Today I walked into the university cafeteria to get a snack but got a big surprise instead. I was stunned to say the least. The lady working there was cooking. Now I know that’s what you expect to see in a cafeteria. But in Holland? The Dutch cafeteria cooking is usually limited to warming up a sausage or opening a bucket of factory soup (and of course not to forget deep frying things normal people give to the cat). But this lady was actually cooking, and she was using real vegetables, too! Even more surprisingly, they looked fresh.
After I got over my initial shock, I immediately changed plans – this turn of events deserved encouragement and appreciation. Even if it would mean putting my stomach at the mercy of a Dutch cafeteria, something any person who owns taste buds normally avoids doing at all cost. Fortunately, my daring move was rewarded by the second surprise of the day – the food actually had taste! As I dug in, I discovered to my further amazement that the wokked veggies were still crispy, the tofu (yes, there was even the choice of chicken/fish/veg variants) was not disintegrating upon gaze and that the gravy was of the right texture and not too fat. Admittedly, the rice could have been fresher, but who cares? You could actually distinguish the ingredients by colour and taste! Now I know many readers would think I’m exaggerating in my excitement, but those who’ve had the chance to “appreciate” a Dutch office cafeteria will surely understand. Hopefully this is more that just an incident, and lets all pray that other Dutch cafeterias will follow suit in not just opening packages but actually making food. Amen.