I wrote a story the other day and it reminded me of Wentelteefjes. The story was about the Poor Knights Islands in New Zealand. James Cook named the islands like that, because the red glow of the Pohutukawa tree reminded him of jam. Seeing the islands and this jam he thought of Poor Knight’s pudding (toast with jam); a popular breakfast dish.
Don’t ask me how Cook could see toast with jam in Islands with red flowered trees, but he did. His remark did make me think of Wentelteefjes. Maybe I was hungry when I wrote it, just as Cook was when he was sailing by those islands.
The thing Wentelteefjes and Poor Knight’s pudding have in common is the strange name. Toast with jam doesn’t make a pudding for me. The name Wentelteefjes is probably even stranger. ‘Wentel’ in Dutch means ‘to turn around’. This part I understand. But ‘teefjs’ are ‘female dogs’. To help you out: a wentelteefje isn’t a hot dog. It’s actually toasted bread with sugar as you’ll see in the recipe below. The Dutch journalist and language historian Ewoud Sanders looked for an explanation of the word. He came up with different options. I’ll give you two. A ‘teefje’ was slang for someone attractive. So a ‘wentelteefje’ could be a nice looking dish. The second option Sanders is teaching has more to do with poor pronunciation. ‘Wentel ‘t eventjes’ means ‘turn it around’. A bastardization of this would lead to ‘Wentelteefjes’.
Whatever it is. Wentelteefjes is a pretty nice breakfast. Normally it’s served with (brown) caster sugar and white bread, but because I’m me I made a healthier variation.
- milk (I use rice milk)
- bread (I use whole grain or any other healthier variation than white bread)
- oil to bake
- Break one egg and beat it till the white and yellow are mixed
- Add a little bit of milk and cinnamon powder and mix
- Take a slice of bread (I leave the crust on; you can take it off) and put it in the milk/egg combination. Turn it around and let it soak for about 2 minutes
- Heat a baking pan, put some oil inside and bake the bread on both sides till it’s nice brown and a little crispy
- Put it on a plate and spread some honey on it
One more little history thing: in the Netherlands we still eat a lot of bread. Sometimes the bread becomes a little old and less fresh. Wentelteefjes are a good option to still enjoy this ‘old bread’.