Als Een Haring Naar de Sloep Staren
It translates as 'Staring at the sloop like a herring', and is used to indicate that someone is looking rather down in the mouth. Frankly, it's one of those wonderfully colorful Dutch sayings that is likely to make the recipient of it laugh and look decidedly less blue!
The Dutch eat herring with chopped raw onions and sliced gherkins. Dutch herring snobs claim that the onion can be used to disguise the flavor of herring that is past its prime and insist on onion-free servings. But, if you ask me, some people just like it this way. The idea is that you grab the herring by its tail, dip it in the raw onions, throw your head back and down the hatch it goes... If you want to be a bit more delicate, you may also ask for it to be cut into pieces and eat it with a little fork or toothpick, the way we do it in Amsterdam. Apparently this practice came from leaner times, when some poor Amsterdammers could only afford to buy a small piece of a herring.
Photo © Stichting Vlaggetjesdag Scheveningen by Leonie Tack