There is a restaurant in Ottawa named “Gezellig.”
Gezellig is one of the Dutch language’s greatest words. There is no English equivalent, which explains how this word can survive sixty years to a generation of Anglophone Canadians of Dutch descent. For the uninitiated, gezellig (with the g’s pronounced with the beautiful guttural phonetics that no one can pull of quite like the Dutch) is a word that calls to mind warmth and coziness, the feeling that one has after having a warm time or moment with family friends.
Now, as I mentioned earlier, there is a restaurant in Ottawa called “Gezellig.” When I first heard of their existence I was very excited because I thought I would finally be able to dine on some fine Dutch fare – perhaps have some steaming stumpot or a nice appeltaart.
But no, apparently this restaurant does not actually serve any Dutch food. I was disappointed to learn this and then bitterly remonstrated, in my head, against this callous act of linguistic appropriation. Imagine if there were a restaurant named “Jolly Good” that didn’t serve any British fare or a restaurant named “Jambo” that didn’t serve any East African food.
Still, I heard that the food is very good, and they’ll definitely be getting my business sometime in the future. When I do go, I should suggest serving at least one Dutch dish. You know, because they borrowed such an awesome word.
I can always get some fine Dutch cooking from my mother.