Tag Archives: food history

Dutch Hutspot: Smashed Potatoes Plus

It is time to follow my Dutch ancestors into the kitchen and make some Hutspot.

 

Dutch House

Dutch House, Newcastle Delaware

See the history of this charming house in Newcastle Delaware here.  While it has undergone many “updates” during its long history, the kitchen was restored with loving care to its early roots.

Dutch Kitchen

The kitchen of the Dutch House in Newcastle Delaware

As I browse the Internet looking for some typical Dutch food, I am reminded of the close connection between Holland and Indonesia.  Those sturdy Dutch burghers had some decidedly spicy foods in their repertoire.  But the Dutch American pioneers who settled Nieuw Amsterdam–some at the same time that my Puritan ancestors were populating New England–were up against the same constraints that the Puritans were when it came to exotic ingredients. So they probably stuck with mixing smashed vegetables with some cured meat.

Interestingly, one of the most popular group of dishes in the Netherlands today would not have existed in Europe prior to the settling of the Americas.  Potatoes made the trip from America to Europe in the 17th century, and the Dutch threw them into the pot to make a hearty supper that they had previously made with parsnips.

The one-dish meals, known as Stamppot, get their protein from cooking meat to make a broth, then cooking the vegetables (always including potatoes) in the broth. What makes it different than English stew is the fact that the vegetables are smashed–not left whole, and not finely mashed. The sliced meat is served on top or alongside the Stamppot.

According to Wikipedia (and numerous other sites), there is a legend that comes with the dish.

According to legend, the recipe came from the cooked bits of potato left behind by hastily departing Spanish soldiers during their Siege of Leiden in 1574 during the Eighty Years’ War, when the liberators breached the dikes of the lower lying polders surrounding the city. This flooded all the fields around the city with about a foot of water. As there were few, if any, high points, the Spanish soldiers camping in the fields were essentially flushed out.

So the Spanish soldiers fled, leaving a pot of parsnip (or potatoes) and carrots behind. The Dutch invaders unsheathed their forks and ate the “spoils of war”. The legend includes a holiday on October 3, when the victory over the Spanish is celebrated by eating a lot of hutspot.

The Dutch word Hutspot (shaken pot)  becomes Hotchpot in English, which leads to the word hodgepodge–an indiscriminate mixture of unrelated things.

Did you know that carrots used to be white or perhaps other colors, but when carrots arrived in Holland in 1740, they were bred to a bright orange color to honor the royal house of Orange
Hutspot

Colorful carrots in Hutspot

Hutspot is just one of an array of similar dishes that collectively are called Stampot–cooked potatoes smashed up with some other vegetables.

  • Hutspot: Potatoes and carrots and onions (with beef).
  • Boerenkool: potatoes and kale (with sausage).
  • Hete Bliksam: potatoes and apples (with salt pork).
  • Zoorkoolstamppot: potatoes and sauerkraut (with smoked sausage or bacon).
  • Andijviestampot: potatoes and endive (with bacon).

And on and on.

When I cooked Hutspot, I deviated from the traditional by leaving out the beef. Instead I served chicken with a Gouda cheese sauce, which allowed for dribbling some cheesy sauce over the Hutspot. Yum.

Gouda Cheese

Smoked Gouda shredded for cheese sauce

Dutch Hutspot

Serves 2-4
Prep time 5 minutes
Cook time 1 hour
Total time 1 hour, 5 minutes
Allergy Milk
Dietary Gluten Free
Meal type Main Dish
Misc Child Friendly, Serve Hot
Region European
Hutspot is one of many Dutch one-pot meals smashing vegetables with potatoes and flavoring with meat.

Ingredients

  • 1lb carrots (cut in small chunks)
  • 1lb potatoes (cut in quarters)
  • 1lb onions (diced)
  • 2 bunches butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • dash pepper
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk

Directions

1. In large pot, cover onions and carrots with water. (If using bacon or salt pork, place chunk on top). Cook about 35 minutes--until carrots are soft.
2. Remove bacon and vegetables and set aside. Cook potatoes in same liquid until falling apart.
3. Drain liquid and reserve. Add carrots and onions back to potatoes and mash just until chunky. Stir in butter and salt, adding some reserved liquid if mixture is too thick.
4. If using bacon, slice and serve on top or alongside vegetables.

Note

Because I cannot eat onions, I left them out of my Hutspot. It would definitely be a different dish with onions, but I thought my version was very tasty. Since the Dutch use many varieties of this dish, the only "must" being the potatoes, feel free to experiment. Hutspot with potatoes, carrots and onions is just one possibility.

