Thursday, April 8, 2010

Easter, and just for fun, 2nd Easter

Yes, I realize that Easter was already five days ago, and I should have posted this much sooner.  It's just that Monday was Second Easter Day here, and I've been trying to catch up with a bunch of work ever since then.  Oh, yes, the Dutch have second holiday days all the time: Second Christmas Day, Second Pentecost Day, Second Ascension Day.  I think when I first visited during the winter Holidays, I wrongly assumed there was a Second New Year's Day.  It's a big ploy to wrestle a day off work from all those religiously categorized, yet now fully secularized, official holidays.  Now that I think about it some more, I'm going to do some research to find out the processes that took place in order to make all of these government sanctioned days off from work.  Almost all the public holidays here have a connection with Christianity.  The Dutch State has a very unique history with its relationship to religions and one that I'm not going to get into right now.  Honestly, do you really want to read about that because how much time do you really have?  If you're bored, just look up pillarization some time.  Actually, here is the Wikipedia entry.  Not the best explanation of it, but I guess it will do.  I had to know about it for my comprehensive exams although, early-modernist that I am, I would be hard pressed to talk about it with any authority.

Right, well back to Easter and the fabulous food...which I did not make.  We spent the weekend at my in-laws' house where the kitchen, to which I have only recently been granted access in the form of a lowly sous-chef every now and then, is the domain of my father-in-law .  It was only last month I was allowed to slice a mango for a salad when he was in a time crunch.  (By the way,  I totally rocked that mango.  Thank you, Jamie Oliver, for teaching me how to do it all fancy like.  If you're curious to know, he did it just like this)  It's always fun spending a few days in Utrecht with Niek's family.  We walk around the center of the city, enjoy the charming coziness of its smaller streets and two canals, and we also eat much too much good food.

I can't really tell you what a "traditional" Easter meal is in the Netherlands.  It's sure to involve a lot of meat and starches.  Going by that logic, our brunch was pretty Dutch.  It had delicious coffee, freshly squeezed orange juice (for some reason Dutch people just love o.j.), lots of bread products, cheese and meat.  We had salmon for the bagels, too.  Although ours had to travel from Alaska to be with us, salmon appears on a lot of brunch menus here. 

The sun even came out for a a few hours, before it decided to hail.  We didn't color any eggs this year, but I did see them in the store, and the Dutch children I saw went on their Easter egg hunts probably with as much enthusiasm as their American counterparts.  I haven't thought too much about Easter eggs, but now I'm curious if most of Europe adheres to this tradition.  Anyone know? 

Hope you all enjoyed your weekends and ate well.

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