The migration of humble Dutch fare to America

Karin Vaneker

In 1609 the explorer Henry Hudson (c.1565-1611) discovers Manna-hatta. From 1624 until 1664, the island and its surrounding North American territory become a colony of the Dutch Republic (1581-1795). After the English, in 1664, take over Nieuw-Nederlandt (New Netherland)no attempts are made to impose English culture. Despite Anglicization, and later Americanization, Dutch colonial culture could persist for decades. The colonial “Dutch Identity” may even have become more pronounced than in the Dutch Republic, where confrontation with a foreign “other” did not occur on a regular basis (Jacobs 2009: 55, 56). As late as the nineteenth century, Dutch Americans lived in the Dutch manner and served “typical” Dutch foods. Indicating the foodculture was shaped by memories of food and eating in the past and colonial relationships. This paper discusses the role of handed down recipes, in particular Puffert, the “genuine” Dutch tea-table and explores the desire to maintain Dutch identity, and even create a more intense relationship to Dutch heritage. Through the lens of Mrs. Lefferts’ Book (c.1800s) and The Social History of Flatbush (1881) by Gertrude Lefferts Vanderbilt (1824-1903), a descendant of poor Dutch settlers and as after the mid-seventeenth century, the Lefferts’ and Vanderbilt families obtained wealth and social status.