When food historian Peter G. Rose, a native of the Netherlands, arrived in the United States in the mid-1960s and settled in the Hudson Valley, she became much more aware of the undeniable Dutch influence on the contemporary American kitchen and American life. Her interest duly piqued, Ms. Rose eventually began to record her expertise in The Sensible Cook: Dutch Food Ways in the Old and New World.
On Saturday, February 13, Ms. Rose brings her foodie enthusiasm to the NYPL’s Spuyten Duyvil library, where she’ll lead a discussion on food and drink seen in paintings by 17th century Dutch Masters and their relevance to the American kitchen today. What she’ll reveal will probably be both familiar: “Compared to the Middle Ages, there was more food available [in the 17th century], and people would eat four meals a day with bread as the mainstay of the diet.” And surprising: “Many of today’s foodstuffs were already known in the 17th century!”
The talk will probe the countless culinary traditions brought to America by the Dutch more than three centuries ago, and how these foods were adapted in the New World. Using slides of some 40 paintings by Jan Steen, Adriaen von Ostade, Jan Davidsz, De Heem, Pieter Claesz, Harmen van Steenwijck and many others, this lecture demonstrates how these works of art lend insight into 17th century food practices and shed new light on the colonial diet. Ms. Rose hopes attendees “will leave with be better understanding of the many contributions the Dutch have made to America’s kitchen and life.”