Three years ago I wrote a this post in which I showed two cookie boards (cookie molds) on which St. Nicholas is depicted. If you are a regular reader of my blog you will probably know by now that the feast of St. Nicholas is a Dutch tradition, celebrated on December 5th.
There are many traditions associated with the feast of St. Nicholas, one of them is eating 'speculaas', a spiced cookie which is molded on wooden cookie boards.
Speculaas is not exclusive to St. Nicholas. In 17th century Holland, young men would buy and decorate a speculaas cookie in the shape of a man called 'the lover', to give to a girl they wanted to court. After a date, the girl would give the cookie back to the young man. If she had eaten the head of the cookie, it meant she liked the young man. If she had eaten the legs, it meant he'd better take a hike.
My collection of speculaas boards has grown lately. These were a gift from Arjen Spinhoven as a thank you for a favour which led to a nice commission for him. These speculaas boards were made with laser on wood, which is what Arjen specializes in. He has a large collection of wonderful furniture and accessories, houses and building elements for many dolls house scales.
As it happens, I was in a local museum yesterday where I saw a huge collection of speculaas boards. Beautiful carvings in wood. Some of them specifically for St. Nicholas. It immediately made me want to carve them myself in wood. So who knows, by the next St. Nicholas feast I may have an even bigger collection...;-)
Happy St. Nicholas Day!