Boerenkool grof

If you’re not yet convinced that Dutch people are the smartest people in the world, you haven’t yet met the Dutch woman I overheard at the grocery store this week.

And if you’re not yet convinced I spend a lot of time in grocery stores in Amsterdam, you haven’t haven’t heard many of my stories about Amsterdam yet.

Anyway, the woman in the grocery store.

An English-speaking man was looking at a bag of cereal and talking to himself, until he turned and started talking to nearby people about the cereal. He held the bag up to the person closest to him, who happened to be this Dutch woman.

“What doesn’t this say? Is this German?” he asked her. I guess he could have been asking me too since I was also there but I didn’t even consider that option until just now.

The woman, who didn’t work at the store and wasn’t German, just a regular person weighing her vegetables like we all do, looked over at the bag.

“Yep this is German, but I speak a little German. It says that the cereal is wheat-free” she said, pointing to an especially confusing-looking part of the package.

“Oh, so like it doesn’t have gluten.” he said, tossing it in his basket with the confidence of a man who spoke both Dutch and German.

“Well, it might not” said the woman who, I feel the need to repeat, did not even work there. “Gluten is a protein found in wheat but also rye and barley, so just because the cereal is wheat-free doesn’t mean it’s necessarily gluten-free.”

The man looked at the cereal again, and then thanked her. Then the woman walked away before I could ask her for life advice or what sort of stock options I should be using.

I would say it’s something in the water but I’ve been drinking lots of water and I don’t feel much more useful.


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