If I play my cards right I don’t need to feed Jacob at all. Everyone else does it for me.
Friday mornings we leap onto his tricycle, (OK, he leaps, I push) and set of to do the shopping on the Albert Cuyp. First stop is the baker on the corner of Eerste V D Helststraat and the Govert Flinckstraat. Here, the woman serving shamelesly tries to influence my buying-strategy by plying my son with bread with chocolate cooked into it. We leave, Jacob clutching his treat and me with our usual boring bread and currant buns. Why would I buy it when she gives it to us for nothing?
On the Albert Cuyp proper we turn left and head down to our favourite cheese stand, “Bart Kaas”. Here we buy a piece of the “Jonge Kaas”, (for Ron and Jacob), the “Droom van de Boerderij” (the Dairy’s Dream) for me and some Parmesan and sometimes a piece of Munster. If Mr Bart is on duty Jacob might get a civilized slither, if Mrs Bart is on duty he is given an enormous chunk of creamy rich young cheese. More like a doorstop than anything else. While Jacob gums the cheese into submission I can enjoy my raw herring from over the way.
Heading back in the direction of Van Vouwstraat we stop at our favourite greengrocer where Jacob is on the receiving end of the daily speciality, a mandarine, a couple of strawberries or some pieces of a mango.
Next we pass the fish and chicken stands where thankfully, no one offers him anything.
Crossing over the Eerste Sweelinckstraat we stop to buy Australian dried apricots (They’re the only ones available in the Netherlands that are picked when they’re ripe) and dates. While we’re waiting Jacob is entertained with the offer of a small box of raisins.
Finally, across the way, we stop at the Greek stand to buy olives, pesto, anchovies and feta cheese. Here Jacob finishes off his repast with a piece of olive-bread before we head home, well-fed.