On Nov. 23, 2005 I moved to The Hague from Washington, DC. This is my new Dutch life.


Groot Markt

Sorry for the short delay in updating the ole blog here. You may be happy to know that I've been spending more of my time living life rather than sitting on the couch with the laptop. Well, that's part of it anyway.

Last week I dropped my iBook on the floor, lid open. Ack! I spent the latter half of last week scrambling to buy a backup drive and a new power pack, which btw cost about half the price of the drive! So far everything seems to work ok, except that the screen is coming apart at the seam a bit.

I also finally managed to get out to the market — specifically De Haagse Markt (do take a look at this site with sound on), which claims to be the largest market in all of Europe. Be that as it may, "largest" does not equal "best." I'd say about 70% of the vendors feature flea market junk, cheap household goods and seriously skanky clothes. You can, however, get incredible deals on fresh produce (4 avocados for 1EUR) and choose from the most impressive selection of fish I've ever seen.

Markets are truly something to relish while in Europe, especially since we don't really have them in the US. Sure, sure DC has the Eastern Market and flea markets still abound, but flea markets are not quite the same as the markets over here. From antiques to organic food to flowers, you can save a lot of money shopping in markets and have a more enjoyable time of it to boot. In fact, they're so popular in the UK that there are at least two shows on the BBC dedicated to buying and selling bric-a-brac at local markets.

For me, market shopping is a bit like sticking it to the man. When buying produce in the Netherlands — the world's third largest produce supplier — there's nothing better than skipping the middleman and buying straight from the farmer. Of course who can be sure if the guys at the market are the farmers and if farmers are "little guys" anyway.

However, we have one small problem: our fridge is half the size of normal ones. The market is far enough away that I can't go everyday, and we can't really stock our fridge for an entire week.

Props to anyone who can confirm exactly which fruits and veggies have to be refrigerated and which ones can hang out on the counter.



Anonymous redsnapper said...

Time for a MacBook Pro!

4:37 PM GMT+2

Blogger PeeKay said...

doood, that's smaller than my beer fridge. but i am here to HELP!!!


4:24 AM GMT+2

Anonymous pmazur said...

It's funny you bring up refrigerators. I tend to think European refrigerators are way smaller because cupboards are used heavily and there's still a reliance on farm produce rather than supermarkets, which tend to refrigerate everything. People will go get what they need for the week and it will keep fresh. As for leaving food on the counter this is a no-no - you can store most produce in the cupboard as long as it's dark, and that's the key. Even fresh eggs can last for months as long as they are not refrigerated initially. In fact, sailors would bring them on voyages because they would keep. I think we tend to refrigerate everything since going to the market is not possible everyday or every week and we have a way of hoarding more than what we can consume.
Incidentally, most vinegar, oil and sugar-based products can be stored in the cupboard, even butter at times. So condiments, preserves, even some milks, like Parmalat can have a home there. Of course, I wouldn't recommend keeping them for for too long especially tomatoes.
I keep tomatoes (which sadly are mostly tasteless in the States), onions, potatoes, scallions, garlic, peppers, apples, citrus fruits and bananas in kitchen cabinets in airy baskets with plenty of room for lettuce, spinach and more delicate leafy veg for the fridge (cabbage will store nicely in the cabinet.) However once you use, say half an onion or tomato, its shelf life will diminish quickly so the fridge will be its new home. That's my take.

4:38 AM GMT+2


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