Smile and Say…”E” is for EDAM


I guess you can figure out my theme for the 2014 A to Z Blogging Challenge. That’s right, it’s cheese! I hope you enjoy these posts!

“E” is for EDAM

So, what do you know about Edam? It originated in northern Holland (Edam is about a thirty-minute drive northeast from Amsterdam). A young Edam cheese is soft and mild, but like most cheeses (and some people), it gets harder and sharper as it ages. The first time Edam was mentioned was in 1439, when the cheese was shipped from the Port of Edam. (By the way, the name ‘Edam’ comes from the fact that there was a dam on the river E. I kid you not.)

You’ll likely remember Edam because it typically comes wrapped in bright red paraffin wax. Yes, that Edam. And because it’s often made with skimmed milk, it has a considerably lower fat content. Win!

But don’t count on lower fat content when you use it to make macaroni and cheese. That’s comfort food at its best. For the ultimate cookbook of mac ‘n’ cheese, go get a copy of MELT – The Art of Macaroni and Cheese by Stephanie Stiavetti and Garrett McCord. I don’t want to infringe on their work by including the recipe here, but they have an incredible recipe for käsespätzle that you will love.


Oh! The Places I’ve Been – “H” is for HEERHUGOWAARD

Although I’d traveled to Amsterdam in the late 70’s, while a student in Switzerland, I returned to The Netherlands in the early 90’s, this time to visit a friend in the little town of HeerHugowaard.

photo by M. Reynolds
photo by M. Reynolds

The town is named after “Lord” (“Heer” in Dutch) Hugo van Assendelft, who died in 1296.

It’s a small, quiet town (about 45,000 residents when I was there in the early 90’s), very walkable, not far from Amsterdam. My friend and I attended a concert in the capital one evening. Classical music. The concert hall was filled to capacity and everyone was dressed to the nines. Young people, old people. No one crunched on chips or unwrapped cellophane-covered lozenges during the performances. No one chatted. And it was too soon for texting, but I’m sure no one would have been doing that, either. It was a very genteel event.

However, Heerhugowaard is no utopia. Since 2004, there has been a coffee shop in the town; its appearance was met with fierce opposition. If you’re wondering why, it’s because “coffee shops” in The Netherlands are establishments where the sale of cannabis for personal consumption by the public is tolerated by the local authorities. Some inhabitants realize that the establishment is there to make sure the laws are respected and to make sure there is no cross pollination between soft and hard drugs. Still, others saw fit to throw stones at the place.

Of all the places in this month’s group, this was probably my least favorite. Nothing against Holland, of course. 🙂