Sunday, May 28, 2006


Browsing around a big supermarket in Nairobi, I was looking for some Wheat Thins. Though I couldn't find my favorite crackers, I found Dutch Spice Cookies. Speculaasje! (They may look at taste different than Wheat Thins, but speculaas could easily be described by the very same slogan as Wheat Thins: Great taste. Big crunch.)

The first time I tried speculaasje, I was hooked. Their flavor (ginger, cardamom and more) and their shape (anything from windmills to elephants) prohibits you from ever calling these Dutch treats plain.

And so this morning, after having breakfast with the team from Southern California, I retreated to the quiet of my home, brewed a cup of good coffee, and opened the bag of cookies. And here I am, traveling down the road of memories of buying my own speculaas plank at a small street market near the cheese market in Gouda, Holland, trying my hand at baking my own batch back in my apartment in Pretoria, discovering a good specimen at the International Fair in Taipei. Going back to that fair every year to buy a batch. Going to the Tulip Fest in Pella, Iowa, and searching all over for speculaasje.

Who would've thought that having my first bite 14 years ago would turn into a long-term, international affair...

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