Posts Tagged With: Albert Heijn

Aged cheese (Or: Jokes at a local Albert Heijn)

Here’s a silly joke about cheese for you, spotted at the local grocery store, Albert Heijn:

In English: “Age isn’t important, unless you’re cheese!” Haha. Such a silly joke. But a bit of personality at a chain grocery store as big as Albert Heijn is always nice to see.

Here is an interesting article spotted at The Guardian: Slowly does it: chord changes in John Cage’s 639-year-long organ piece. Or check out the article in Dutch over at at nos.nl.

The name of the work is As Slow As Possible (ORGAN/ASLSP) and it started playing in 2001. According to the Wikipedia article, there have been 14 chord changes to date, with the previous chord lasting 6 years and 11 months. Chords are changed by adding or removing organ pipes.

The performance is scheduled to end on September 5, 2640… It’s hard to imagine that.

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Let’s just skip to Christmas (Or: Kruidnoten spotted!)

Marco spotted some kruidnoten (Wikipedia) by the local Albert Heijn today. If you’re keeping track, today is 31 August. Traditionally they appear in the grocery stories by 1 September, although we spotted them on 23 August back in 2018. So we seem to be on track this year.

Flavored kruidnoten are also available already. Caramel sea salt, white chocolate, truffle, stroopwafel…
And some speculaas

Marco was sweet and bought some gevulde speculaas (Albert Heijn recipe) for us. It is speculaas cookies filled with almond paste. Yum yum yum.

Of course you can’t blame anyone for wanting to skip to Christmas (and New Year’s, and 2021…) in these crazy times. Give me a shout when you put up your Christmas tree. Good riddance to 2020, I say!

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Miniature shopping cart (Or: It’s so cute!)

Today I noticed a miniature shopping cart by the local Albert Heijn. It reminded me of the toy-sized groceries Albert Heijn was giving out with a valid purchase some years back. They were called keukenmini’s or kitchen miniatures.

Not much else here to say today, beyond this: have a lovely weekend and stay safe! And if you’re in the Netherlands, avoid those weekend raindrops.

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Courgette curry (And: A very special beer)

Today’s dinner was a very lovely courgette curry which I stole from Albert Heijn recipe section. We’re trying to eat less meat this week, and I think this recipe different hit the mark:

And I now realize my American readers might be slightly confused: courgette is zucchini. Courgette is more often used in French and British English, while zucchini is used in American English. But since I didn’t really cook with zucchini when I lived in the States, it will forever be courgette for me.

The beer… ah, yes, the beer. That is a gift from a coworker. It’s a beer from a brewery here in The Hague. Eiber is another word for stork, which is also featured in The Hague’s crest of arms. This beer was brewed in honor of the beer makers’ daughter, born in March. See a photo of her at indebuurt.nl. And it is tasty! Marco and I were thrilled with this gift.

In other news:

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If you like hagelslag, try these… (Or: Variations at Albert Heijn)

Hagelslag in Dutch is basically chocolate sprinkles. I like to eat them occasionally, but I’ll admit I don’t eat them in the traditional way: on buttered bread. The butter is needed to keep the hagelslag from sliding off the bread as you raise it to your mouth. No thanks, I’ll skip the butter and take a risk. …and listen to the clink clink clink as a few pieces of chocolate fall off and crash into my plate. It’s all good.

I recently saw that Albert Heijn came out with variations on the traditional sprinkles theme:

The brownie bites caught my eye first. However I did not purchase them as I am afraid that I would eat them directly out of the box. Yum. Strooifeest, seen at the top of the box, translates to something like “sprinkle party”.

