Today we go back to one of my favorite topics – the art of Van Gogh, with some yummy food thrown in for good measure. Despite catching colds and being rained on for several days, we ate well and overloaded on art while in Amsterdam. Being from land-locked, non-cosmopolitan New Mexico, any opportunity to eat interesting foods (and any from the sea) is a welcome opportunity. And any chance to see great works of art, another score. Instead of going on about everything we saw and did, I wanted to focus on two highlights – our “Rijsttafel” (rice table) dinner and the Munch/Van Gogh comparative exhibit at the Van Gogh Museum.
Rijsttafel – Since Indonesia was a Dutch colony for about 300 years, it’s no surprise that the Dutch gained an affinity for Indonesian food. However, while the “rice table” is made up of a grand sampling of Indonesian dishes, this way of presenting them is uniquely Dutch. It was created as a way for Dutch folks to sample dishes from islands all around Indonesia at the same time. And lucky for us! I lost track of how many dishes came out (you can count for yourself, below), but they were each unique and yummy (or at least interesting) in their own way. Some dishes reminded us more of Thai food (chicken in peanut sauce), while others had more of an Indian flare (curried goat). They all had some level of heat (an added bonus for us chile-loving New Mexicans) and next to the meal in Rouen, it was the second-grandest feast of our trip – Yum!!!
Munch/Van Gogh Exhibit – Man, I really have a hard time wrapping my brain around how I went from being someone without a passport to someone who has been to the Van Gogh Museum 4 times in the past 8 years!!! Since I’ve gone on about Van Gogh in several posts, I’ll stick to the unique exhibit we just happened to catch during its final week in Amsterdam – “Munch: Van Gogh.” The exhibit focussed on the parallels between the two artists, who, while painting about the same time and some of the same subject matter, never actually met. One really cool thing was there was a TON of paintings on loan from the Munch Museum in Oslo, including one of the iconic “The Scream“-s (though since it’s done in crayon, I guess it’s not technically a “painting”). The other cool things was, in addition to the hundreds of Van Gogh’s usually at the museum, they had many more on loan from around the world (including one from the Kröller-Müller Museum we’d been to the day before). It was such an overload of amazing art that they actually had Stendhal syndrome boxes you could close yourself in to calm down! All in all, between the Kröller-Müller Museum, the usual Van Gogh’s on exhibit and the on-loan Van Gogh’s, I think we saw almost 300 Van Gogh’s on this trip!!!
Pictures of Amsterdam, the rice table, a Munch/Van Gogh self portrait comparison (the one picture Steve was able to take before being reprimanded – unlike the Kröller-Müller, no photos allowed), and some seafood thrown in for good measure….enjoy: