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Today is SinterKlaas, which is a Dutch holiday that I had never heard of previous to last year. This year I was gently informed I was celebrating it by having chocolate letters expressed mailed to me so they'd get here in time for the holiday. I love my friends, they're the most fun.

So, as I said, it's a Dutch holiday, and people keep trying to explain it to me as something other than "an excuse to eat chocolate letters", and this is what I've gotten out of it:

Every year, on the last of the spice ships, SinterKlaas and his friend, Black Peter, come to the Netherlands. There, they go from house to house, looking for bad children. The good children they leave this yummy cookie (which I couldn't get at the German market, but I got the other type of cookie instead) called "Peeping Newton". (That's how I say it. I'm not Dutch, I don't know what it is. Peeping Newtons.) The bad children are stuffed into Black Peter's sack, and taken far far away to be turned into the next year's batch of Peeping Newton.

It is such a disturbing little story, I can't tell you how much I enjoy it. I demand to be told it again and again and again. There's something about the idea of little wooden shoed children being turned into cookies that appeals to my dark sense of humour.

So, Happy SinterKlaas! May you get lots of Peeping Newton, chocolate letters, and specula (the other cookie, which I also don't know how to spell. Maybe it's made out of bad parents?).


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uuummm....children cookies....so tasty....

Calling those cookies specula makes me think of the awful 'Specky the Speculum' skit off MAD tv...

Nothing says the holidays like canibalism disguised as baked goods!

Hey - I grew up on those legends. I remember being dragged to Church (no actually, I wasn't dragged - it was the one thing in the Church year I was always dressed and ready for) in December for the Sinterklass festival. And every year, they'd have a guy dressed as Sinterklass come in carrying his bag of pepernotten (Pepper-nuts, technically, though I like "peeper newtons"!) and he'd wave his switch as all us kids, and then select an especially bad one to throw into his sack.

One year, the worst trouble maker of the bunch was selected to go into the bag. The kids grinned an impish grin, jumped in (it was a big bag) and then began throwing out all the pepernotten he could find. They dumped him out and chased him around the room with the switch, laughing all the way.

Way for Dutch traditions!

(BTW, I've got my chocolate letters already picked out for my kids... but they go into the Christmas stockings on the 25th.)

Way = Yay. of course.

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