I am very happy to report on this month's Foodie Penpals package--not just because of its contents, but because of its presence to begin with. First I didn't hear from my original penpal, and had to be assigned another. Then, my postman left a "while you were out" slip on a day when I was actually home and could have answered the door; I had to reschedule delivery for the 29th, then sat around watching the clock all day and waiting for my doorbell to ring. Around 5 PM, just when I'd given up hope, I was finally called downstairs to sign for my parcel and see what delights awaited within.
My benefactor this month was Kim, who, like myself, is an American expat living in Europe. Unlike me, however, she lives in Holland, which means that she has access to all sorts of tasty treats that are either absent from, or difficult to find in, the UK. In a letter enclosed in the package, Kim wrote: "...these are a few things that I have discovered as being 'typically Dutch,' that I'd never had before I came [to Holland]."
The savory items in Kim's package include runder rookworst (smoked beef sausage), curry ketchup, and an herb and spice mixture for preparing nasi goreng (an Indonesian fried rice dish). The cooking instructions on the back of the last of these suggest that you use it with chicken, which I actually had planned to make for dinner on the very evening that I received the FP parcel. However, because I also had some other ingredients that I needed to use right away, I decided to hold back the nasi goreng for use on another night.
The sweet items included Stroopwafels, Venco Drops (Soft & Sweet), and miraculously, Lotus biscuits. You'll notice that the package of biscuits had already been opened by the time I took this photograph, and that is because I just couldn't wait to dig in. Lotus cookies are very common in British cafes, where individually wrapped biscuits are served alongside teas and coffees. I'm not really much of a biscuit person in general, but I absolutely adore these, and I've never seen more than one at a time. It will be interesting to see how long I can make these last; I don't give myself more than a week.
I have a few Dutch acquaintances, and I once overheard them arguing about Stroopwafels--specifically, whether they should be eaten straight, or dipped into hot beverages and allowed to go soggy before they are consumed. I can guess which one of those styles I will likely prefer, but I will give them both a try--I am a scientist, after all, and experimenting is what I do for a living. I think my taste buds will manage to cope with the experience.
Thanks very much to Kim and her quick culinary tour of Holland--these snacks will help tide me over until I finally get a chance to visit The Netherlands myself!