An Ode to Oliebollen

Time to find the skates and mittens, chocomel and erwtensoep

The Dutch winter is coming,

Short days, grey skies, rain, slush and soon snow.

Bringing a cold that leaves your ears so numbing,

it makes me envious of Van Gogh.

Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet should bring Oliebollen back on the ship!

Zwarte Piet and Sinterklaas are here,

Igniting cultural controversy from far and near.

Like so much else, the Dutch tolerate the arctic cold,

But there are ways to survive…behold:


Just let your mouth start watering…

Now I’m from the South where deep-frying is second nature,

I’ve had it all fried, from snickers to ribs, from okra to ice cream.

But these Dutch donuts, these fried oil balls – these are a true danger.

The Dutch love fried foods – from kroketten to bitterballen, but these sweet treats are a category of their own.

The simplest of ingredients into a delectable creation

A dough of egg, yeast, salt, milk, and flour,

Fried in oil to perfection,

Still piping warm and doused in powdered sugar.

They have proved the test of time – earning a special place in Dutch hearts for centuries.

Now a New Year’s Eve tradition,

These dense treats have an old origin.

Enjoyed by the historic Germanic tribes,

Oliebollen were used for spirit – bribes.



Germanic Goddess Perchta in pagan folklore in her elderly/haggard form, rumored to fly the night with spirits and cut the bellies of all she came across.


And as if possessing some magical ability,

Oliebollen were said to protect their consumers,

 And if the goddess Perchta approached you with hostility,

The fat would cause her sword to slide off your belly,

 If you believe such rumors.

A cure for the Dutch winter


So visit the Oliebollen stands,

Get powdered sugar all over your hands.

Inhale that sweet aroma,

And let the Oliebollen work their magic

and keep you out of a winter coma.



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