Though my grandmother Georgette was born in the United States, she is half Belgian (Flemish) and half French. On top of the cabinets in her blue kitchen you'll find a little Dutch village of porcelain houses. Above the sink are miniature figures of the Statue of Liberty, Manneken Pis and the Eiffel Tower — representations of her three nationalities. In her Delft cookie jar you'll find speculaas (also called speculoos) — the Dutch windmill-shaped gingersnap-like cookie traditionally eaten on St. Nicholas Day.
Although my grandmother has speculaas on hand year-round, St. Nicholas Day, which was last week (Dec. 6), reminded me of our family tradition. We would get together with my grandmother for a little celebration, with gifts from Sinterklaas in our shoes, Belgian chocolates and, of course, her homemade speculaas.
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