Saturday, July 3, 2010

Time for a bar-b-q

It’s a longstanding tradition in the US that Independence Day weekend is made for bar-b-q’ing with friends and family.  It’s generally hot and muggy throughout the country and everyone has a long holiday weekend, so folks go to the beach, fire up the grill, and share a hearty meal before the fireworks.

The big football match against Brazil was the backdrop to the long weekend in the Netherlands: many people got to take time off work to watch the match, and the weather continued hot and sunny.   I joined some friends for a backyard party, a really good break from the travels and travails of the week.

There’s a lot in common between Dutch family bar-b-q and US ones: lots of beer, grilled sausages, and potato salad before the big game.   The differences were mild and regional: actual charred wood rather than briquettes, lovely German sausages in place of Wisconsin (but, my Dutch hosts noted, no cheese on the sausages), and good Belgian beer.  Potatoes were sliced for the salad: Germans do halves and the English keep them whole, but the Dutch slice them thin and layer in the mayo like Americans do.

Even the scene of the cook, wreathed in smoke, simultaneously encouraging the fire with fluid while discouraging it with water, achieving and maintaining the perfect cooking temperature, was familiar.  I gave up two-match approaches after I left  Boy Scouts, favoring the two-handed approach to mastering the fires.

And the game was wonderful, an unexpected come-from-behind victory with the shortest person on the team scoring the winning goal.

The horns and parties lasted long into the night along Kesselskade.


patti said...

We only use wood. My daughter can start a fire with one match - even in the rain. But I usually need at least 4. Tomorrow we're having kabobs, corn on the cob, and rhubarb (home grown) pie. Happy 4th!

Dave Hampton said...

That really sounds good: they don't do much corn here (it seems harder to find in the US as well), but the rest would be familiar. I'm on the ferry tomorrow, so it will be a quiet 4th; I'll find a hamburger and fries, catsup rather than mayo. Good job with the fire, I don't know if i can do it without aids any more. Happy 4th!

Ladybird... and butterfly said...

That is an amazing bbq! I like the fact that it's hanging!
Big Bonus that Holland won as well!

Dave Hampton said...

Thanks for the note: winning is a big bonus. I don't think that anyone expected it, especially with such a dramatic finish. I agree that the grill was unique: he's an artist and I think it was partly his interest in sculpture showing through (along with a bit of Dutch frugality in building it from at-hand parts).