Thursday, February 21, 2008

D is for Drop

One of the most Dutch things I can think of is drop, a licorice candy that most Dutch people love. When determining how integrated I am, people will sometimes ask me if I like drop. I always answer yes...but not the salty drop. Yes, they have salty drop here - licorice with salt added. But wait. There's more. There is also double salt drop. I accidentally popped one of those into my mouth and managed to spit it out before it burned a hole in my tongue. Fred loves the stuff, but he's Dutch and was born without taste buds.

Drop comes in either zout (salt) or zoet (sweet). They also come in either zacht (soft) or hard (...hard). Additionally, it comes in flavors like mint and honey and is sometimes combined with a sort of gumdrop. Then there's the englese drop (English drop) favored by sissies like my sister. This is by no means an exhaustive list. If you check the Dutch wikipedia site, you can see a very long list of types of drop. A trip to any candy store will get you an eye full of the amazing assortment of drop in different shapes and combinations of salt, sweet, soft and hard. A quick click to will give you some idea. My favorite are the cats shown above. Katjesdrop. Sometimes called Limburgse Katjes, I believe. (And these are sugar-free.)

On, they tell how drop was once thought to be healthy - used for high blood pressure and stomach problems. I heard that it was good for indigestion. I bought a very expensive stretch of licorice in NYC years ago. Today, however, those claims are thought to be a bit exaggerated. Oh well. The site also says that in one of his films, Charlie Chaplin ate a shoe made of drop.

Don't be fooled by the American version of licorice. It's made of sugar, a "binder," and a bit of licorice extract. Red licorice is just...well, it's like being told your having steak and having a Big Mac thrown in front of you. Some resemblance, and yet no resemblance at all.

On the knitting front, I just finished this Ribbed Hat. It's a Vogue knitting pattern designed to be knit flat (huh?) but easily knit in the round. The only confusing part (if you were to decide to do it sans pattern) is the decrease, which is actually very logical. It happens suddenly and then it's done.

The pattern calls for one ball of Noro Kureyon, which I happened to have on hand. My skein didn't quite make it to the end. I had to rip back and I was left with a meter or two of expensive Japanese yarn, which wouldn't have made a big difference. So the hat's too small. I'll do it again. I like how it feels. And I like how it sort of looks like Cousin Itt when it's left standing on the table.


Anonymous said...

the drops sound like Mexican chili candies. Which have chili powder AND salt. Course they are HARD, I've made the mistake of trying to be polite & crunching the thing to swallow it & just get it over, but man, I don't even think that Anthony Bordaine could swallow that. It burned & was sour & salty & IT BURNED. D:

The cousin it hat picture made me chuckle :) Gotta love noro :)

Elemmaciltur said...

I actually quite like the salty drops.

Eric & Tony said...

Dropduimen look fun!

Great FOs!

Grace said...

Funny my sister loves Good n Plenty also Licorice, well she eats them all the time, and she would go to the doctor and they couldn't figure out why her blood pressure was so high, turns out the licorice was causing it to happen!!!

Great D picture I think it will be a stand alone one, thats for sure

I think the hat is cute!!!

Littlelou said...

I find drop not to my taste at all but I love that hat. Never used Noro but that colourway is right up my street.

Mel said...

I had one recently for the first time - salty. I've never been a fan of anise flavor, really, though I can handle it in small doses now. With salt, though, I was able to manage one, then I thought I would vomit with the second one and had to spit it out.

Anonymous said...

Drop rules! Especially the extra salty variety. Haha. You made me crave some.

I have no idea what American licorice is like, but I'm curious.