Sunday, October 26, 2014

K is for "Kabeljauw"

Grandma Vanden Bergh's Dutch cookbook contains a chapter of recipes on how to prepare a variety of fish. That's not surprising, since the Netherlands has always been a seafaring nation, and freshwater fish also abound in its rivers.

I have tried cooking codfish from my local supermarket, but it most often tastes bland and unappetizing. I decided to try out this 1920's recipe, and found it a tastier dish than the earlier attempts I made on my own:

Baked Codfish    (Gestoofde Kabeljauw)

2 codfish fillets (about 1 kg; 2 pounds)
60 grams butter (That is 1/4 lb. I used about half that amount - of margarine.)
1/2 lemon
salt to taste

- Clean the fish in the usual way, salt the fillets and place in an ovenproof dish.
- Pour about 1 cm. (1/2 inch) of water into the dish, into which a "Cube Maggi" is dissolved, if you wish. [If "Cube Maggi" is not available, use a vegetable-flavored bouillon cube.]
- Squeeze the juice of 1/4 of a lemon over the fish and dot with butter.
- Sprinkle with breadcrumbs; lay 2 slices of lemon over the fish.
- Bake at 350 F. (175 C.) covered for 20 minutes, then uncovered an additional 10 minutes.

I served the cod with potatoes and green beans, which made a balanced meal.

Baked codfish

Eet smakelijk!  --  Enjoy your meal.

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For another fish recipe from Grandma Vanden Bergh's cookbook, see the earlier post, "The Way of All Fish."

Sunday, October 5, 2014

More History Events

Schenectady Stockade District
This weekend I had the opportunity to attend two more history events. On Saturday I went to a Genealogy workshop at the Schenectady County Historical Society. There were four presentations.

The first was about using university archives and special collections for doing genealogical research. It hadn't occurred to me that there may be a great deal of information, for example, about the daily life of my relatives who attended college in the 1920s or 1940s in the records of the institutions they attended. A rich resource to be explored on a rainy afternoon!

The second presentation gave the attendees some tips for searching ; always a useful refresher for those who have tried this on their own.

The most useful presentation for me showed us how to browse through the wealth of historical information posted at a Web site developed by a research librarian at the Schenectady County Public Library. The library hosts a digital history archive which truly a cornucopia of resources that have been posted online. You can find this at .

The last presentation walked the participants through the resources available in the Grems-Doolittle Library of the historical association, which includes a collection of print and digital resources, including an historic manuscripts collection. The Society is located in the historic stockade district near the Mohawk River in Schenectady.

Half Moon Replica Ship on the Hudson
On Sunday, I went to the shore of the Hudson River in Albany, to tour the replica of Henry Hudson's ship, the Half Moon (Halve Maen in Dutch). The replica was constructed about 25 years ago, and is a full-scale, working model of the type of sailing vessel used by the Dutch East India Company in the 17th century. While touring the ship dockside, it was difficult to imagine how such a tiny, cramped vessel crossed the Atlantic Ocean safely.

The replica operates as a floating museum, with a crew of volunteers who welcome student sailors from local middle schools and exchange students from the Netherlands  --  a wonderful opportunity for a living history lesson!

The tour guides showed us the forecastle, where the cooking stove was located; the crew's quarters; and the area where trade goods were stored.

Stove and food samples

Storage for trade goods in the ship's hold 
Crew's quarters

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To learn more about Henry Hudson and the Half Moon, here are a couple of books that look at the voyage from different perspectives:

Henry Hudson and the Algonquins of New York, by Evan T. Pritchard. This volume attempts to recreate the Half Moon's voyage up the Hudson river from the perspective of the Native Americans with whom the ship came into contact.

Half Moon: Henry Hudson and the Voyage That Redrew the Map of the New World, by Douglas Hunter. This book focuses on the history behind the quest for a water route through North America to the Pacific Ocean, and the economics and politics of the era.