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Happy Cream Puff Day!

Today is bolludagur here in Niceland, or Cream Puff Day to all youze English speakers. [Actually bun or ball day would be more accurate, but it just doesn’t have that same ring, does it?] This is the day when Nicelanders eat cream puffs in copious amounts – and not only cream puffs but also balls of various kinds – like, say, meatballs, or fish balls. Anything round and bun/ball-like will do.

I have no idea where this tradition started [anyone?] – but when I was little I was given a wand [a stick of wood with colourful crepe paper stuck to it] and told to spank my parents on the bum before they got out of bed. The number of spanks I managed to get in determined the number of cream puff buns I got to eat. Even at the age of four I thought it was a bizarre thing to do although I didn’t say so – I wasn’t about to sacrifice an infinite number of cream puffs on any altar of rational thinking, thankyouverymuch.

I no longer do any spanking on this day [ooh! matron] – and base the number of cream puffs I eat solely on how many I feel like eating, or how motivated I am to go out and get any. That said, like most Icelanders I tend to get started a day early and bought my first batch of cream puffs yesterday – four puffs, one for me, one for EPI, one for AAH and one for AAH’s boyfriend.

By the end of yesterday I presumed they were all gone – so imagine my delight at opening the fridge this morning and finding one perfectly-preserved cream puff still in its box! I couldn’t believe my luck – I could have a cream puff with my coffee and didn’t even have to go out and buy any! Oh, boy. I relished eating that cream puff this morning. In fact, it is quite possibly the best cream puff I have eaten in my life.

I went out in the early afternoon, and arrived home just after AAH got back from school – just in time, in fact, to hear her cry of NOOOOOOOO…!!! when she opened the fridge and found that her precious cream puff – the one she had planned to save and eat today, was gone. Dang. And there was all that free white space on top of the box, too, in which she could have written: DO NOT EAT THIS OR YOU WILL HAVE YOUR FINGERNAILS PULLED OFF WITH PLIERS. SLOWLY. or similar.

Anyway, she soon headed out to the store to buy herself a new cream puff, plus some plain ones without chocolate that we could use to make our own puffs [sort of like profiteroles], while I went back out. Meanwhile, I didn’t think EPI would want any more since I had already interrupted some voracious cream-puff eating when I called him at work this morning – he’d already downed 2 1/2 massive specimens by 10 am if I’m not mistaken.

So imagine my surprise when I came home later today to find a] a small box of plain puffs from which to make our own, b] two exceedingly voluptuous store-bought cream puffs in the fridge c] EPI coming up the drive with a white box in his hand, which turned out to contain four big cream puffs from Hagkaup.

In other words, my refrigerator currently contains six BIG cream puffs overflowing with various sorts of cream [plain, banana, Irish Cream, etc.] and my kitchen counter contains a box of nine cream puffs yet to be made. Oh, and the day is almost over and the cream puffs need to be eaten TODAY. And I’m home by myself.

More anon. If I’m still alive.

Voluptuous cream puffs

TODAY WAS KIND OF DAMP AND GLOOMY

We still have mild temps and just a few minutes ago we had a downpour of rain/sleet. AAH is home now to help me out with all this tiresome creampuffeating – what a relief! Right now it is 4°C [39F], the sun came up at 8.55 am and set at 6.28 pm. And now if you’ll excuse me …

[PS those of you keeping track of Jonas’s plight – there was a report on his predicament on mbl.is today, and also on the RÚV evening news. People are generally outraged that he was made to pay into the unemployment fund and now cannot claim any benefits … perhaps we shall have some answers soon.]

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  • maja February 23, 2009, 11:42 pm

    Bolludagur is so awesome. It’s almost as good as christmas!

  • hildigunnur February 23, 2009, 11:48 pm

    yep, Bolludagur rocks, way better than extra-salty-meat-and-bean-soup boring Sprengidagur.

  • andrea February 23, 2009, 11:51 pm

    My mouth is watering now and it’s not because of the faintly racy connotations of the tradition! It’s been aeons since I had a cream puff.

  • hildigunnur February 24, 2009, 12:02 am

    pea soup, I meant yellow split pea soup. Can’t stand the stuff…

  • Bluegrass Mama February 24, 2009, 1:08 am

    Cream puff day? I never thought I wanted to move to Iceland. Till now.

  • Jessica February 24, 2009, 1:24 am

    Not all cream puffs are created equal. My darling boyfriend stopped at a bakery somewhere in Reykjavik on his way home from work to bring me a “bolla” since I am car-less in a bakery-less suburb. He said he had to buy a children’s bolla because all the others had fruit jam in them (??) which I thought strange for a cream puff. This bolla had chocolate and little M&Ms on the top but unfortunately it tasted like a hamburger bun with whipped cream. ; ‘ ( Still, it’s the thought that counts and I was starved after a grueling workout!

  • Jessica February 24, 2009, 1:30 am

    PS thanks Alda for helping to publicize Jonas’s plight on the Web. As a foreigner living in Iceland, his story gives me very prickly feelings about Niceland. Thankfully, he is a “high profile” immigrant here with access to the media and I sincerely hope the best for him!

