Dutch biscuits and Irish hospitality | Seamas O’Reilly

You may be staying with generous hosts, but when it comes to eating be very careful what you ask for…

We’re visiting the in-laws and enjoying their hospitality immensely. Only my son finds it wanting, constantly demanding biscuits from his grandparents with the urgency you or I might flag down a paramedic in the middle of a cardiac event. “LIGA!” he shouts, referring to a delightfully bland brand of baby biscuits he adores, common here but not in England. We scold him for being uncouth, but have yet to make a dent in this practice, not least since his doting hosts indulge him every time.

You might have seen that recent map of Europe, which coloured dark blue those places you’d always receive food at someone’s house, and dark red those places where you never would. Southern Europe, from Spain across the Mediterranean and through to Turkey, was darkest blue, places where “receiving food at a person’s house” appears synonymous with “being force fed within seconds of arriving”. Scandinavia and the Netherlands were on the other extreme; hued in red so dark, you’d be better off eating an entire day’s worth of roughage before popping for a play date.

Continue reading…