17 Nov The Dutch Phenomenon of Eating Sprinkles!
Dutch people eat chocolate sprinkles. For breakfast. On bread with butter. For lunch. On crackers with butter. For snacks. Sprinkles seems to be a national eating pastime.
In Dutch, this food group is called Hagelslag, which roughly translates something like hail blow, but is commonly called sprinkles in English.
I can’t explain why I love this food. When I’m in the US, eating chocolate for breakfast is the last thing on my mind. I dislike donuts. I’m not a fan of pop tarts or chocolate cereal. But when I go to Holland, I crave this sweet, crunchy breakfast treat.
1860 The First Sprinkles: ‘Pink and White Little Mice’
The first sprinkles produced by the De Ruijter Company were pink and white candy-coated anise seed called little mice: Rose en Witte Muisjes. They were used for breakfast sprinkled on bread, and were also used to celebrate the birth of a child.
Later, these seed candies were made into a fine powder and named Stomped Mice: Gestampte Muisjes. Okay, a very strange name to the English ear. But, they sold like hot cakes and became a breakfast tradition.
1938: Eating Sprinkles Goes Royal!
In 1938, when an heir to the throne of the House of Orange was expected, the De Ruijter company began producing orange sprinkles in honor of the upcoming heir. So when Princess Beatrix was born (to Princess Juliana and her husband Prince Bernhard) the country celebrated the birth with orange sprinkles: Oranje Muisjes! OK. I still find it a little strange. “Let’s celebrate the new princess’s birth with orange mice.” Hmmm. The Dutch Are an interesting lot!
1957: The Dutch Phenomenon of Eating Sprinkles Expands!
This has to be my favorite innovation so far: Chocolate Sprinkles: Chocoladehagel! They came came in small sprinkle size (hagel) and later in larger flaked pieces called vlokken.
1994: The Dutch Phenomenon Goes Gender Specific!
Up until 1994, a birth was celebrated with pink and white anise seed sprinkles. No More! In 1994, blue and white sprinkles were introduced. They were called Blue and White Mice: Blauwe en Witte Muisjes. Way to go boys!
2011: Eating Sprinkles Goes Gourmet!
Another great year for sprinkles because ‘Specials’ were added to the growing tradition. Specials are pure yum. Dark chocolate sprinkles. Dark chocolate and coffee flavored sprinkles. Are you kidding me? Chocolate AND coffee? Okay. I think I will fill my whole suitcase. But wait. I can’t.
There’s something else afoot.
I am VERY interested in these two: pink and the blue little mice. No, I’m not expecting. But my son and his wife are! I really want to celebrate with them using this Dutch tradition. And since they aren’t saying boy or girl, I have to wait and see. SO I bought both colors in anticipation and preparation. They are sitting on my shelf and I smile every time I walk by and see them. Sometimes the little things in life just make me happy.
IF you are feeling left out by this post, and wish, oh wish, you had some Dutch heritage, traditions, or food stuffs. Good news.
Go to any old grocery store and buy some chocolate sprinkles in the cake decorating aisle. They are pretty close to the same thing. Buy. Go to the cracker/bread aisle and look for Original Holland Rusks. A lot of stores carry them. Buy. Take home. Spread Butter on Bread or Rusk. Sprinkle away. Enjoy!
I hope this post makes your mouth water. In the meantime, I’m just waiting for a phone call.
Will it be pink? Or blue?
Either way, there’s a celebration in the air.