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Home Columns Humor Adventures in Utrecht #2: Why is the water on fire?

Adventures in Utrecht #2: Why is the water on fire?

Last updated 1 month ago by Michael Darmanin

When we first moved to Utrecht, we went food shopping at Albert’s Hennie and brought back the groceries in a half dozen heavy plastic bags that made our fingers bleed. Some items were familiar but in unusual packages – like hot-dogs floating in a laboratory jar or mayonnaise in a toothpaste tube.

Mayonnaise in a toothpaste tube. Photo credit: Zaanse Mayonaise.

Other foods were totally unfamiliar and Dutch, like dripping stroopwafels and bags of drop. A stroopwaffel is a Dutch specialty which is essentially a wafer cookie made from two thin layers of baked dough joined by a caramel filling.

Dutch stroopwaffels. Image by Markus Stroopwafels / CC BY-SA.

‘DROP’ is a candy; a liquorice rope made of sugar, used chewing gum and oil spill residue. When you eat it, the candy ‘drops’ out of your blackened mouth as you cough and spit it out. I think that’s where the name comes from, but I’m not sure about that.

Rope wheels made of drop (liquorice). Photo by Pikaluk from UK / CC BY.

Anyways, rather than buy Evian, Aquafina or Fiji Water, I selected a local brand of fancy water called ‘Azijn’, the store brand I guess, to save money. (Dutch people, keep it together now) After we got home and cleaned up the foam off of the refrigerator (see Adventures in Utrecht #1) I put the bottle in the fridge to chill and took a nap that became a deep sleep.

I woke up in the middle of the night. I was half asleep cracked open a new bottle of ice cold ‘Azijn’. After a big gulp I was immediately awake, gasping for breath and coughing. A moment later my wife rushed in as I was puking into the sink and screaming, “Aaahhh! The water is on fire! Why is the water is on fire? It burns!”

Yes, I had swallowed a large dosage of pure white vinegar from that cold, clear innocent looking bottle. But azijn cannot be recommended as a beverage for any reason and the incident inspired us to immediately start learning Dutch and use tap water instead.

Learn Dutch in small groups right in the heart of Utrecht. Visit TaalThuis!

Jeffrey Scott Pearson
Jeffrey Scott Pearson
It seems no matter how I share my experiences - in a concert hall, an art gallery or a classroom – I am always a storyteller and my subject is truth. Throughout my life I have always felt my place in this world was to foster communication and love. I now seek to share my wisdom, my passion and my maturity to help others tell their important stories.

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