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Reviewing Amsterdam

Posted on November 28, 2014

It is a curious thing, this curse or blessing of national identity. How do you see the world? More importantly how does your national identity change? I recently read Mr. Russell Shorto’s latest book Amsterdam: A History of the World’s Most Liberal City. Until a year ago Mr. Shorto had the prominence to be in the position of the director of the John Adams Institute in Amsterdam. Reviews on goodreads (the every person’s site for opinions on books) were very favourable, and equally some were less favourable. From what I could gather, the supporters of the book were generally Americans who had limited experience abroad. In this manner the references made in the book to facilitate cross cultural understanding made sense to those particular…

Reflections from the Cheese Market: Curly Kale

Posted on November 13, 2014

Curly Kale Stamppot It is ironic that kale, the main ingredient to the national dish Curly Kale Stamppot, is ever beloved by the Dutch while America has rediscovered the forgotten delight and how pertinent it is to promoting health when it comes to pushing vegetables in glossy magazines. A colleague said to me, proudly, that he’d signed up to attend a cooking course on Forgotten Vegetables.  For him, being Dutch, that meant: turnips, parsnips, and quinces.   “I’m having some kale,” a kale non-affectionado wrote of his gin and tonic, “Cheers!” I thought that was the best portion of kale I’d ever seen. “What should I write about?” I asked one day at large for a subject. “Kale!” came the reply. I wrote about kale, for which I…