zaterdag 1 maart 2008

Fascinating information no one cares about...

Barely a day goes by in the Netherlands where you will not come across an article publishing the findings of some ludicrous survey or opinion poll which informs us of some mundane crap that no one in their right mind could be interested in. A few weeks ago, I read the fascinating fact that the Dutch buy more fake-laminate flooring than other people in Europe! WOW!!!!!!! I'm so glad the precious little space in the newspaper devoted an ENTIRE COLUMN to mentioning this- just that morning, I had been wondering what country used the most laminate flooring and....well, luckily I didn't have to ponder it that long. Apparently, a reason so much of these nauseatingly banal facts are thrust upon us is that there are loads of braindead "researchers" living on subsidies who, in order to maintain their subsidies, must compile and release "research" like this, supposedly as some sort of sociological experiment?? The Dutch seem obsessed with statistics - they're everywhere! And of course we all know statistics are useless and can be manipulated by the phrasing of the questions, so what is the point???

What started me on this rant? A piece from today's "news" that the Dutch prefer bread and cheese for breakfast and continues to inform us what percentages buys their bread and where, and how many make their own sandwiches for lunch!!???! Well, anyone who's lived here for more than 2 weeks could tell this - this is generally what they eat for breakfast and lunch. In fact, in several situations I've encountered, the Dutch actually use the word "bread" for lunch, as in "Shall we go get some bread???" Now this is completely weird to most of us foreigners, but it's business as usual here. The thought of a rich, filling American breakfast or a greasy English fry-up is completely frightening to them (and sure, that's probably why they're much skinnier than us!). Anyhow, in case you are interested, the article is below.

AMSTERDAM – Despite the culinary variety in the Netherlands (WTF???-This is culinary variety???-dman) , a brown bread roll with cheese remains the most popular breakfast. Bread is essential to the Dutch diet, as evidenced by a survey of 500 people.

The survey was held in anticipation of the bakery trade fair to be held at the Amsterdam RAI from 2 to 4 March.

Healthy products are popular at the baker's as well: customers say their favourite breads are those with a healthy image, like multigrain, wholegrain and brown breads.

The survey also indicated that one in three Dutch prefer meat fillings for their sandwiches. Favourites were roast beef, ham and "worst" (a type of sliced sausage coldcut). Just one in ten prefers sweet fillings like chocolate sprinkles or jam.

"Almost four in ten Dutch usually buy bread at the baker's and six in ten usually at the supermarket. The Dutch are generally of the opinion that the bread from the baker's is tastier than supermarket bread. But those who buy it at the supermarket do so out of convenience. Men are of this opinion more often than women. Women are more likely to cite price as a reason to not buy at the baker's," the researchers concluded.

Four in ten Dutch take sandwiches from home to work each day. Most workers prepare these themselves, though one in five men does admit that his partner or mother prepares the sandwiches.

One in five workers visits the company canteen and 25% go home to eat at lunchtime.

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