The Bridge - Page 5

The rich people eat lettuce or endives before their dinner to cool their stomach. If they have lunch left, they make ragout, pastry or muss of it to eat it around 4 o’clock. Before they are going to sleep they eat porridge or rice pudding in warm sweet milk.

People don’t eat fruit because it isn’t good for your health.


According to De Verstandige Kok, a festive Dutch meal in the 17th century featured plenty of wine and course upon lavish course. The meal kicked off with leafy green salads and cold cooked vegetables dressed in olive oil, vinegar and garden herbs or edible flowers. Warm, buttery vegetables were also popular. Various fish- and meat dishes and savory pies and pastries followed. The meal ended with preserves, cheese, nuts and sweet pastries, washed down with hippocras, a sweet spiced wine.

Frugal Fashion

Of course, even in the Golden Age, not everyone could afford such luxuries and the everyday meal of the ordinary Dutchman was a humble affair of grain or legume pottage served with rye bread and beer or water. But even the rich had to tighten their belts once Holland's Golden Age came to its end. After its heyday in the 17th century, the Netherlands lost many of its colonial possessions to the British in the Anglo-Dutch wars. This loss of wealth, coupled with a growing population that put pressure on natural resources, meant that a more frugal approach to food had to be taken.