I also diverged from the traditional Hutspot by not preparing this with beef. The Dutch use a cut of rib that is not generally available in the U.S., but you can substitute Chuck. If you want to use it, cook the meat in water until tender, set the beef aside,keeping it warm, and use the broth to cook the vegetables. Serve the beef alongside the vegetables.

Do you want to learn more about Dutch cooking? I can see that as I investigate the lives of my Dutch ancestors, I will be returning frequently to a website called The Dutch Table.

This post is dedicated to my grandfather “Daddy Guy” (to the far left in the picture at the head of this page) and his mother, the all-Dutch Mary Brink Anderson.

 

Cream Tea and Scones

I’m sure you have no trouble knowing what scones are, but there seems to be quite a bit of uncertainty about who first made them.  Was it the Scots in the 16th century? Was it the English? Is the name Gaelic, German or Dutch?

Whoever came up with the little cakes first, the British firmly embraced them for afternoon tea, perhaps as early as the 18th century , and then the British region of Devon came up with clotted cream from their Jersey cows, and although there’s no cream in the tea of a Cream Tea–the afternoon ritual generally includes scones, clotted (or Devon) cream. and strawberry jam.

I made AMERICAN scones.

tea and scones

Tea and Cranberry Scones and Lemon curd served on my wedding china.

Read how WRONG the scones are when made with dried cranberries (an American fruit, for one thing. Horrors!) and dusted with cinnamon sugar–the way I made them.  PLUS. I served lemon curd instead of clotted cream. And no strawberry jam. Heaven forbid.  The Guardian’s article about “How to eat a cream tea” had me laughing out loud. Perhaps I should be watching out for those “hounds of fury” that will be unleashed upon me by a afternoon tea purist!

However, the article writer at the Guardian is not a stickler for traditon. He does not like clotted cream, and much prefers double-whipped cream anyway.  I concur, having dumped a jar of clotted cream because it tasted “off.” Whoops–that’s how it is supposed to taste!

So make the scones or not–your choice.  But DO read the Guardian’s article on how to eat a cream tea. You’ll be glad you did.

And just a personal word of thanks to my daughter-in-law Rene for presenting me with a variety of teas and clotted cream, lemon curd and raspberry curd which inspired this article.

For more about my ancestors and tea, see this post.

Buttermilk Drop Scones

Serves 12-14
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 15 minutes
Total time 25 minutes
Allergy Egg, Milk, Wheat
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Bread
Misc Child Friendly, Freezable, Pre-preparable, Serve Cold
Region British
From book Joy of Cooking (1997 edition)
The history of Scones may be a bit fuzzy, and the toppings may be controversial, but this all-American version, drop scones using buttermilk and cranberries, is easy to make and palate pleasing.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons butter (melted)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries (or substitute raisins, currants or other dried fruit)
  • sugar and cinnamon (for topping)

Directions

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees
2. Melt butter in microwave, or by putting it in an oven-proof ramekin in the oven as the oven heats.
3. Whisk together all dry ingredients (including sugar)
4. Beat egg, add and beat buttermilk and melted butter (cooled slightly)
5. Mix in the dried cranberries or other fruit
6. Mix together the moist ingredients and fruit into the dry ingredients. Mix just until no dry ingredients show. Do not overmix.
7. Using an ice cream scoop or large spoon, place mounds of 2 to 2 1/2 inches in diameter at least one inch apart on a lightly greased baking sheet.
8. Sprinkle tops with sugar and cinnamon
9. Bake at 400 degrees until tops are golden brown about 15 minutes. Cool on rack.

Note

Unless you are a stickler for tradition, your scones do not have to rolled and cut in triangles, and scones do not have to be served with clotted cream.  In fact, the scones with dried fruit (of your choice) do not need anything on top--although Irish butter would never be amiss, and I enjoyed my scones with lemon curd.

 

Family Heirlooms

Heirloom china Forest Rose

Forest Rose pattern Inside of cup and on salad plate

The plate and teacup in the picture above are from my wedding china, purchased in 1960.  The china is Hutschenreuther Forest Rose pattern, made in Germany.  Little did I know when we picked it for our wedding registry that it was made in Bavaria, the home country of many  of my ancestors.

This pattern is no longer in production. As of 2000, the Hutschenreuther line as been part of Rosenthal.   There is a very similar one called Continental made by Rosenthal, but mine has the hallmark and the distinctive pattern of the Hutschenreuther Forest Rose, with its gold leaf stem and leaves.

