't understand because I am only on week six of my Dutch class but I will one day!) " FINE Ken I will go eat the whole tin right now" and stormed off  to the kitchen

I chased after him "DON'T YOU TOUCH MY SANTA KISS COOKIES! You don't want 'em then don't eat 'em! You don't deserve them!"

We struggled for the tin until I finally let go of the tin (Jur is taller and stronger than me)  and  I said "This is ridiculous! I'm going to bed!"

The next morning I woke up and there was the empty tin on the kitchen counter. I was a little annoyed he didn't even save me one! I also considered checkin all the trash cans just to be sure but I was not going to stoop to that level.  As he slept I proceeded to make myself the biggest breakfast I could. Eggs, toast and hash browns with salsa. Making sure to drop a loud pot or two. I also added bacon to the grocery list.

I, of course, made us both coffee. He came in the kitchen. I poured him a cup of coffee.

He said "I liked the cookies. Did you notice?"

I said "Oh, yes.... thanks..... would you like some of my big breakfast?"

He said "No....... Thank you though."

As we sat there in peace it took all the strength I had to not ask him what we should plan to eat for Christmas morning breakfast. A special Christmas morning breakfast is a tradition.

I'll ask him tomorrow.

Merry Christmas Ya'll. Vrolijk Kerstfeest Ya'll


  1. A friend that I a met through Dutch classes coined the phrase "Culinary Savages" when referring to the Dutch. It is, mostly, one of the truest things I have heard to describe them.

    Interesting to note that I when I left the US I brought back some of the very same things that you did. Fajita seasoning for the win!

    If you weren't so far away (I'm in the frozen north), I'd suggest a beer and tacos night!

  2. Oh lord, you have my sympathy! My boyfriend is Italian (and his mother is visiting), so we're doing more of an Italian Christmas this year (again). Neither of them are breakfast eaters and I always feel like a pig when I have breakfast and lunch (they have a cookie or something boring like that for lunch). Worst of all, they don't appreciate or want my beloved Christmas breakfast tradition of a good pork roast sliced up and served on biscuits with gravy. I am determined to find a pork roast for next year and I'm determined to do my other Christmas food traditions next year, too. Dammit! ;)

    It's funny how the holidays can magnify things that we can usually deal with more calmly! Oh, and I'm totally jealous of your ranch dressing and the brisket sandwich. Happy holidays!

  3. Oh....
    First of all: Chili without beans. Enough said.

    I wanted to hug you by the skittle incident. And lets go back to the chili: Pineapple? Really? When does it end with these people ;) I have little to say about 'Dutch Cuisine' uhm...cuisine? hmmm.

    Merry Christmas!

  4. You can get canned pumpkin in the Netherlands!! I found some in a shop that carries American and British products on Voorstraat in Utrecht city center. And I made pumpkin pie for the department christmas party. It seemed to go over ok. Took about half of it home with me but the people who ate it did seem to like it! Also totally pigging out on Mexican food while I'm in the States for the holidays.

  5. Wow. I never had the slightest clue the Dutch were so picky! From they way you describe it they sound like a nation of 5 year olds . . . except they don't like sweets. Funny post though. You should start a cooking club for ex-pats living in your area. Then you can all get together, share American food and appreciate one another's cooking.

  6. damn now i feel so lucky that my Dutchie is a foodie and will try anything. Of course, that doesnt stop "the look" I get when i cook anything traditionally Irish. And it doesnt stop "the smug look" i get when he finally tries something and adores it HAHAHA.

    His parents are the same though, they always want me to try the dutch stuff then go all weird when i want them to try the Irish stuff!