Oh, to be a kid again and enjoy eating that much sugar with breakfast. I have fond memories of eating Rice Krispies cereal with a few spoonfuls of sugar at my grandparent’s house. Luckily I was already too old for sugary cereals by the time Reese’s Puffs hit the market in 1994, which is a chocolate and peanut butter cereal. Very American, really. I remember being quite shocked that anyone would put peanut butter (or peanut butter flavor) into cereal. But it seems rather normal these days…

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Temptation at the checkout lane (Or: It’s not quite like the US)

In the last year Albert Heijn started adding candy and other snacks to the area by the self-service registers. It’s not very tempting though, probably because they don’t have that much room to show off the “goods”:

So, five choices generally. And they aren’t well-stocked and they don’t look that appealing visually. At least try to get the barcodes looking a bit more similar, please? Although I suppose there will come a day when I desperately need that extra purchase to get me over ten euros to get a stamp. If you get 10 or 20 of those you can usually get something good (if the promotion is right).

In other news:

  • I don’t know if you remember the train derailment in The Hague at the start of the year, but the report of what went wrong was released earlier this week (omroepwest.nl). The type of train that derailed is often used in routes which require hard and frequent braking, however the maintenance schedule for this train type did not take this into account. The train’s brakes were worn, causing two wheels to completely derail and damage to a few dozen meters of track. A conductor and passenger were both injured, but not seriously.
  • Did you know that the Show/hide formatting marks button in MS Word has the nickname onderwater tekens or onderwaterscherm in Dutch? I mean the button which shows you carriage returns or non-breaking spaces. In English that translates to “underwater marks” or “underwater screen”. In other words: looking under water to see what you normally can’t see. Hmm. It’s not the formal name, of course.
  • Great, now I am thinking of the MS Word paperclip. “Clippy” was his name (theverge.com).
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What is your R number? (Or: Corona dashboard)

Last week the RIVM (Dutch ministry of Health) released a prototype of the Corona dashboard which can be found at coronadashboard.rijksoverheid.nl.

As you can see it shows things like ICU intakes and hospital intakes averaged over the last three days (6 and 8.7), number of infected persons per 100,000 residents (9.9) and the very well known R number, which is currently 0.87. There are also data points about nursing homes and a list of data points they are looking to add in the coming weeks.

In completely other news: sometimes trips to the grocery store can be very, very interesting. Today I wanted to grab a water bottle however there was already another customer there looking at multipack water bottles. Okay, he was right in front of what I needed, so I decided to wait. Even in non-corona times, it would have probably been perceived as rude, and it’s not like he would take that long right?

Wrong. After 2 minutes of semi-patient waiting I decided to look at my watch to start timing the rest of this experience. He had a pack of water in his basket already and he would grab another slightly different pack and look at the label. He would then put it into his basket and then pick up something else and look at the label of that water pack.

After the first minute someone else stopped and was clearly waiting to grab something from the water as well. After three minutes I did start to get a bit impatient, but tried to keep it from showing on my face. It must have been obvious that I was still standing there waiting, right? The other person was behind him on the other side of the aisle, so I could forgive him not seeing her. In the meantime about 15 people walked down the middle of the aisle, probably wondering what the heck the bottleneck was. But this was the last item I needed to get, and I was morbidly curious to see how this would play out.

After switching out the multipacks in his basket about 5 times, and staring at labels about 10 times, he finally picked one, grabbed the rest of his stuff and got a move on. The other customer politely waited for me to grab my water which I quickly did. Her and I shared a smile, neither believing what we had just experienced. I whispered fijne dag while deftly grabbing my water with my left hand. Total time it took him: 5+ minutes. Total time it took me: about half a second.

But now I have a good story for the blog, so it was worth the extra five or so minutes, right?

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Enter the showers (Or: Coronavirus measures at the local Albert Heijn)

I promised my parents a photo of the local Albert Heijn and one particular coronavirus measure: the curtains that hang from floor to ceiling. This measure has been in place since the beginning of the lockdown, however this morning was a particularly quiet day where there was no one around so I could more easily take a quick photo.

Originally there was a curtain between each of the self-scan areas, but as you can see at least one curtain is now missing in the background. On the other hand, when it was first implemented it was hard to see if a register was already in use or not. So I don’t mind removing one or two curtains to be able to more clearly see where you need to walk.

