The Dutch cuisine: Dutch?
| Home | Introduction | The Dutch cuisine | Food & culture | Food & Globalization | Analysis |
| Food & Advertisements | Conclusion | Literature |


This website has shown that food has more functions than only filling one’s stomach in that it also embodies social, economical and cultural processes (Counihan & Van Esterik, 1997)

In ‘The Dutch Cuisine’ it is tried to reveal how the Dutch
cuisine originally was; potatoes, well cooked vegetables
with meatballs and gravy being the Dutch old time favourite.
However it also becomes clear that like any other national
cuisine, also the Dutch one is not static in that exotic
influences are present.

In ‘Food & Culture’ it is discussed that food is part of culture, is a way to distinguish oneself from others and that it plays a role in the national identity of countries. All this makes food a subject of study for cultural geographers, as it “is packed with social, cultural and symbolic meanings. Food can [therefore] tell us something about ourselves and about our place in the world” (Bell & Valentine, 1997). Bourdieu (1984) for example describes how food consumption can be a way to distinct oneself from others. Moreover, food plays an important role in the imagination of national identity since a national dish can be a source of pride. According to West however, national cuisines don’t exist because they are themselves hybrid forms and can therefore not be authentic. How Dutch is the Dutch potato that originally comes from America? From ‘Food & Globalization’ it becomes clear that globalisation is shaping and reshaping patterns of food consumption. Under capitalist conditions new products are invented and existing products adapted. Hence grobalized and glocalized products enter the postmodern world we live in today. This however, does not mean that aspects of modernity are not present, since standardization still seems to be a magic word. As a consequence new products enter the Dutch cuisine. Therefore it is interesting to investigate how globalization influences this Dutch cuisine. . Does a globalized smell penetrate our noses in the Dutch kitchens or do the Dutch at home still mainly cook their traditional foods? If they do, how is the proportion relative to ‘exotic’ menus? In ‘Dutch recipes at the beginning of the 21st Century: a quantitative analysis’ it is tried to answer these questions by analyzing recipes in cookery magazines distributed freely by supermarkets. By means of classifying the recipes into four categories on a globalization continuum, ranging from local to exotic, the Dutchness of the Dutch cuisine is examined. Assuming the recipes reflect the meals the Dutch cook at home, does the scent of boiled sprouts still penetrate our noses at the beginning of the 21st century? The results show it does not. Since only 20% of the examined recipes is about purely local dishes, this smell is in the remaining examined recipes not pure. Rather, they constitute purely exotic, or at least hybrid forms. In this case the smell of the sprouts is still there, though with another whiff: as the cheese sauce has been swapped for tandoori sauce or tex-mex spices (categorized as ‘glocal with something exotic’). On the other hand can sprouts also be used as a flavor adding ingredient in an exotic dish (categorized as ‘glocal with something Dutch’). Only 20.7% of all recipes can be classified as being entirely local. This means that the remaining 79.1% somehow reflects globalization in the Dutch cuisine. From those ‘globalized recipes’ the exotic recipes constitute the biggest group. However, when the two kinds of glocalization are taken together, glocalized recipes (whether with a Dutch or Exotic additive) clearly form the biggest group, representing 48.3% of the total recipes. Within this dominant glocalized category, the local recipes with a global additive constitute over 57%. The results show that globalization has indeed entered the Dutch cuisine as only one fifth of the recipes in the cookery magazine are truly Dutch. On the other hand also the proportion of exotic recipes is relatively small. Glocalized meals form by far the biggest category. This means that most home cooked recipes are a mixture of local and exotic ingredients. It is clear that regarding the Dutch cuisine within globalization especially the process of glocalization is important. Anxiety for grobalization in the form of homogenization or even Americanization therefore seem to be ungrounded. The local still plays an important role in the majority (69%) of the examined recipes.

Images of both the local and the exotic are extensively used in marketing strategies. Whereas Conimex tries to market its products as something new in the traditional boring Dutch cuisine, Maggi on the other hand promotes its products as something truly Dutch in the middle of the wide range of exotic products offered in the supermarkets. As such globalization and the Dutch cuisine are closely integrated in advertisements.

To World Wide Wrap it up, one can say the truly Dutch cuisine is still there. However, its relatively small share makes the future of the Dutch cuisine uncertain. At the same time the Dutch cuisine is a prerequisite in the glocalizing processes that take place. Therefore, the Dutch cuisine will not die out, but rather be transformed into a hybrid form. These hybrid dishes can become incorporated into a ‘new Dutch cuisine’. As such, the definition of the Dutch cuisine itself may also transform. In the end it does not matter how authentic the Dutch cuisine is. Rather, as West argued, for the Dutch it is important to define their cuisine as being Dutch since national identity needs national sentiment more than authenticity: “ Stir-fried boerenkool can still be Dutch, as long as we say it is!” ^Top^

Faculteit Ruimtelijke Wetenschappen: Rixt Blijkers, Anita Kastelijn, Alies Y. Zijlstra