“Woensdag, gehaktdag!” (“Wednesday, minced meat day!”That is how it used to be up until the 1960s: on Wednesdays, virtually every Dutch housewife would serve minced meat for dinner. Even today, more traditional families and elderly people eat minced meat on Wednesday. Now why would a whole country eat the same food on the same day?
That has to do with the fact that butchers used to slaughter the animals themselves. They usually did so on Monday. On Tuesday, they would process the meat into high quality steaks, chops and the like. Finally, on Wednesday, the butcher would take the leftovers and turn them into minced meat that he would sell at a special low price.
The slogan “Woensdag, gehaktdag!” was introduced by the butcher association to promote their products and industry. The slogan took on and is still known today. Along the way, it even got new meanings. Today it is also used to refer to the third Wednesday in May. On this day, the Dutch Minister of Finance presents and defends the State expenses over the last year in parliament. If the defense is flawed or the State has spent her money unwisely, the Parliament will “make minced meat” of the minister (figuratively spoken of course).
In 2007, a very controversial book was published in the Netherlands with the title “Woensdag, Gehaktdag”. It was written by the convicted killer Richard Klinkhamer and in it, he describes how he fantasized about killing his wife and how he ultimately lived his fantasy in 1991.
Personally I prefer the original meaning: simply eating some nice meat balls on Wednesday (or any other day for that matter).
Information of the origin of the Dutch Gehaktbal found on Dutch Ancestory Magazine
2 slices of bread
1 tray of ground beef (preferably 97% or 93%)
1/2 cup of bread crumbs
1 small onion, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp chili paste or pepper
1. Break up the bread, add enough milk to saturate the bread. Squeeze some milk out of the bread, put 1 egg, 1/2 cup of bread crumbs, minced onion and seasonings to the ground beef, if you have some fresh parsley available, add it to the ground beef. Mix all together and make some meatballs. I use the ice cream scooper, so I get uniform size balls, and they won’t be too big.
2. Heat the skillet on high, then add one stick of margarine to the skillet. Wait till the margarine turn slightly brown. Add the meatballs and brown on both sides. Put the lid on the skillet and simmer for 20 min. Then take out the meatballs and add 1 cup of water or some broth. If you don’t have broth add 1 tbsp of beef base. Then add some diluted cornstarch to the gravy to make it thick.
Arrisje’s Recipe Card 4×6 * Click on this picture then save to your hard drive, print as a 4×6 picture *