Dutch Treat—Coffee, Tea, Sugar, Tobacco

Food: A Cultural Culinary History—Episode 22

The 17th and 18th centuries saw the rise of European colonial empires, which increased the culinary exchange between cultures, especially with regards to exotic foods. It also abetted the rise of slavery and forced labor. In today’s podcast, we’ll follow the conquests of the Dutch, the British, and the French, and we’ll discuss how the trade in a group of entirely superfluous, edible, luxury items changed the focus of the global economy and the global cuisine.


Images for this Episode:


Culinary Activities for this Episode:

• Verstandige Cok Olie-koecken

Though Dutch cooking in the 17th century was fairly simple, the following dish includes expensive imported spices. Its direct descendant, introduced into what was then the colony of New Amsterdam, we know now as doughnuts.

Take six cups of flour, and add two cups of raisins that have been soaked in warm water. Add six peeled, cored, and chopped apples; two cups of chopped almonds; and a teaspoon each of ground cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Add a small bowl of melted butter and a packet of instant yeast. Add enough milk to make a very thick batter, and let it rise for about an hour. Then, heat a pot of oil (to about 360 to 375 degrees), and with two spoons, drop balls of the batter into the oil. Turn over when browned on one side, and remove when puffy and golden brown. Let cool on a rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if you like. The original recipe does not include sugar in the batter, but you may use some—up to a cup, depending on your preference.

Suggested Reading:

Cowan, The Social Life of Coffee: The Emergence of the British Coffeehouse.

Gold, Danish Cookbooks: Domesticity and National Identity, 1616-1901.

Norton, Sacred Gifts, Profane Pleasures: A History of Tobacco and Chocolate in the Atlantic World.

Pendergast, Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How It Transformed Our World.

Schivelbusch, Tastes of Paradise: A Social History of Spices, Stimulants, and Intoxicants.


Images courtesy of:

• DEI Logo: Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
• Map of Dutch possessions: By Red4tribe (Own work) CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
• Contemporary map of DEI holdings: Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
• Porcelain: By Hillarjr (Own work) CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
• Dejima Island: By Isaac Titsingh [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
• Painting of Dejima with Dutch Ships: I, PHGCOM CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0, via Wikimedia Commons
• Photo of Dejima: Uchida Kuichi [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
• Dutch Ships off Capetown: Aernout Smit [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
• Map of New Amsterdam: By Jacques Cortelyou, General Governor of Nieuw Amsterdam at that time. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
• Mercantile Dutchmen : Rembrandt [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
• Dutch Still Life: Willem Claesz. Heda [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
• Herring: Shutterstock
• Dutch Herring Fleet: Pieter Vogelaer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
• Gouda: Shutterstock
• Edam: Shutterstock
• Windmill: Jacob van Ruisdael [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
De Verstandige Kock: Courtesy of Weblog Brabant-Collectie
• Pancakes: Shutterstock
• Waffles: Shutterstock
• BEIC logo: By TRAJAN 117. This vector image was created with Inkscape. (Own work) CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
• Sir Francis Drake: Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
• Sir Walter Raleigh: By ‘H’ monogrammist (floruit 1588) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
• Map of Roanoke colony: By John White (A British Museum photograph of the map. [1]) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
• Map of Jamestown: Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons
• Tobacco: Shutterstock
• Cotton: Shutterstock
• Rice: Shutterstock
• Jamaican Plantation: James Hakewill [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
• Map of Mass Bay Colony: By Kmusser (Own work) CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
• Map of Hong Kong: Made by Sir Edward Belcher on 1841. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
• Map of New France: By Martin23230 (Own work) CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
le filles du Roy: Eleanor Fortescue-Brickdale [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
• Sugarcane: Shutterstock
• Confectionaries: Georg Flegel [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
• Tobacco being smoked by Europeans: By Anthony Chute (Tabaco) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
• Counterblaste to Tobacco: Courtesy of http://edu.lva.virginia.gov/dbva/items/show/124
• Chocolate drinking: Pietro Longhi [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
• 17th century, coffee house: By From a wood cut of 1674 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
• Le Procope: Jean Huber [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
• Battle of Vienna: Frans Geffels [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons