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Home Columns Humor Adventures in Utrecht #3: The Poffertje Bag

Adventures in Utrecht #3: The Poffertje Bag

Last updated 6 months ago by Michael Darmanin

Dutch people already know the magic of poffertjes – delicious coin sized pancakes made of batter, powdered sugar and love. I say love because they are best made by hand, often on a special iron grill passed down by generations of swollen Dutchmen for about four euros a serving.

We discovered them shortly after moving here from Trump’s America in downtown Utrecht. You can usually only get them during the holidays or festivals but we found them at a cafe and ordered three dozen of these sweet little buttons – but that’s just the start of the story.

Christmas came early at this cafe, how lucky we were. Photo credit and copyright: Jeffrey Scott Pearson.

Truth be told, my wife and I bought far too many treats for one sitting – how typically American. We decided to save the remainder but had no way to carry lots of tiny, sticky sugar pies back home in a purse or handbag (I don’t know why I didn’t just ask for a box or bag from our waitress – maybe it was shame or pride). 

For whatever the reason, I saw a grocery across the street and decided to quickly buy some plastic bags to carry our Dutch desserts home while my wife waited for the check. I tried to find them myself but I ended up asking a non-Dutch immigrant employee because I was in a hurry. I suspect I explained what I needed very poorly but the worker brought me a box that looked correct.

Getting ready to encapsulate the merch. Photo credit and copyright: Jeffrey Scott Pearson.

What I thought was a package of small plastic bags was actually 30 “ijsblokzakjes” or ice cube bags. But I was blissfully ignorant of this fact when I ran back to the café, where my wife and the server were chatting while waiting for me. 

I noticed the amused face of our waitress as I explained myself as I pulled out the bag and began. This wasn’t a normal sandwich pouch however, this was a weird plastic mistake. It kinda seemed like a lot of little pockets inside a sandwich bag. Puzzled, I slowly decided this was a special poffertje bag, complete with separate compartments for each delightful morsel. I struggled to insert each poffertje, one by one, carefully into the little pockets. Our waitress began to laugh out loud and take pictures with her cell phone. Other people tried to understand what was happening and also began to smile and point.

Before I knew it, images of the stupid American with his special leftover poffertje bag were all over Instagram and Twitter. Our server finally brought us a little box and helped us fill it with sad, embarrassed poffertjes. We could still hear people laughing as we left, wondering what other surprises await in this strange land. Check back for episode four next week!

Photo credit and copyright: Jeffrey Scott Pearson.
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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