  • Audur February 24, 2009, 6:35 am

    Sleeef! 🙂

  • baa February 24, 2009, 8:39 am

    here in Poland we have Fat Thursday – the last Thursday before Lent, that was last Thursday – and the tradition is to eat copious numbers of donuts:) all kinds… most popular is staffed with rose confiture… they’re also ball-like:)
    greetings:))
    baa

  • Rachael February 24, 2009, 9:46 am

    Cream Puff Day would be too tempting to me. I’d take it as carte blanche to stuff my face with the things from dawn till dusk. They do sound delicious! I hope you survived the cream puff onslaught Alda. It’s Shrove Tuesday – Pancake Day – here in the UK today and I’ll be making a stack of pancakes this evening when I get home. Can’t wait! 😀

  • giustino February 24, 2009, 10:17 am

    In Estonia it is called vastlapäev. I read that Icelandic children also put their slippers in the window in the lead up to Christmas and than they get a yummy reward in the slipper in the next morning if they have been good. We do that too. I am wondering if these are just old nordic pagan phenomena or if other countries do it too.

  • Dave Hambidge February 24, 2009, 12:28 pm

    Stealing cakes from the mouth of your hungry child; oh wicked mother!

    Today is pancake day in UK, traditionally to use up all of the yeast before unleavened bread was the only choice in the time of Lent.

    Any connection with your celebration?

    dave

  • Steve February 24, 2009, 1:01 pm

    @ Baa
    Here in the Detroit, Michigan area, we have a large Polish population. The tradition here is Paczni day ( pronounced as, poonch-key ) or Fat Tuesday. The end result is the same though… I think I hear some of them calling my name. 🙂

  • Kolla February 24, 2009, 1:05 pm

    Namm namm namm 🙂
    Got a traditional family recipe from a friend in Iceland, and am going to give it a try today (I know I’m a day late, but I refuse to completely miss out on Bolla-day).
    I’m a little stressed because I’m not really a yeast-baking expert, but being a million miles away from the motherland and proper mom-made bolla’s has me desperate enough to give it a try!

  • alda February 24, 2009, 1:10 pm

    Heheh. Thanks, everyone.

    Very interesting to hear about similar celebrations worldwide. And yes, Dave, these three days we’re in the midst of now (bolludagur, sprengidagur – which is today, more on that later – and öskudagur – Ash Wednesday) are all to do with the lead-up to Lent.

    giustino – how interesting that Estonia has that shoe tradition, as well! I thought Iceland was the only country – just goes to show we’re not as unique as we like to think we are!

    Jessica – it sounds like you got one of the yeast bollas, rather than the “vatnsdeigsbolla” (water-batter bolla) which is what I prefer. I personally don’t care for the yeasty ones. And you can get vatnsdeigsbollur without fruit jam – like the aforementioned Irish Cream for example (mmmm…)

  • jpeeps February 24, 2009, 3:19 pm

    I have an Icelandic pancake pan bought at KEF in 1992 which I’m going to dig out of the cupboard tonight to make some dainty UK-recipe pancakes – all that baking soda business for Icelandic ones is a bit beyond me for midweek.

  • LaTanya missing Iceland February 24, 2009, 3:20 pm

    Thank you for reminding me of this fun tradition. My siblings and I took part in “Cream Puff Day” when we lived on the now closed naval base in Keflavik. I remember learning about it in our Host of Nations class. Good times!! It’s Fat Tuesday & National Pancake Day in the States as well. International house of pancakes (IHOP) is giving away free pancakes all day! YUMM. Alda you’re the best! Love this blog!

  • Kris Lewis February 24, 2009, 5:04 pm

    Oh, yes. Bun day (Followed by a suggestive eyebrow wiggle from my husband) is being continued here in the US. I made at least 30 of the little buggers yesterday filled with honest to goodness whipped cream, a dash of strawberry preserves and the last of my sudusukaldi made into a ganache as topping. *sigh* They were shared with family and friends and I have now been informed that I am EVIL and should be punished. My Mom asked if all of Iceland’s holidays were food filled. My husband answered that not all, but the best ones are!!!! (We miss Iceland and can’t wait to return this fall.)

  • Paul H February 24, 2009, 7:47 pm

    That’s a cool holiday indeed.
    One to consider adopting just for the sake of eating round things for a day. Most especially cream puffs.
    I haven’t kept up Pancake Tuesday since leaving the UK, having only tried to celebrate it a handful of times.
    And only the missus really has any interest in it.
    She requested a savoury variety for dinner.
    It remains to be seen whether they will materialise.

  • Jonathan Byron February 26, 2009, 3:04 pm

    Bolla! Bolla! Bolla!

  • Rob March 2, 2009, 9:56 am

    What are those sweets from Iceland called that I call golf balls. They are a licorice and chocolate coated white. Iceland should set about exporting these to get back on it’s feet !

  • Annaray March 7, 2011, 12:39 pm

    This celebration, sonds just the sort of thing I would love to join in with, I love proffiteroles, and they are just like cream puffs! I wish that I was an Icelander!