Breakaway Cook

Amsterdam Is Embedded in My Neurons

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What could I possibly add to the world’s paeans to the beauty and wonders of Amsterdam? The city’s allure is almost violent; it grips you immediately and doesn’t let go. It seems to force the recollection of some deep place within my brain and body, almost on a molecular level, of some long-forgotten realities of long ago. It’s easy to imagine what life must have been like centuries ago because the Dutch prefer to keep all of that alive through the preservation of their architecture and streets, through life on the canals, and through their emphasis on the good life of time spent in cafes, lots of vacation, and in making every space as cosy and inviting as possible.

Our building is a wonder, a 1650 beauty with a sunny and inviting courtyard, where everyone seems to hang out with their books, computers, newspapers, snacks, and drinks. We’re not going to want to leave! My beverage of choice is a cold Westmalle Trappist double ale, without a doubt my favorite beer on earth. They’re cheap and dangerously available at the local market.

We’ve had one terrific meal (at a place called Divan, a Turkish place in the Jordaan) and a host of eh ones, though the organic bounty at the Saturday farmers’ market (more on this, plus some photos, in the next post, after Saturday) is everything a bay arean could hope for. I’ve been cooking regularly but focusing on things that don’t require lots of knifework; it’s amazing how attached I’ve become to comfortable, sharp knives!

Some sad chicken news, alas: all four became sashimi for a predator, most likely a fox, shortly after we left for Holland. Something dug a little tunnel and came up from underneath. We’re sad about it. All those gorgeous eggs will have to wait.