So if I write about the Dutch more than is seemly for an American known for an appreciation of American foodways, it’s because the cheap, cheap flights to Amsterdam I used to be able to score when I lived in Philadelphia gave me an appreciation for Holland ($180 got me there and back one weekend). Plus—a little-known secret—though sex and drugs dominate tales of Amsterdam, it really is a great food town.
Now, say what you will about the famous Dutch reputation for being cheap (Dutch treat, anyone? And just watch a bar in Amsterdam empty three minutes after happy hour), but that concern with eking out every bit of value from something has led to some remarkable inventions.
One of my recent favorites is this video of a value-minded Hollander making 60 proof alcohol at home without a still, just using wine ("from a friend"), a freezer, and a salad spinner. It's a variation of an old technique called freeze distillation—or, if you want to get fancy, fractional crystallization. If, when you’re reading the instructions, you are stymied by the word “latish” that appears onscreen, say it with a Dutch accent…“lettuce” is what’s meant. Then check out the Austin Powers link at the bottom of this page.
Goes well with: