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