Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Dutch treat on a hutsput . . .

The vicissitudes of fortune are front and center on the news. Each day, we read more and more about the similarities between the onset of the Great Depression and what’s happening to our collective national economies today. Now, if ever there was a force of change beyond our control, this is it.

But, dwelling on that would mean a quick trip down the slick slope of small ‘d’ depression for me. Been there, not going back. Instead, I’m inclined to focus on the little victories. Yesterday’s was a double Dutch treat.

Our former neighbours who moved into town a couple of years ago often stop by to share a cup of coffee and chat. They’re adjusting well to their smaller town property and they’ve finally completed the renovations needed to make their new home feel like theirs.

On Sunday, they stopped by and over coffee and talk about gardens and such, the husband asked if I would be putting in carrots this year. Since carrots are so plentiful and readily available all year long, I don’t plant them. But my neighbours always did, and again they reminded me that you can’t make hutsput without them.

What they didn’t know is that over time, I’ve tried making hutsput from their description of what this mysterious (to me) Dutch dish might be. Somehow, I’ve always known I was getting it wrong. Even the name. When the topic came up, I pounced.

“Aha! Chutzpah! Let me get a pen and paper. This time, I’m going to write it down.”

And so the adventure began. First, I got the spelling h-u-t-s-p-u-t; at least how her mother used to say it. Then, both spoke at once, as they often do. Confusing me yet again, as they often do. Finally, the wife made a fatal slip. “Oh, come on over and I’ll cook you hutsput one day.”

“Great!” I countered. “And I’ll bring a pie.”

“What kind of pie,” asked the husband, eyes twinkling.

“Rhubarb? Apple? Lemon meringue? You name it. Raisin, even,” I said. “Just say when and we’ll be there.”

“Uh, did I hear raisin in that list,” he asked, knowing full well I’d not have missed his favorite.

“Absolutely. When do you want us to come?”

We all laughed and agreed Tuesday was best.

So yesterday, armed with a fresh warm raisin pie and a nice cool can of real whipped cream, off we went for our baptismal hutsput. OMG. It was divine! Orange mashed potatoes, laced with bacon and onions heaped in a big bowl and indescribably delicious. Real, honest-to-goodness comfort food.

Alongside was a bowl of sausage and more bacon, and a batch of fresh baked dinner buns. Had anyone ever told me such a simple dinner could fill your soul, I would have sought out hutsput decades ago.

To complete the motif, the raisin pie may have been my best ever, served gasping under clouds of cream.

Okay, I know. The price of bacon is nothing to sneeze at. And raisins are becoming worth their weight in platinum. So going ‘Dutch treat’ on a simple dinner strikes me as a pretty nifty way to weather tough times.

Take that, winter blues! Anyone want to share their meatloaf and mashed spuds for a lemon meringue dessert? Have pie pan, will travel.

Photo credit: here


  1. Brings back childhood memories of when life was simpler and people genuinely cared and shared about each other. You are an inspiration!!

  2. I want to live next door too you...
    mona & the girls


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