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Markus Anecdotes - Diary: Easter in Netherlands

Written, including photos by Markus

As the early morning sun painted the sky in soft pastel hues, signaling the arrival of Easter Sunday, we, living in the Netherlands, prepared for their annual Easter lunch tradition. The air was filled with the comforting aroma of freshly brewed coffee and the sweet scent of Paasbrood, a traditional Easter bread filled with dried fruits and spices, mingling with the anticipation of gathering around the table to celebrate the holiday.

In the cozy kitchen of their quaint Dutch home, Jacklyn, my daughter, bustled about, orchestrating the culinary symphony that was about to unfold. She lovingly kneaded dough for hot cross buns, while our mischievous dachshund, Roxy, wagged her tail in excitement. Nearby, their two neighbors, a warm and friendly couple named Thijs and Daan, eagerly assisted.

As guests began to arrive, laughter and chatter filled the air, blending seamlessly with the aroma of culinary delights. Five of our closest friends joined them, each bringing a dish to contribute to the feast.

Our friends, Jan, Anna, Pieter, Lotte, and Bram, added to the lively atmosphere with their infectious enthusiasm. Jan arrived with a platter of savory bitterballen, crispy fried balls of meat-filled goodness, while Anna brought a homemade quiche bursting with fresh vegetables and creamy cheese. Pieter's contribution was a fragrant bowl of Dutch pea soup, packed with chunks of smoked sausage and hearty vegetables, while Lotte delighted everyone with a platter of colorful deviled eggs, beautifully garnished with fresh herbs and paprika. Bram's dessert creation stole the show—a decadent Dutch apple pie, warm from the oven and topped with a generous dollop of whipped cream.

But the culinary adventure did not stop there. Jacklyn had prepared a plethora of traditional Dutch dishes, each more tantalizing than the last. The table boasted a platter of thinly sliced ossenworst, a delightful Dutch beef sausage seasoned with fragrant spices, alongside a generous portion of creamy, rich Hollandse garnalen cocktail, showcasing the exquisite flavor of Dutch shrimp paired perfectly with tangy cocktail sauce.

As the feast began, we indulged in the array of delicacies before them. Tender slices of rosbief, rubbed with a blend of herbs and spices, melted in their mouths, while a dish of stamppot, a comforting blend of mashed potatoes and vegetables, warmed their souls. Alongside these delights, a bowl of hutspot, a traditional Dutch stew of carrots, onions, and potatoes, added a hearty touch to the meal.

Amidst the lively conversation and clinking of glasses, Jacklyn emerged from the kitchen with a flourish, presenting her pièce de résistance: an Easter cake adorned with marzipan chicks, eggs and sugar flowers, alongside trays of eierkoeken, light and fluffy egg cakes perfect for savoring with a cup of coffee. The desserts were met with exclamations of delight and eager anticipation.

Just as everyone settled into their seats, a commotion erupted near the table. Roxy, the mischievous dachshund, had managed to sneak into the kitchen and absconded with a whole leg of lamb, dragging it across the floor with unbridled glee. With a chorus of laughter and shouts, the family and their guests chased after the rascally pup, who seemed determined to make off with her stolen prize. Eventually, Roxy relinquished her treasure, earning herself a stern but affectionate scolding from me and a round of playful pats from the amused guests.

As order was restored and the lamb was salvaged, the festivities resumed with even greater merriment. Amidst the shared laughter and good-natured ribbing at Roxy's expense, we continued to celebrate Easter in true Dutch fashion, reveling in the joy of togetherness, good food, and unforgettable moments.

Among the guests, there was a special visitor from Singapore, Jacklyn’s friend, Ling. Ling added her own touch of international flair to the celebration, sharing stories of her homeland and marveling at the Dutch Easter traditions. And she made cereal prawn, what happens to be my favorite dish.

Adding to the excitement were two playful kittens, Momo and Coco, who darted around the room, their antics bringing smiles to the faces of all present.

In the midst of the festivities, Jacklyn ensured that even the family's beloved pets were not forgotten. A special meal was prepared for Roxy, Momo, and Coco, consisting of tender scraps of lamb and a bowl of creamy mashed potatoes, a treat that they eagerly devoured with wagging tails and contented purrs.

And so, with hearts full and bellies even fuller, we raised our glasses in a toast to love, laughter, and the joy of Easter in our beloved homeland. Our clinked glasses filled with traditional Dutch beverages like karnemelk (buttermilk) and jenever (Dutch gin), adding an extra touch of Dutch flair to their festive celebration, all while reflecting on the deeper significance of Easter—the celebration of renewal, hope, and the triumph of life over death. The day stretched on with games in the garden and music filling the air, creating an Easter celebration that would be remembered fondly for years to come.

As the sun began to dip below the horizon, casting a warm golden glow over the landscape, we gathered around a crackling bonfire, its flames dancing in the twilight. We shared stories and laughter late into the evening, our voices rising and falling like the gentle rhythm of the waves on a distant shore.

And as the stars emerged one by one in the velvet sky above, we knew that this Easter had been truly special—a day filled with love, laughter, and cherished memories that would endure for a lifetime.

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