The Unique History Behind The Dutch Word For Peanut Butter – Tasting Table

As explained in Dubble Dutch, the infrequently-used Dutch word for butter is “roomboter” (meaning: cream butter), but “echte boter,” the words for “real butter,” is often used by companies trying to sell more expensive products. “Boter,” the word more commonly heard in Dutch markets, typically designates margarine.

Jon Krampner, author of Creamy and Crunchy: An Informal History of Peanut Butter, the All-American Food, points out that Dutch dairy farmers formed a united front, insisting the word “butter” only be used for actual butter; peanut butter did not qualify. As a result, Dutch peanut butter is called “pindakaas,” which can be translated as “peanut cheese.” Krampner found a similar phrase in Suriname, “pinda-käse,” but this product wasn’t creamy — it was solid and sliced like dense cheese.

While visitors exploring Dutch groceries may be hard-pressed to find blocks of peanuts to slice, there are shelves of peanut butter to sample — jars loaded with chunks of peanuts, flavors sweetened with caramel or chocolate, or traditional recipes blended smooth (per Holland Shop24). Yet even with so many options, your Dutch tour guide may steer you toward the Calvé pindakaas display.

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