Heirloom china Forest rose pattern

Forest Rose pattern on salad plate

Description: A single white rose shadowed in gray, with stem and leaves in brown with gold leaf.  The hallmark Is a CM in a shield with 18 on one side and 14 on the other. Hutschenreuther and Hoenberg are inside an oval surround all of this, with Germany below the oval. This would indicate it was made in the original Carl Magnus Hutschenreuther (later merged and expanded several times). A more detailed history here.

china hallmark

Hutschenreuther mark on bottom of salad plate

This has been another in my occasional posts on family heirlooms–in this case family collectibles rather than more valuable antiques.

Other bloggers doing Family Heirloom stories:

 

The American Revolution Food Fight in a Cup of Tea

Women fought for liberty from the familiar territory of their kitchens. The British empire was overextended and the American housewife’s boycott of goods deprived them of taxes. The goodwifes punched the enemy right where it hurt the most. In the pocketbook.

During the American Revolution, the women contributed their frugality and ingenuity in the kitchen, in addition to their moral support. We will see on Thursday’s profile of Elizabeth Hubbard how difficult it could be for a woman with three sons and many relatives and townspeople in the army.

Boston Tea Party

W.D. Cooper. “Boston Tea Party.”, The History of North America. London: E. Newberry, 1789. Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress. From Wikimedia.org

Tea became a battle ground. Although it had not always been the drink of choice as this passage from an article in the Daughters of the American Revolution Magazine points out.

Not familiar with Bohea (Boo-hee)? It is a smoky black tea from China, and according to this website was the majority tea destroyed at the Boston Tea Party.

In A Thousand Years Over a Hot Stove: A History of American Women Told through Food, Recipes, and Remembrances Laura Schenone points out how critical women’s help was in defeating the British.

In addition to going without countless necessities, women ran farms and businesses while their husbands were fighting.  They followed battalions of soldiers, ministering to and feeding the sick and wounded. They were competent, strong, and highly involved.

Specifically, they gave up staples they were used to, as Abigail Adams wrote to her husband John,

“If I have neither Sugar, molasses, coffee nor Tea I have no right to complain.  I can live without any of them and if what I enjoy I can share with my partner and with Liberty, I can sing o be joyfull and sit down content.”

Colonial tea kettle and tea cup

Colonial copper tea kettle. by D.F. Shapinsky (pingnews) From Flickr.

The website, The Food Timeline, quotes a book about tea:

“The young ladies of Boston signed a pledge, ‘We the daughters of those patriots who have, and do now appear for the public interest, and in that principally regard their posterity, as do with pleasure engage with them in denying ourselves the drinking of foreign tea, in hope to frustrate a plan that tends to deprive a whole community of all that is valuable to life.’ They were joined by others around the country, drinking instead ‘Balsamic hyperion’ made from dried raspberry leaves, or infusions of other herbs. The Boston Tea Party did not destroy the American taste for tea, although few retailers in Boston dared to offer it for sale for a number of years. George and Martha Washington continued to serve the best quality tea”

A Social History of Tea, Jane Pettigrew [National Trust Enterprises:London] 2001 (p. 48-51)

Foreign tea consumption fell by more than 2/3 in a three year period (1769-1772)

New Jersey Tea/Red Root

New Jersey Tea herb tea

New Jersey Tea, also known as red root. Photo by Jim Stasz at USDA NRCS Plants Database.

 

You can see many quotes from Revolutionary times and more information about this plant and its use for tea, used widely as a tea substitute, at this web site.

Since I am a fan of green tea, I really should see if I could grow some of this plant. One newspaper even claims that “(it) is preferred by many to the best Green Tea.”

 

 

Garden Plants

Chocolate Mint for a cup of tea

Chocolate Mint for a cup of tea

Bergamot, a garden herb, which is the flavoring used in Earl Gray Tea.

Raspberry Bush leaves (I think I would also dry some of the fruit and mix it in with the leaves when I make the tea.)

Strawberry Bush leaves

Rhubarb Leaves (I can’t vouch for this one, but have to admit it does not sound attractive.)

Mint, which could be found in many varieties in a housewife’s herb garden. When I was growing up, we always had mint growing beside the house wall and would always add it to a glass of iced tea. Beware if you plant it in your garden. It spreads by runners, like that peeking over the edge of this plant and will take over EVERYTHING.

Sage, still used as a tea. In fact, I was offered some in Greece by a woman who let me know despite our lack of common language that it would cure colds and women’s ailments.

For any of these herbs and plants, hang the stems with leaves upside down to dry for a couple of days.  When dry, store in glass jars. To make tea, lightly crush the leaves and place in a strainer or tea ball, pour over them boiling water.

And enjoy your liberty.