One thing that I do hope they implement soon is walking routes. Right now you can go in any direction you want in the grocery store, and even double backwards in the same aisle if you forget something. That means that people pass each other frequently. Although it is more annoying, I think it would be better to say that you can go only go down this aisle, and up the next aisle, and etc. If you forget something then you need to go around again.

On the other hand, on a more personal level the better solution is to keep visiting at times when the store is quiet, either in the early mornings or later in the evening.

Random links of the day:

New Banksy piece celebrates superhero health workers (theguardian.com)

NS scraps group discounts, bans bikes in trains as it prepares for more travelers (nltimes.nl)

And an article about the new panda cub in Dutch: Pandababy in Rhenen met ‘uitzonderlijk lange staart’ maakt het goed (nos.nl)

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Anyone need some toilet paper? (Or: A treasure at Albert Heijn)

This photo is from last Tuesday, April 7. I just had to take a photo of this much toilet paper together in one spot (who knew that would be an important photo):

Anyone need some toilet paper?

There’s some things to note with this photograph:

  • While this photo was taken on April 7, it was only the second time I had seen a lot of toilet paper. The first was a few weeks previously at another Albert Heijn in the city centre.
  • This photo was taken from the side. The pictured path is well travelled, so I didn’t want to be in anyone’s way. I have to remember that social distancing after all. I’d say this was about one third of the toilet paper on offer.
  • This Albert Heijn receives these ‘voordeelpaks’ (bonus backs of 40, or sometimes 48 rolls) only in weeks when the toilet paper is on sale. During normal weeks you can’t purchase this many rolls in one pack.

Otherwise I would say most things are back – maybe pasta and rice are still a bit low, but they are definitely always at least half stocked. Pasta sauce is still a bit hit or miss, as noted in a previous post.

What is your local grocery store still missing in these coronavirus times?

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Signs of stillness (Or: Wandering through The Hague)

I took the day off today. It almost – almost – felt pointless, but not quite. I have a bad habit of logging in early (07:30) due to not having a commute and then still working past 17:00. So the workdays feel a bit long right now. And having the day off means I can get out of the house for a bit longer. I’m getting “used” to staying inside some days as I have not been outside since Tuesday morning for a quick trip to the grocery store. But that doesn’t make it any easier.

Therefore, I walked and walked and walked today. Past the statue of Haagse Harry, past the Grote Kerk (Great Church / Sint-Jacobskerk), through the Palace Gardens, and through the Binnenhof. It was quiet and everyone was mindful of the social distancing rules. I even got to see a mini interview at the Binnenhof, although I have no idea who exactly they were interviewing. My politics knowledge is less than ideal.

Funny story about the Palace Gardens: while walking I noticed a small section with about 10 benches that would have added a few extra steps. I had no intention of stopping, I was just mindlessly wandering. I took a few steps in that direction and then noticed one of the benches was occupied. I did a quick calculation of the path size and deemed it a bit too narrow for me to comfortably walk past. I also wanted to be nice to the other person. So I changed my mind and did not go that way.

And then a few seconds later the person began coughing like crazy – a painful cough that was most likely nothing serious. But I’ll admit I was glad for my choice not to go that way! And I only felt a tiny bit guilty about it…

Mannequin wearing a face mask
Entrance to Florencia ice cream (http://www.florenciaijs.nl/home)

And just to show how Dutch this country is….

‘COVID-19 is coming out of my nose!’ Hmmm. Good artwork though.

Then I made my way to the local Albert Heijn for groceries. In most Albert Heijns you are now required to shop using a full-sized shopping cart. While this is the most ordinary thing in the world in America, not many people use them in The Netherlands as the stores are smaller and people generally shop more often than once a week. Therefore I was not looking forward to this new rule.

When I walked in there was a manager and a worker cleaning each of the shopping baskets and then handing it to each customer. (In some stores where a full shopping cart doesn’t make sense, this is the next best option.) So no shopping cart for me, yay.

Otherwise things were fairly quiet, with only a few occasions where I had to plan how I would best get by someone (or patiently wait). The self scan area looked more like a hospital word, with curtains hanging floor to ceiling between each self-scan machine.

These are strange times. Keep safe, everyone.

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