Food - Drink
The Humble Dutch Soup That Saved Lives During WWII
Tulips, for centuries, have been a symbol of the Netherlands and were sold as a cash crop, reports Atlas Obscura. However, during World War II, when 18,000 to 20,000 Dutch men, women, and children died from malnutrition in what is called the Hunger Winter, growers sold the bulbs domestically as a food alternative due to their high starch content.
Newspapers at the time gave tulip bulb recipes, and one recipe that caught on was tulip bulb soup; tulip bulbs were also used as a replacement for potatoes in fritters, cabbage in sauerkraut, or were ground up for bread and cookies. Although tulips are mildly toxic, parts of the tulip are edible once the germ is removed and they are properly prepared.
The tulip bulbs consumed during the war wouldn’t have tasted good, notes Fluwel, which says that while fresh bulbs have a milky flavor, the dry bulbs taken out of storage in wartime would have had a dry and bitter taste. Today, some restaurants in the Netherlands have even put tulip bulbs on the menu as a symbol of the country's resilience, per Atlas Obscura.