Category Archives: Americana


Uhm. Ok. So these things...

Box of Brown Sugar Cinnamon pop tarts, one of the packets still in silver foil lies in front of the box, unopened.
Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pop Tart. "Try them!" they said. "Your life will never be the same!" they said...

Back in March, I confessed for the second time on twitter that I'd never had a pop tart. I don't even quite know how to describe them to those of us who didn't grow up with them. They're "toaster pastries"? So you stick them in the toaster and they come out all nice and toasted and ready to eat? Really? This being America, I have to admit to being very (very) cautious about anything that is produced en masse and available all over the country in uniform flavours, shapes and sizes. And so I steered clear of them successfully for most of the 8 years I've lived here now.

That is, until my friend Jacki and her husband were kind enough to do my groceries when my shoulder had healed enough to do my own cooking, but I could not yet drive. So one fine morning, she showed up and plonked down, in addition to my healthful veggies and raw hazelnuts and whatnots from my shopping list, this package of Poptarts. "Little present for you from me, to try!" Oh. Ok, thanks! Great!

I asked advice from various quarters: How do you eat them? "Put them in the toaster. But really low, and keep an eye on them, because your toaster may catch fire and burn otherwise." Wait what? Why would you willingly risk setting your house on fire for a pre-fab sugar junk food snack?!? Debates ensued: "You can also stick them in the microwave." "Nah, they'll go soft." "Just not that long!" "No no, eat them straight from the package!" Gasp! You mean I'm to eat them RAW???

Foil with two brown sugar cinnamon poptarts revealed.
Yaaa- really appetizing to eat them straight from the package, right?

Since each foil package contains two "tarts", I decided to risk it in the toaster with one, put most of another in the microwave in 15" increments, and nibble on a raw corner.

But because I value the services of my $5 second-hand brave little toaster, I decided to protect it from sugar-melt-fire:

Toaster with two slots, in the left slot is a poptart with a piece of baking foil wrapped around it, the baking foil sticks out.
Baking foil to the rescue! Protecting my Brave Little Toaster (which needs a scrub, but that was hard to do with one crummy arm in March.)

The verdict of the experiment? If I were really, really hungry and there wasn't anything in the house, I'd risk my toaster. The pastry casing is "flat" in taste even if a bit more crunchy after toasting, the sugar/cinnamon is not very exciting. The microwave didn't do anything for me, and straight out of the package would be only useful in case of prolongued zombie-attacks or other acts of deities making it impossible to forage outside for wild berries.

Sorry friends, I know I just failed my citizenship test. I think it's one of these things you need to grow up with, and clearly I didn't! But if any of you want some Brown Sugar Cinnamon poptarts, I have a box with another 10 of them (5 packs of 2 each) to hand out, just drop me a line! You're also welcome to have them here with a lovely cup of tea or coffee!

America, we need to have a chat…

It’s about time. I’ve lived here almost six years now and you keep giving me these weird surprises. Like this:

Amerika, het is tijd dat we eens praten. Echt praten. Want ik woon hier al zes jaar en je blijft me maar van die rare verrassingen geven, zoals dit:

Large glass of orange liquid topped with whipped cream, claiming to be an orange cream shake
Advert for an Orange Cream Shake, not my cup of tea!

A larger than life picture of a massive glass of orange cream shake in the weekly adverts. Not even a milkshake, but a cream shake. It’s almost on a par with mint chocolate.* Is it just me?

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Monday, take 2: flatlands to Badlands | Maandag, 2e poging: van vlaktes naar maanlandschap

Power song of the day (sing along at full blast in the car)| Oppepnummer van de dag (keihard meezingen in de wagen):

(Don't worry, Dan. I did not take the rear seats out to put a fridge in your car!)

From Mitchell, SD to Interior, SD is by my newly discovered standards for driving a small stretch, but still over 200 miles. But how could I leave Mitchell without visiting the Corn Palace? When I was first told about this, I thought my friends were pulling my leg. But this is America, and stranger things have been done than decorating buildings with ears of corn. A true piece of Americana. Vanuit Mitchell naar Interior, beide in South Dakota, is het volgens mijn nieuwe normen voor autorijden een klein ritje, maar toch nog meer dan 200 mijl. Maar hoe kon ik Mitchell verlaten zonder het Maïspaleis te zien? Toen mijn vrienden me eerst vertelden over het bestaan van dit ding dacht ik dat ze me iets op de mouw speldden. Maar dit is Amerika, en ze hebben hier al vreemdere dingen gedaan dan gebouwen versieren met maïskolven. En je hebt de I-90 niet gedaan als je dit niet gezien hebt.





Local shops of the day: Corner Store Coffee House and Deli in Mitchell, for great coffee and oatmeal; Indulge Bistro and Bakery in Chamberlain, for a great lunch time sandwich and a sublime lemon bar slice; and the Wagon Wheel in Interior for a buffalo burger (yes, made with 100% real buffalo). Plaatselijke winkels van de dag: Corner Store Coffee House and Deli in Mitchell voor heerlijke koffie en stevige havermoutpap; Indulge Bistro and Bakery voor een lekkere boterham en een fantastisch citroen cakeje, en The Wagon Wheel in Interior voor een bison-burger (jawel, gemaakt met 100% echte bison).

(Sideway food pictures, a new trend! Foto's van eten op hun kant, een nieuwe trend!)

I crossed the Misouri in style, in Chamberlain. Stijlvol de Misouri oversteken in Chamberlain:

In Kadoka I went off the I-90 and took the scenic approach to the new location for the mobile writing hut. In Kadoka ging ik van de grote snelweg, en nam de kleinere, mooiere baan naar de nieuwe locatie voor de mobiele schrijvershut.

The scenes along the way were just a taste of what was to come... De uitzichten erheen waren maar een voorproevertje van wat er de dag nadien zou komen...
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The Badlands wall