Patat Zonder

Patat Zonder

“Patat zonder alstublieft,” I asked the girl behind the counter of the train station snack bar.

There was a brief look of confusion that flashed across her face.

“Patat zonder,” she repeated in a way that suggested the words felt strange coming out of her mouth.

It was a reaction I had become use to. The Dutch are deeply confused by anyone who would want to order fries without mayonnaise. I think they sometimes forget that the two can exist independently of each other.

Since I didn’t do anything to correct my order (even after the rather obvious pause she had left) she turned around and started to scoop up some fries. A moment later she turned around again with them in a little cardboard container. I reached out to take them but she had already automatically moved towards the mayonnaise dispenser, either out of habit or out of the strong belief that I really did want or needed mayonnaise.

“Wilt u mayonaise?” she asked, her hand hovering just above the mayonnaise plunger.

Could she really have forgotten my mayonnaise free request already? Was she blocking it out? Was she unable to mental process it? Or was she simply waiting for me to correct my earlier mistake? It was one of the strangest Mexican stand offs I have ever been in.

“Nee dank u,” I replied quickly (and slightly too loudly) before it was too late. I was sure she had been about to push the plunger.

The girl looked deeply confused by my response. Why didn’t I want mayonnaise? Didn’t I like it? Was that kind of thing even possible? Luckily for me she managed to come to terms with my decision and slowly put my fries up on the counter.

“1.20 alstublieft.”

I handed over the money, surprised that she didn’t automatically charge me the extra 20 cents for mayonnaise in her confusion.

“Fijne avond,” she wished me as she returned my change.

“Fijne avond,” I wished her, hoping that she would recover from this traumatic experience.

As I turned around and started to walk away with my mayonnaise free fries I heard the next person in the queue step up to the counter and place their order.

“Patat met alstublieft.”

Balance was restored once again.

30 responses to “Patat Zonder”

  1. Siem says:

    I can so relate! I eat my fries without mayonnaise and…..wait for it…..without added salt. I do not recommend you try and order this at that particular train station snack bar, though. It would probably cause an instant mental break down in the poor girl.

  2. I could almost feel the existential crisis arising in the poor server’s mind. “Who am I? What am I? What is my purpose in this life if patat are not meant to be eating with mayonnaise?”

  3. Next time go all the way with Patat Oorlog!

  4. twopees says:

    Why must you push the boundaries of societal decency? Next it will be bitterballen without mustard!..oh the humanity!

  5. Gez says:

    Stu, if you REALLY want to be mean to the poor girl, then not only should you ask for patatje zonder, but then ask “Heb je misschien azijn?” (“Do you perhaps have vinegar?”). Salt and vinegar is just SOOO alien to the Dutch it might as well be Martian…

  6. Jules Stoop says:

    Very recognizable! The countless times I’ve ordered fries without mayonnaise only to end up with fries with mayonnaise…

  7. Eden says:

    Please excuse this American – I have never heard of fries WITH mayonnaise. Now I am curious to try…

  8. Margot says:

    Exactly like that! oh man, I’m still laughing with your post! I just discovered your blog and I’m already a fan! hahahahaha. Just arrived to Holland one month ago and also started a blog about my adventure…but not so funny as yours! Cool!

  9. Ephie says:

    Oh my word , patat zonder? Neeeeeeee…..-:)) even on my rdw i took a couple of jars of mayo and ate them with all kind of chips-:), i even got peeps in Oz and in the jungle in Brazil addicted too -:) .. Btw love your blog at least a blog that makes me feel proud to be a Dutchie -:) .. And me friends love the Tees.. Thanks for shipping them in time ..

  10. Niels says:

    It sounds like you werent in a real dutch station. Where i live people are used to ‘patat zonder’. We just have our own mayonaise at home, saves us like 15 cents each time. :P

  11. A says:

    A bit off topic, but have you seen that Lidl has Speculaas Cream? It’s roomlikorette met speculaassmaak. Yup, speculaas booze. And worse, I hear it’s pretty good. I saw the ad and thought you had to find out about it. Luckily since it’s at Lidl, you can only get it for a limited amount of time. T
    hat will keep you from ending up living on the streets, swigging Speculaas Cream likorette and eating patat zonder full time.

  12. suus says:

    I like how this horror story had a happy ending.

  13. dragonlady says:

    I love fries with mayonnaise. The dragon keeper gets them without then dips his chips in my mayo.He likes curry sauce as well but not to much.

  14. Lucie says:

    Hi I have the same issue than you. No mayo, pleeeeease. Have you introduced your audience to the concept of patat oorlog? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_fries#Belgium_and_the_Netherlands

    To be fair, I had similar encounters in the UK when asking for my tea, black without milk. Same disbelief and an unexpectedly high rate of non compliance.

  15. JP says:

    I lived a similar situation at a hairdresser’s, he took a lot of convincing that I didn’t really want gel

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