Recipes famine winter

In the winter of 1944 – 1945 many special recipes were invented in Holland. Most of the most innocents were based on tulip bulbs. These bulbs are in fact the stored nutricians and energy for the new plant and flower. So these bulbs contain that (energy) which, especially in the famine winter (1944 – 1945) was so urgently needed for people as (supplementary) emergency food. So there were a number of recipes to be able to bring those bulbs onto the dining table.

Formal advice from 1944:
“The formal authorities informs the people that the use of tulip bulbs as human food does not give rise to any objections, provided that they are consumed in moderation. This means as a standard a maximum of 3 bulbs per adult person per day!”

It was customary to cut these tulip bulbs, after cleaning, longitudinally and remove the green kernel from them.

Congealed emotion:
After the war, some groups from the former resistance on the evening of May 4, after the commemoration of the dead at 8 pm, wanted to eat a tulip bulb (or onion) as their personal solemn moment (together with a drink). A classic recipe (from the Apiciana of the Roman cook Apicius) was then, after the war, an appropriate “sad” delicacy. “The little silver edge around the big black sadness”.

Memorial recipe
(a fading tradition)

Preparation of the bulbs:
* Put four peeled and well cleaned tulip bulbs (or onions) in a pan with sweet dessert wine and half a glass of water and boil for about 7 minutes until done.

Preparation of sauce:
* Make a sauce of two dessert spoons of dessert wine, two tablespoons of honey, two tablespoons wine vinegar, one tablespoon of olive oil, one tablespoon of fish sauce, four dates in small pieces, half a tablespoon of thyme and half a tablespoon of oregano,
* Cook for 5 minutes,
* Serve the flower bulbs with sauce and sprinkle with some black pepper to taste.

Wartime recipes with tulip bulbs

Stew with red cabbage
(? persons)

2 kg (peeled) tulip bulbs, 2 kg potatoes and 4 kg red cabbage, to taste: salt, peper or spices.

* The tulip bulbs are cooked separately,
* Cook the potatoes together with the red cabbage,
* Then finish the stew with the tulip bulbs and with a little salt or spices.

Stew with sauerkraut
(? persons)

2 kg (cleaned) tulip bulbs, 1.5 kg sauerkraut, salt and spices to taste.

* Cook the tulip bulbs and sauerkraut simultaneously,
* Then season with salt and spices.

Tulip soup
(? persons)

2 kg tulip bulbs, to taste: soup vegetables, salt, spices.

* Clean the tulip bulbs and cook them,

* Drain the water, then stamp the bulbs,
* Dilute the crushed bubls with 5 liters of water,
* Add the soup vegetables into it, and according to taste: salt and spices.

Baked tulip bulbs

* Cleaned, and if onions cut, tulip bulbs can be used as toothpicks.
* They are cut into the frying pan, just like onions, and lightly browned.


* Is made in the same way as a binder from potatoes.

Bread or cake

* One part of wheat flour on 2 to 3 parts of cleaned tulip bulbs and a little bit of yeast.

* Clean the tulip bulbs,
* Grind the tulip bulb parts in a mincer,

* Add a little yeast (no water!),
* Further baking as bread or as cake.


1.5 kg tulip bulbs, 3 cups of wheat, a little salt, some essence (almond marascuin).

* De tulpenbollen schoonmaken (en de groen-gele pit eruit halen!),
* Rauw door de vleesmolen malen,
* Door dit mengsel de tarwe mengen, met wat zout en indien nodig iets water.

* Clean the tulip bulbs (and remove the green-yellow kernel!),
* Grind raw through the meat grinder,
* Mix the wheat with this mixture, with some salt and if necessary a little bit of water,

* Add the essence,
* Grease the pan and sprinkle some flour over it,
* Let it bake for about 1.5 hours.


* Puff half tulip bulbs (without the kernel!) In the oven like sweet chestnuts.


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