The Eventual Emergency Mousecat

I had a brilliant idea this morning for an effective way to study some Dutch in preparation for my trip to Amsterdam later this summer.  I could just sit down and carefully read my way through the Dutch cookbook that my friend Danny sent me several years ago, looking up every word i don’t know.  While i get some good cooking ideas, i can be building vocabulary in one of my favorite areas.  That way when i find myself understanding nothing in a conversation that’s going on around me in Amsterdam, i can steer the conversation back onto cooking, where i’ll at least have a chance of following it.

I already knew the names of most foods in Dutch, but my knowledge of cooking terminology was close to zero.  So i set out with the cookbook at my left hand and a small dictionary at my right in case i couldn’t work my way through relying on context and cognates to German and English.

Good thing i had the dictionary because before i got beyond the list of ingredients for the first recipe i hit “eventueel nootmuskaat”, which i decided was probably not “eventual emergency mousecat” although i sure did like the ring of that.

Well, yes, “eventueel” is one of those false cognates and means “optional” rather than “eventual”; and as much as i like the idea of an emergency mousecat, if such a thing existed it would be spelled “noodmuiskat” instead of “nootmuskaat”, which means “nutmeg”.

And yes, i fear this one may be funnier in Dutch, so we’ll see how it plays in Amsterdam.

sf generalMeanwhile, this morning i Segwayed over to SF General Hospital for my final visit participating in a study of brain trauma victims that i agreed to join after i woke up there on a gurney last January.  Today they did some tests, not all of which i passed although i think the problem is senility rather than leftover trauma.  The Brain Trauma Center is in the old part of the hospital, and as i exited i noticed that the building across the street could almost have been in Amsterdam.

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