Thursday, September 29, 2011

Suriname in Amsterdam

This is the very last thing I ate before I went into labor and had a baby:

I'm afraid the picture does not do this meal justice.  In fact, the picture makes it seem a little unappetizing.  Believe me, however, when I say that this is probably one of the most delicious take-away dishes I've ever had in my life.  It's called Roti Kip, and it's a Surinamese specialty.  "What the hell is Surinamese food?" you might be asking yourself.  To be honest, that's what I wondered the first time a friend of mine served up a delicious helping of chicken, potatoes, green beans, and warm potato pancakes.  I wish I could answer in detail what Surinamese cuisine is like, but my knowledge is mostly limited to what you see in the picture above.  However, I always appreciate seeing some good flavors of the Caribbean foisted onto the traditionally bland food of the Low Countries.

I love Roti Kip, and during the latter part of my pregnancy we ate it fairly often.  That's saying a lot for people who never go out to eat.  There's just something so amazingly comforting and filling about this dish--probably the breaded and deep fried goodness of the food.  My concept of modern Dutch cuisine has changed so much in the last three years.  Mostly I see, at least in the urban centers, that there are vibrant infusions of flavors from other parts of the world.  It actually took me quite a while to notice that there is a market for all those different flavors, even in "mainstream" Dutch food.  That is something to be celebrated in a way, although it's accompanied for me with a wave of guilt about European colonialism, which is strange because I'm not even Dutch.  Why should I feel guilty about Dutch colonialism?  Maybe it's because I don't think the Dutch public feels very guilty about it, so I feel like I should apologize on behalf of others.  It reminds me of the time I took a post-colonial historiography class, and I was the only Europeanist in the room.  When I walked into that seminar every week, I felt like I should profusely apologize for even wanting to study European history.  Obviously, I shouldn't have to apologize for studying Europe, but there's only so much talk about "the other" and dominance a girl can take before she wears down a bit.  Regardless, I can come to terms with it enough to enjoy ordering a serving of chicken for dinner.  And why should I not?  It's absolutely delicious.

When I return to a less zombie-like state--someone please tell me that will happen sooner or later--I will actually start to cook again for pleasure instead of purely for survival.  I may even try to make my own Roti Kip.  I just stumbled on a recipe for it on this blog.  Her photography is so beautiful.  I feel like I could make anything if the step-by-step instructions were always that gorgeous. 

And, obviously, I will leave you with a pic of an adorable baby.  She's so cute!


  1. When I think of Dutch cuisine, I think of rijstafel - Indonesian import - before I think of "traditional" Dutch food, which in my family turns out to be not Dutch at all, but "Pennsylvania Dutch" or plattdeutsch, as food had to ba adapted to location.

    And, yeas she is cute... and tiny!

  2. Oh, Diana-- she is just beautiful. Deep sigh:-)) Can I be an Auntie? I sort of feel like an Auntie. *So* glad you made it to the hospital and baby Johanna wasn't born in the airplane...(I was lucky Teddy wasn't born on the subway on the way to the last prenatal check-up, so I know how those things go;-) You look great--and Do Not Worry about posting on the blog, or doing much of anything. If you aren't exhausted now-- you will be in another week or two. In Japan, new mothers aren't supposed to *anything* the first week--not even wash their hair. No, really. I wasn't allowed to use the shower 'til three days later--honest and for true. The clinic where Cici was born gave shampoos and blow-dries on the forth day (like a mini-salon, so the moms wouldn't wash their own hair). At first I thought it was silly. Then I came home... and I wished somebody would come and wash my hair for me when I was so tired the room was spinning around me. Note to Niek--help as much as possible so Diana doesn't fall down! Diana-- the exhausted part lasts until somewhere around sleeping through the night (six hours is considered sleeping through the night... though they never say exactly *which* six hours. 10 to 4 is sort of doable, but 8 to 2 kind of sucks). Three months or so before you get a whole six hours at a stretch. Six months or so before you get an occasional eight-hour night... and you'll feel like born-again Hallelujah, trust me:-) Take naps, sweetie-- and take good care of you! Hugs to you, and Niek, and beautiful little Johanna!

  3. I was totally struck by how absolutely adorable she is and almost left a comment, but then I got off on a tangent and had to find out why Surinamese food looks so Asian - well did you know the largest ethnic group in Suriname is from India?? Fascinating. I also didn't know that Surinmae was a former Dutch colony. Thanks for yet another cultural lesson. :)

    But all that seems so unimportant when you look at that gorgeous picture of you and Johanna. I am so happy for you and Niek.

  4. SLG-
    You're so right! I completely forgot to talk about the different cultural groups in Surniame, one of which happens to be Hindoestan. I cannot believe I left that out. Must be because I've been occupied with the cutie pie.

  5. Someone just found my blog searching "body malformation museum holland." If there is such a thing, I'm surprised I've never been there. Holland made me think of you; hope all is still wonderful for you and Niek and Johanna.