Food for the Soul

Thirteen years since I moved from Aruba to Holland and I can safely say I will never get used to some things. I have come to love the seasons, and how the nature changes every time. While I love it’s (mostly) always beach weather on Aruba, as a kid I got bored reading the weather forecast in the newspaper. Which went like this everyday:

Thirty two degrees, sunny, partly cloudy with a chance of rain. Wind is 8 knots from North East.

Right. You must know the wind almost always comes from the North East on Aruba and only changes with bad weather. Even at 18 years old we would skip class if there was a storm coming so we could go to the beach and see how the usual calm sea would turn into huge waves eating up the beaches and flooding the hotel pools. That’s how unusual it used to be on Aruba to get different weather. I learned things have changed a lot due to climate change.

This week fall has made its entrance again, with strong winds, lots of rain and thunderstorms. I love this kind of weather, it’s the cozy stay at home, read a book and cook a nice dish, weather. But it also reminds me that winter isn’t far behind and that it will be months before I will feel the hot sun on my skin again. Thirteen years later and I’m still not used to cold below 15 degrees. This year when spring started and we had the first day of warm weather it was like finding that forgotten 5 euro bill in your pocket. I went straight to the ice cream parlor after work, got an ice cream and sat outside eating it while basking in the sun. It was 17 degrees.

creole fish

Creole Sauce with Cod Fish

So, fall. When fall comes around I get more in the mood for cooking again. Because I never got used to some things like Dutch cuisine or lack of good hot sauce, I still miss the island food. By island food I don’t mean the 4 Wendy’s, 2 Taco Bells, 2(or 3) Burger Kings, 2 Kentucky’s, I lost count Subway’s, Pizza Hut, Domino’s and uncountable Chinese restaurants on 74.52 sq miles of an island. Nope.

I miss Coco Plum in caya grandi where I can eat the best fresh red snapper in sauce crioyo with funchi. I miss being able to buy the best BBQ on Sunday, eat amazing lobster at Fishes and more or the simple pastechi tuna from Pastechi House. I could keep going; pumpkin soup at Suikertuin, pumpkin soup at Alice or a nice tenderloin grilled in the backyard. None of the above I can eat here authentically, I can only try to match it as best as I can.

After three days of fall weather I decided nothing would taste better than creole seafood to sooth the soul for the incoming cold. I dusted off my “Essential Caribbean Recipes” cookbook, went to Marqt(I never loved a grocery store like I do Marqt) for all organic ingredients, including the line caught cod fish. The result was delicious and soul soothing.

In my thirteen years living here I went from, doesn’t like eating, to a foodie who loves cooking and eating good food. I will probably never get used to winter or how distant people are here compared back on Aruba where friendships are formed easily, but I’ll always have good food and my cooking abilities to transcend borders.

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